8
   

What is the value of obscure academic text?

 
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 01:46 pm
@Setanta,
If you think you can get the Greeks to agree on anything, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  0  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 02:09 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I agree. Shapeless gave us a good post. It rings so true.
BTW, when we adopt even the style of someone we admire it sometimes look like an effort at "channeling."
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 02:55 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

No, you just made that **** up.

........... you're not even a genuine pedant--you're a phony pedant.

You are the single most horrendously repulsive dimwit on this site - others are even more stupid than you, true, but you belong to the absolutely bottom rank of dimwits, that of the wilfully stupid dimwits.

You can't even read Greek (ancient or modern) and you presume to not only have opinions, but also have categorical opinions?! Go ahead - you can't make yourself any more ridiculous than you already have.

For anyone actually wanting to find out how Laconia is spelled, enter it in the search box here:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 02:59 pm
@High Seas,
High Seas wrote:

For anyone actually wanting to find out how Laconia is spelled, enter it in the search box here:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/


After I found out how to spell raki, I wasn't much bothered about anything else.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Dec, 2011 05:48 pm
@High Seas,
Repulsive perhaps, but a stupid dimwit? Not at all. Surprised
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 05:03 am
@High Seas,
Listen Bitch, you're the one who came in here complaining about spelling, and yet you make wild claims about how i want people to spell things. I've already provided links for the spelling of the name of Lakonia, and i've no need to justify myself to the likes of you.

You owe PQ an apology for trying to make her thread a flame fest.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 05:05 am
@JLNobody,
I suspect you're repulsed by my refusal to accept the silly claims Buddhists make about the excellence of their belief set. You seemed to have taken offense to that recently. You do know, don't you, that your opinion of me is a matter of indifference to me? You and HS have done a wonderful job on PQ's thread.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 05:14 am
@High Seas,
High Seas wrote:

You are the single most horrendously repulsive dimwit on this site -


You can't have encountered BillRM.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 05:54 am
@izzythepush,
A cogent observation.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 07:24 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Listen Bitch, you're the one who came in here complaining about spelling, and yet you make wild claims about how i want people to spell things. I've already provided links for the spelling of the name of Lakonia, and i've no need to justify myself to the likes of you.

You owe PQ an apology for trying to make her thread a flame fest.


Ha!

Set, you're really funny.

But yes, can everyone start talking about the topic again?
I don't give a **** about spelling.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 07:40 am
In addition to the reasons already cited--politics, trying to make one's arguments impervious to refutation, etc.--I would cite at least two more reasons why academics indulge in obscurantism. First, some of them genuinely enjoy it. I can think of a few academics who get a real thrill out of weaving together impenetrable abstraction after impenetrable abstraction. The writing has a poetic aspect that becomes at least as important as, and in some cases more important than, the content. I once attended a paper about how dance has been a form of protest at certain historical moments (think Swing Kids), except that instead of saying "dance can be a form of protest" the writer kept saying "our very bodies can become sites of performative subalternity." You could tell by the way he read the paper that the main point was simply to say that phrase and experience a brief intellectual orgasm.

Second, it's easy. Concrete facts in plain English can't be strung together at whim; you actually have to watch what you say and make sure what you're saying matches reality. But abstract concepts in large quantities offer up basically no resistance. Pontificating about post-Foucauldian disintermediation and the ideological inscriptions of sexual liminality in the discursive performance of Otherness is the easiest thing in the world. The terms are so vapid that they can be strung together without any thought at all, as evidenced by the Postmodern Generator, a now-infamous website that randomly generates entire essays using a database of stock phrases from critical theory.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 07:53 am
Here's a somewhat grimmer example: after the agonizing discovery that Paul de Man had written anti-Semitic articles for a collaborationist newspaper in Belgium during the 1940s, Derrida was so desperate to salvage his friend's integrity that he did a "close reading" of some of the articles to show they were, in fact, not anti-Semitic at all. This seems to me to illustrate critical theory at its "best": through the use of impenetrable abstractions, it can make x mean -x. Any methodology that can do that is simply not operating by the rules of logic and in that sense is totally effortless. Anyone can do it.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 08:49 am
Good point. I think the satisfaction occurs from the sensation of encapsulating a lot of relationships within one phrase, but as you say this is rooted in its vagueness.

JL, can you explain channeling?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 08:57 am
@Shapeless,
Do you mean that one value of obscurantism is that if offers the author an opportunity to "save his ass" by saying "wait, that's not what I meant"?
I can see how that works. It is certainly a popular tactics on a2k sometimes, which perhaps gives support to your claim that anyone can do it...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 09:13 am
@Shapeless,
...you are hitting the bulls eye there...although it seams the bull did not saw it coming yet...
...I bet Fresco will be eager to reply to that... Wink
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 09:31 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Do you mean that one value of obscurantism is that if offers the author an opportunity to "save his ass" by saying "wait, that's not what I meant"?
I can see how that works. It is certainly a popular tactics on a2k sometimes, which perhaps gives support to your claim that anyone can do it...


Good point.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 01:51 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Do you mean that one value of obscurantism is that if offers the author an opportunity to "save his ass" by saying "wait, that's not what I meant"?


Yes, pretty much. I don't know if ass-saving is ever an explicit goal of obscurantism but it has definitely been exploited as one of its benefits. Much obscurantism in the humanities today, anyway, is a product of the "critical theory" movement of the 1990s - 2000s, one of whose central tenets was that texts don't have stable, specifiable meanings, and even though this was applied mostly to literary works it has since extended into academic and expository writing as well.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 04:14 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Oh please don't take that seriously. I was channeling Shirley McClain.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 04:57 pm
@Shapeless,
Semi-idiotics.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2011 05:23 pm
@Setanta,
I know I should not answer this, but first let me assure you that repulsiveness is not a negative value for me. I think Quasimoto was a charmer.
But the main point: Buddhism, as I understand its zen version, has no "belief set"--except to say that when it comes to Ultimate Reality we should have no belief set (there's a paradox for us).
Now regarding your "indifference" to my opinion of you: that's very good "Buddhism." Accept my congratulations.
p.s., I don't recall taking offense to anything you've ever said.
As they say: We're good.
0 Replies
 
 

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