Having Sex with Women is Gay--Republican Seer

Farans Kalosar

You can't make this kind of thing up.  A true advance in right-wing theory, almost rivaling deconstructionism in daring and scope:

Lily (Nao)

He is a clown. He does it to get click baits and earn money on social media via tv-show like cultural environment at the moralistic Anglo-Saxon political sphere. That it. Similarly various token conservatives like Tim Pool or token queer persons like cateboykami, Blair White, etc.

It is shame that leftist spend time on such scandalous clowns instead of far more dangerous people around National Interest who has the means to execute their worst war fantasies about the upcoming big war.

Farans Kalosar

Sheer whataboutery..  Next time, do mention the baby seals--eh?

This is particularly obvious since your vague assertions about the "next big war" lack foundation and assume a case that you should IMO make, however briefly, before alluding to it. What exactly do you mean?  You are inviting otheres to respond to a critique that you have not even outlined so that you will have something to react against.

The intellectual disease of *ick Fuentes--a sense of irony so deadened by narcissism and the rejection of fact that it no longer has any sense of its own ridiculousness--was manifested in the universities long ago by the rise to power of ":theory" (mostly deconstructionism), which is so self-parodic to begin with that it accepts obvious, indeed crude, parody (Sokal) as a "contribution."  This has now filtered down as a kind of folk meme to the Republican masses--or has spontaneously co-generated in the general climate of the postmodern ideology that has become the last refuge of capitalism

These clowns live in a continual state of intellectual excitement as manifested by their ability to say the kinds of things that Fuentes and Trump say continually and that are accepted in a kind of mystical ecstasy by their followers.  This is an important subject, albeit one that few are addressing.

Again, what "big war" are you talking about particularly, and why should it be forbidden to discuss anything else?

Lily (Nao)

It is obvious that the current political situation is going to a big war in the following years. From rapid remilitarization of the Western countries to the aggressive and growing military power of Russia and China, rising tensions over Taiwan. It is impossible to deny the fact that events around it are far more priority rather to discussing some obscure except for some online subculture centered-people. Going to the topic of Sokal and others, who would remember this after now?

Moreover, you clearly believe in this affair uncritically: a) Sokal elected a non-peer-reviewed journal b) he received criticism from it but still not changed the article c) Derrida called him to debate on the importance of "scientific metaphor" functions in philosophy but Sokal refused for obvious reasons. In fact, Sokal made dishonest moves and attracted only people who have no interest in actually engaging and criticizing post-structuralist works and just learned some words like "deconstruction", etc. It is an example of not studying actual theory manifested in universities by bourgeoisie professors and just following some right-wing or dishonest criticism. Also, what do you mean by post-modernism ideology? Do you mean Lyotard? Maybe you mean some post-structuralist? Like who?

Similarly, like all common Americans, you are going to the topic of Trump and people like Fuentas. Can you elaborate seriously on how much clowns can affect even the electoral successes of Trump? How much do media persons actually affect voting except for some internet-centered youth? It is like discussing tv-shows for niche political figures with some cultist looks while the world is having other issues that socialists cannot address and spend time and time discussing some random morons online. If you want to follow right-wing cults maybe it is more obvious to talk about various evangelist congregations who are far more dangerous forces using GOP as a platform with a real number of followers and not random people online.

I would rather indeed forbid other topics except coming potential war, Ukraine and it can influence politics in near future, to be fair :) I don't see reasons to engage in other things mostly due to the importance of current events.


Mark Lause

Peer review has limited use value.

Predicting war in the future at this stage if capitalism just isn't very challenging.  Elaborate please 

Farans Kalosar

Your assertion that I "believe uncritically" in Sokal is a ridiculous distortion.  It is a fact that Social Texts accepted Sokal's infamous hoax piece as a contribution when it should have been obvious to a reader of even moderate intellect that it was a piece of sarcasm. Peer review is irrelevant here, since per review of advanced deconstructionist theory is pointless because the ego of the theorist is the sole subject-matter of all such "discourse" an the elucidation of fact plays almost no role.  What this shows IMO is the disabling of an awareness of irony among an intellectual elite that has gone on to characterize the current antifactual mindset of America.

As to nobody remembering Sokal, he obviously is a thorn in your side you are inspired to an eruption of misguided vituperation by the mere mention of his name.

I found Fuentes' comment both amusing and indicative of a cultural trend that is significant. This of course will sail right over your head, since you not only apparently have no clear idea what you really think but also completely lack a sense of humor--like one or two solemn-assed  World's Authorities on this list lately.

Louis Proyect may have been a bear at times, but he never lost his sense of humor.

Andrew Stewart

An oldie but goodie from Chomsky on “theory” and postmodernism:

We must turn to "theory" and "philosophy" and "theoretical constructs" and the like to remedy this deficiency in our efforts to understand and address what is happening in the world. I won't speak for Mike. My response so far has pretty much been to reiterate something I wrote 35 years ago, long before "postmodernism" had erupted in the literary intellectual culture: "if there is a body of theory, well tested and verified, that applies to the conduct of foreign affairs or the resolution of domestic or international conflict, its existence has been kept a well-guarded secret," despite much "pseudo-scientific posturing."

To my knowledge, the statement was accurate 35 years ago, and remains so; furthermore, it extends to the study of human affairs generally, and applies in spades to what has been produced since that time. What has changed in the interim, to my knowledge, is a huge explosion of self- and mutual-admiration among those who propound what they call "theory" and "philosophy," but little that I can detect beyond "pseudo-scientific posturing." That little is, as I wrote, sometimes quite interesting, but lacks consequences for the real world problems that occupy my time and energies (Rawls's important work is the case I mentioned, in response to specific inquiry)...

The proponents of "theory" and "philosophy" have a very easy task if they want to make their case. Simply make known to me what was and remains a "secret" to me: I'll be happy to look. I've asked many times before, and still await an answer, which should be easy to provide: simply give some examples of "a body of theory, well tested and verified, that applies to" the kinds of problems and issues that Mike, I, and many others (in fact, most of the world's population, I think, outside of narrow and remarkably self-contained intellectual circles) are or should be concerned with: the problems and issues we speak and write about, for example, and others like them. To put it differently, show that the principles of the "theory" or "philosophy" that we are told to study and apply lead by valid argument to conclusions that we and others had not already reached on other (and better) grounds; these "others" include people lacking formal education, who typically seem to have no problem reaching these conclusions through mutual interactions that avoid the "theoretical" obscurities entirely, or often on their own.

Again, those are simple requests. I've made them before, and remain in my state of ignorance. I also draw certain conclusions from the fact.

As for the "deconstruction" that is carried out (also mentioned in the debate), I can't comment, because most of it seems to me gibberish. But if this is just another sign of my incapacity to recognize profundities, the course to follow is clear: just restate the results to me in plain words that I can understand, and show why they are different from, or better than, what others had been doing long before and and have continued to do since without three-syllable words, incoherent sentences, inflated rhetoric that (to me, at least) is largely meaningless, etc. That will cure my deficiencies --- of course, if they are curable; maybe they aren't, a possibility to which I'll return...

Take, say, Derrida. Let me begin by saying that I dislike making the kind of comments that follow without providing evidence, but I doubt that participants want a close analysis of de Saussure, say, in this forum, and I know that I'm not going to undertake it. I wouldn't say this if I hadn't been explicitly asked for my opinion --- and if asked to back it up, I'm going to respond that I don't think it merits the time to do so.

So take Derrida, one of the grand old men. I thought I ought to at least be able to understand his Grammatology, so tried to read it. I could make out some of it, for example, the critical analysis of classical texts that I knew very well and had written about years before. I found the scholarship appalling, based on pathetic misreading; and the argument, such as it was, failed to come close to the kinds of standards I've been familiar with since virtually childhood. Well, maybe I missed something: could be, but suspicions remain, as noted. Again, sorry to make unsupported comments, but I was asked, and therefore am answering.

Some of the people in these cults (which is what they look like to me) I've met: Foucault (we even have a several-hour discussion, which is in print, and spent quite a few hours in very pleasant conversation, on real issues, and using language that was perfectly comprehensible --- he speaking French, me English); Lacan (who I met several times and considered an amusing and perfectly self-conscious charlatan, though his earlier work, pre-cult, was sensible and I've discussed it in print); Kristeva (who I met only briefly during the period when she was a fervent Maoist); and others. Many of them I haven't met, because I am very remote from from these circles, by choice, preferring quite different and far broader ones --- the kinds where I give talks, have interviews, take part in activities, write dozens of long letters every week, etc. I've dipped into what they write out of curiosity, but not very far, for reasons already mentioned: what I find is extremely pretentious, but on examination, a lot of it is simply illiterate, based on extraordinary misreading of texts that I know well (sometimes, that I have written), argument that is appalling in its casual lack of elementary self-criticism, lots of statements that are trivial (though dressed up in complicated verbiage) or false; and a good deal of plain gibberish...

There has been a striking change in the behavior of the intellectual class in recent years. The left intellectuals who 60 years ago would have been teaching in working class schools, writing books like "mathematics for the millions" (which made mathematics intelligible to millions of people), participating in and speaking for popular organizations, etc., are now largely disengaged from such activities, and although quick to tell us that they are far more radical than thou, are not to be found, it seems, when there is such an obvious and growing need and even explicit request for the work they could do out there in the world of people with live problems and concerns. That's not a small problem. This country, right now, is in a very strange and ominous state. People are frightened, angry, disillusioned, skeptical, confused. That's an organizer's dream, as I once heard Mike say. It's also fertile ground for demagogues and fanatics, who can (and in fact already do) rally substantial popular support with messages that are not unfamiliar from their predecessors in somewhat similar circumstances. We know where it has led in the past; it could again. There's a huge gap that once was at least partially filled by left intellectuals willing to engage with the general public and their problems. It has ominous implications, in my opinion.

Jeffrey Masko <j.alan.masko@...>

Deconstruction = Derrida's interrogation of language from a semiotic POV, ie, its arbitrary nature as pointed out by Peirce and later taken up by Lacan
Postmodernism = an art movement in film, painting, literature and elsewhere that questions that validity of using Modernism past the 20th century midpoint see Lynch, Warhol, DeLillo.
Poststructuralism = Is the wider theory behind deconstruction that rejects phenomenology as foundational and posits language as biased since it conditions both history and epistemology. They take the position that the world "beyond" language is unknowable as language is the "prison house" that safeguards power.

There is the postmodern condition of Lyotard's and that may be thought of as the societal embodiment, or the material living conditions in a poststructuralist world.

Watch the youtube video of Chomsky debating Foucault and you'll see two people talking past each other. Chomsky full well understands Continental theory and tries to move out of the way by saying he doesn't understand them.

Folks who are trained in high energy physics often have trouble putting advanced concepts into plain English, like the spin of quarks. Just because it may be counter intuitive, doesn't make it incorrect.

George Snedeker posted this, you may have missed it. Kevin is a well respected scholar, so perhaps this may be able to help since not understanding a thinker is not a reason for dismissal:


by Kevin B. Anderson, a well-known scholar-activist in the Marxist-Humanist tradition. The essays cover the dialectics of revolution in a variety of settings, from Hegel and the French Revolution to dialectics today and its poststructuralist and pragmatist critics. In these essays, particular attention is given to Lenin’s encounter with Hegel and its impact on the critique of imperialism, the rejection of crude materialism, and more generally, on world revolutionary developments. Major but neglected works on Hegel and dialectics written under the impact of the struggle against fascism like Lukács’s The Young Hegel and Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution are given full critical treatment. Dunayevskaya’s intersectional revolutionary dialectics is also treated extensively, especially its focus on a dialectics of revolution that avoids class reductionism, placing gender, race, and colonialism at the center alongside class. In addition, key critics of Hegel and dialectics like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Antonio Negri, Pierre Bourdieu, and Richard Rorty, are themselves analysed and critiqued from a twenty-first century dialectical perspective. The book also takes up the dialectic in global, intersectional settings via a reconsideration of the themes of Anderson’s Marx at the Margins, where nationalism, race, and colonialism were theorized alongside capital and class as key elements in Marxist dialectical thought. As a whole, the book offers a discussion of major themes in the dialectics of revolution that still speak to us today at a time of radical transformation in all spheres of society and of everyday life.

Farans Kalosar

OK. I have no particular objection to this post, though I disagree with its tenor, to the extent that I think that is clear. It's also, of course, comically supercilious and pedantic in tone.  But that's allowed.

A couple of corrections, however:

  • The term "postmodernism" is not confined to art history as the second definition states. There is postmodernism in philosophy in particular.  That discussion should at least include Habermas as well as Lyotard, if one wishes to "go there."  But the term may IMO with perfect propriety be used in a broader and more intuitive sense without requiring the recapitulation of a college reading list.
  • You left Saussure out of your family tree of the concept of the arbitrariness of the sign.  This is strange, as Saussure is regarded by most as the "father" of this doctrine in modern linguistics
Some physicists express themselves very clearly in plain English.  I had the privilege of interviewing the late Eugene Parker at some length in the early 1990s for a video that I had written and was producing for the Space Physics Division of NASA.  He had no trouble at all discussing subjects such as the question of how the solar corona is heated.  At the time, Parker--who had first proposed and then verified the existence of the solar wind--was proposing an experimental space mission that was defunded together with the now-forgotten Great Observatories campaign, but was revived decades later as the Parker Solar Probe, which Parker lived to see launched successfully.

This kind of communication has strict limits, but that is true of scientific and technical communication in general.  Nobody has truly encyclopedic knowledge, but that does not mean that one cannot find one's way successfully around the numerous scientific and technical disciplines that impinge on our lives.  The kind of universal polymath that Derrida--apparently absurdly--pretended to be is not really needed as long as one understands and can live with the limitations imposed by legitimate specialization.