Monday, 31 July 2006

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Well, Who Would Conservatives Have Us Footnote? [This inflammatory baby originally appeared on The Valve. But you're welcome to comment and/or link to it here.] Laura Ventura, a law student from Indiana, picked up the then-latest issue of Critical Inquiry and read Anne H. Stevens and Jay Williams’ article The Footnote, in Theory. She was horrified: For those who doubt the far leftward tilt of college campuses, one needs to look no further than an article published in the University of Chicago’s Critical Inquiry to dispel such doubts. An article by Anne H. Stevens and Jay Williams titled “The Footnote, in Theory” chronicled Critical Inquiry’s most frequently cited theorists throughout its existence. The number one cited theorist by the magazine was none other than Jacques Derrida, “the father of deconstruction.” Exactly what deconstruction means is hard to say because even Derrida himself could not give a definition. In a nutshell, deconstruction is a method for discrediting historical theorists such as Aristotle and Plato for the sole purpose of promoting Derrida’s own beliefs. Her deep familiarity with Derrida’s oeuvre notwithstanding, I question Accuracy in Academia’s decision to publish such a laughably ignorant article. Maybe a friend should’ve told her that anti-Derridean polemics account for half of Derrida’s appearances in CI. Proof? Of course I have proof. Responsible scholars—future lawyers, even—read the works they criticize, lest they risk writing the equivalent of this: For those who doubt the anti-Americanist tilt of college campuses, one needs to look no further than an article published in the German Studies Association’s German Studies Review to dispel such doubts. An article by Anne H. Fritzsche and Jay Ametsbichler titled “Die Fußnote, in der Theorie” chronicled German Studies Review’s most frequently cited theorists throughout its existence. The number one cited theorist by the magazine was none other than some German Guy, “the father of some German school of thought.” Exactly what some German school of thought means is hard to say because even that German Guy himself could not give a definition. In a nutshell, some German school of thought is a method for discrediting historical theorists such as Aristotle and Plato for the sole purpose of promoting some German Guy’s own beliefs. Before you protest how unfair my parody is, consider what Ventura follows that with: Notably absent from the list is C. S. Lewis. It is a fair assumption that he was most likely left off the list because of his strong Christian beliefs and influences. This factor certainly sets him apart from number two on the list, Sigmund Freud, who did not have any religious convictions. Realistically, the fact the Lewis was a Christian most likely sets him apart from all the “theorists” on the list. I’m so blinded by the fact that C.S. Lewis rarely appears in CI because he’s a Christian, I can’t see her argument to refute it. “Realistically,” it is such “a fair assumption” I can do nothing but accept its accuracy. Sure, sure, the actual reason Lewis “was most likely left off the list” was that...

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