I want my money back.
See, I harbor FOMO when it comes to philosophy because surely nobody would make such a big deal out of stuff if it were pointless. Great minds love philosophers, love to throw them at each other. But holy fuck, dude. This is an eye-watering fusillade of self-reference and impenetrable jargon the likes of which I have not seen in many, many years of cruising the Internet.
I have... thirteen fucking tabs open because of this essay. One of them is bfv's essay, which has the distinct advantage of being written in plain English. One of them is the linked essay. One of them is Andrew Sullivan whingeing about Charles Murray at Middlebury, which is linked to in the linked essay as one of twelve footnotes. One of them is the author's twitter feed, which conclusively proves that she can write in English should she choose to. One of them- and this should show how far afield this shit took me in search for truth - is about the RZ because the only relevance I could think of in my entire literary experience that relates directly to criticism of postmodernism was Tony Judt writing about the fucking Baader-Meinhof Gang.
And then sure. A tab on Modernism. A tab on Epistemes. A page of quotes about jargon because there's something pithy I want to say about this torrent of opaqueness but whatever quote I was looking for isn't there. Hegel because when someone says "Hegelian" all I know is they aren't talking to me, and they're being silent as loudly and condescendingly as they can. A page of Laurie Calhoun's tweets, because the author slags on her (third hand!) as someone with no grasp of objective reality, but apparently she's written a couple books about the ethics of drone warfare so I mean, shit, at least she's got "applied" in front of "philosophy" which kind of puts this whole shitshow to shame. Some more bullshit about giraffes and ants and then finally, the last tab in the row, the author's LinkedIn page, where
You shoved a grad student's rantings
at me as if she had something to say
despite the fact that it took her five years to get a degree in English Lit.
Which, yeah. Ad-hominem. Low blow. The argument should stand on its merits. But the point I want to make is that this style of argumentation? It's fucking contagious. Just weeding through that shit made me incapable of speaking concisely and while I'm getting back into it, I want you to suffer through that shit because I'm legitimately dizzy.
- If I've written 4,000 words on something, its unlikely I'm 'just saying' something simplistic that can be fitted into a tweet.
Helen Pluckrose, 15 hours ago
Or maybe it's that she needs to edit her treatises before posting them. Because I'm not sure she's "just" saying anything but parsing that shit out into human-readable language basically boils down to "all these people no one outside of philosophy knows or reads are directly responsible for a eugenicist getting shouted out of an auditorium in Vermont by a bunch of angry undergrads". In order to make this argument, she first has to mis-define several terms, misrepresent several philosophers and quote things out of context.
Not gonna lie. My thirteen-tabs-open odyssey through this bullshit blizzard had a lot of "wiki foucoult" and being glad that Google knows how to spell that which I do not. My basis of knowledge in this world is minimal. But when shit like this pops out:
Judith Butler drew on Foucault for her foundational role in queer theory focusing on the culturally constructed nature of gender, as did Edward Said in his similar role in post-colonialism and “Orientalism” and Kimberlé Crenshaw in her development of “intersectionality” and advocacy of identity politics.
...I first go "I know that name!" And then I go "I read that book!" and then I go "and I still don't understand what she's saying!" and then I go
"...wait a minute. Said's argument was that Westerners ignore the basic facts about the East because they're too wrapped up in their narratives. This chick is arguing that we're too busy crafting narratives to believe in facts. But she's... slagging on Foucault, whom she's claiming influenced Said... so... isn't...this...argument... the exact opposite of what she's saying?"
And this is where I want to thank you for linking to this, and I want you to know (I want you to appreciate!) how hard I tried to respond to it in a useful, coherent way, and that I would love to try on some philosophical debates that don't leave me cross-eyed and hating philosophy back to the Greeks but sweet jesus tapdancing christ does it always have to be this way?
No. No it doesn't.
Goddamn. I feel like I've been waterboarded.