Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

In which I stick my oar in someone else's blogfight

On the general subject of the validity of Johann Hari's critique of Zizek, the subject of much argumentation between "Unspeak" and "Butterflies and Sneers" (also). I think I might provide a service to the community by taking out my rusty old Welsh shovel and shifting away the heap of bullshit which has been piled up by the self-styled defenders of reason, on the general subject of the legitimacy of Johann Hari's critique Zizek and Derrida. To make this entirely clear, the burden of Steven Poole's argument is thus:


Johann Hari's essay on Zizek is objectionable because he clearly does not know what he is fucking talking about.


Maybe he didn't read the book or maybe he read it and didn't understand it. What he didn't do is read it and understand it (unless of course, he is doing this on purpose as some sort of conceptual art project or something). That's an end to it. Steven is presumably too polite to say this in so many unminced words (journalists are notoriously reluctant to accuse one another of plagiarism or invention, for the same reason that the use of poison gas went out of fashion; it's a completely unpredictable weapon that can often dangerously rebound on the user[1]). But I'm not.

In related news, using the term "postmodernist" to refer lazily to Derrida, Zizek, Foucault and any other passing literary theorist or cultural critic is the very definition of "bad writing". It's actually a much more pernicious form of unclarity than simply posting up a massive great thicket of technical terms like Judith Butler sometimes does, because it leaves the reader believing that he has understood something when he is in fact just a little bit more ignorant than he was before he picked up the Independent. This kind of "bad writing" is probably both more widespread and more damaging to the general intellectual climate than anything that can successfully be traced to Grammatology. Perhaps I will start a snortingly funny "Bad Writing Award" for the most egregious example I see this year. If anyone wants to place bets (particularly if they want to place bets on someone other than Johann Hari), drop me a line.

[1] In a virtuouso display of irony, I plagiarised this joke.
15 comments this item posted by the management 5/08/2007 12:50:00 PM

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