A long time ago I struggled to understand what the clique controlling my University’s student newspaper were on about in an issue published after they’d all been taught about Barthes, Lacan, Derrida et al. I guess this was shortly before the world stopped taking notice of the absurd Continenal postmodernists and before Alan Socal’s great Social Text hoax (Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity) and the publication of Intellectual Imposters.
When Helen was taking her first degree she had to write an essay on PoMo. She met me at the train station from work one day, almost in tears after she’d spent the afternoon trying to comprehend Lyotard. By that time I’d read quite a bit about it and was able to calm her down by agreeing that Derrida, de Mann, Lacan, Lyotard, Foucault, Kristeva and the rest wrote meaningless nonsense. She had really believed there were substantial thoughts lurking under that dense and pretentious French prose, concepts so subtle and clever that she was simply too dumb to understand.
I say, before the world stopped taking PoMo seriously but I’m amazed to see that there are still sub-intellectual redoubts, usually in the less impressive academic institutions, where writing and reading bollocks is still a requirement for a good degree. Try this, for example:
This practice of intensifying bodily potentials to act and become is an affirmation of desire without lack which signals the nonclimactic, aimless circulation of bodies in a symbiotic assemblage
Luciana Parisi, Abstract Sex
Apparently, and it would be difficult to satirise such absurdity, Parisi
has been working on the bionic transformation of the perceptive sensorium. As Treece, in Eating People Is Wrong ponders, there are people who do this and call it thinking?
Difficult to satirise such absurdity – but not impossible. Here’s a fragment from the wonderful Postmodern Essay Generator:
If one examines realism, one is faced with a choice: either reject textual neodialectic theory or conclude that sexuality is used to marginalize the underprivileged, given that the premise of subcapitalist theory is invalid. Many deappropriations concerning textual neodialectic theory exist. It could be said that Derrida’s analysis of realism states that the goal of the participant is deconstruction.
The Postmodern Essay Generator
I’ll leave you with another, real, gem. This is not a spoof or satire:
each molar organization is composed of and cut across by parallel dynamics of molecular production that define its paradoxical nature. Simultaneously, each molecular dynamics under certain conditions may arrange itself into a microfascist assemblage spreading through all organizations -i.e. given the conditions it may become molar. In this sense, the commodification of biological processes cannot be disentangled from the wider dynamics of desiring assemblages act to deterritorialize and reterritorialize the biological strata.
Luciana Parisi interview