Saturday, 06 August 2005

Anti-Thoughts about the Anti-Desires of the Deeply Stupid, or Ideas Obscured by Assumptions So many points to make. So little desire to organize. The debate about the debate about the debate about the debate about Theory rages on. (Much, much more below the fold.) I had completed half a post last night in response to this by Jodi Dean: The Right promises a transgressive thrill of racism, sexism, nationalism: enjoy excluding! enjoy 'returning' to the true values, the true text, before it was corrupted by all these women and ethnically identified or figured people, when it was really English and American literature. The point would have been that she psychologizes the reasons people must not "do Theory." "You don't read Zizek," I would have had her say, "you must be a closet conservative and crass careerists enraged by your inability to master these difficult works. What other explanation could there be?" I would have then followed with a list of my complaints that would've demonstrated the reason she didn't read any of the articles on which she presumably based her diagnosis is that she already knew what everyone would say (even though she didn't) and already knew why they would say it (even though she doesn't) and that the only way she could continue to write, think and do Theory is if she ignored the fact that legitimate complaints about its usage and purview exist. Then she had to go be polite and reasonable in her response, so I'm not going to write it in the same way Cicero avoided calling attention Quintus' philanderings by informing everyone that he intended avoiding the topic of Quintus' philanderings. Actually, I'm not going to not write it that way either. I'm going to write it as an example of why I think debates about Theory are so often side-tracked: everyone believes everyone else is intellectually dishonest to the limited extent people so deeply stupid can be intellectually dishonest. I know, I know, I'm not breaking new ground here. Here's the thing: I think we're right. All of us. I think we are all intellectually dishonest (to ourselves and others) and deeply stupid when it comes to thinking about Theory. Consider this comment to Jodi's post: Excellent post, and far more gracious than I would have been if I had time to read the related posts, I'm sure. I just have no patience for graduate students, and especially professors, who profess their desire, or anti-desire, for ignorance. Why get into the profession, why claim to profess, if one doesn't want to challenge one's thought, one's way of being? Why not just do the authentic thing, and become a bureaucrat? This is one intellectually dishonest, deeply stupid comment. Its author--who no doubt considers himself as open-minded as critical thinkers come--assumes that anyone who would question the self-evident importance of Theory desires, er, anti-desires ignorance. (Wouldn't an "anti-desire for ignorance" be a desire for knowledge? Nevermind.) Although this professing machine has yet to answer Jodi's latest comment, I wonder how he'll react to this statement: Yet, I am against...

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