The Only Four Words You Need

To ace any Humanities class.

Now, I’m not saying you should go to college.  I’m on record, in fact, saying that college is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the American public.  But if you feel you must go, here’s all you need to ace any class less rigorous than Chemistry:

  • discourse
  • intersectionality
  • reify
  • resistance.

Discourse is the subject of your essay.  Everything is a discourse (usage note: A discourse.  Always a noun, never a verb). You probably think “discourse” means “talking about something,” and that’s kinda right, but you’ve gotta expand your mind, maaaan (professors smoke a lot of pot).  Take “racism.”  While there are lots of actions that most people would consider overt racism, there aren’t nearly enough of them to fill up all the conference papers profs need to get tenure. So they simply make things up, using “discourse” as a get-out-of-evidence-free card.  Throw in a little “discourse,” and you can talk about racist hair.  Yes, racist hair.  Hair styles, too, are a discourse — they help reify (see below) what it means to be Black.  Thus a white guy who wears dreadlocks is appropriating (another useful buzzword) the tropes (ditto) of “blackness.”  This is actually the preferred technique: Nobody in their right mind would type a sentence like “the discourse of race extends even, or perhaps most crucially, into the realm of hairstyles.”  But that’s the kind of counter-intuitive nonsense that flutters professorial hearts.  E.g:

Do you not understand that locs are an intensely political statement and that black people – especially black women – are constantly policed about their hair?

Tone it down a bit — “discourse,” after all, has a connotation of sweet reasonableness — but learn to talk like this.  You’ll definitely want to throw around phrases like “political statement” and “policed,” the more the better.

An intense political statement, perhaps inadequately policed.

An intense political statement, perhaps inadequately policed.

Intersectionality.  Andrew Sullivan, of all people, has a pretty good short definition of this:

neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity — such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. — but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power.

You don’t really need a definition, though.  You know how it’s always some white girl doing Wymyn’s Studies at a place like Oberlin, who claims to be the Most Oppressed Person Ever?  You ask her how that can possibly be, given that, you know, her Daddy can afford to send her to Oberlin to study something catastrophically useless for five years at $60 large per?  And she’ll reply — if she deigns to reply — something along the lines of “because mumble mumble reasons?”  That’s intersectionality.  Ditto with American Blacks, who have the MOPE act down to an art form, despite living lives on the public dime that are the envy of at least 75% of the human population.  Whitey, of course, is keeping them down, because mumble mumble reasons.  Replace “mumble mumble reasons” with “intersectionality” and it’s all good in the ivory tower.  It’s how you claim victimhood while living the kind of life an Ottoman satrap would find decadent.

Reify means “to make real” or “to make into an object.” Thing-ification, if you will.  It’s an old school Marxist term d’art (literary French for “bullshit”) that has been repurposed for the Pop Culture Studies crowd.  Like its sometime synonym “instantiazation,” reify pulls concepts down from the realm of abstract theory and makes them into “artifacts” (another useful buzzword).  An example: “Eminem’s depiction of an abusive relationship in his latest video reifies patriarchal gender roles among lower-class whites.”  Translated into English, this means: “watch Eminem’s latest video, turn into a wife beater.”  The variant you’re most likely to encounter these days is the dreaded “male gaze,” which literally — literally!! — objectifies women.

Resistance.  Different from #TheResistance, which apparently makes Donald Trump feel bad by tweeting mean things about him to your six followers, resistance, in academic parlance, is what good people do when a discourse reifies something that makes them experience feelbad… which, of course, everything does, because intersectionality.  Literally — literally!! — anything a MOPE does is resistance if you can get a conference paper out of it.  I’m not kidding — the field of Subaltern Studies, for example, is chock-a-block with dense polysyllabic jargon excusing the kind of conduct among brown people that would get, say, a Vichy police chief strung up from the nearest lamppost.  If you simply existed under the heel of the colonizer, and you left enough evidence for a prof to pad it out to 20 pages, congratulations, you’re resisting.

Now all you have to do is put these four terms together, which is a snap.  Find something that nobody could possibly consider objectionable — model railroading, say — and declare it a Major Social Justice Issue.  Like so:

An overwhelmingly white hobby, model railroading reifies the cis/het/pat assumption that only white male engineers are capable of sustaining a complex iterative system in a bounded context.  The most problematic discourse of model railroading — the so called “Lionel vs. American Flyer” debate — puts minorities at risk by refusing to recognize the complex intersectionality of excluded peoples.  Resistance is overdue.

Final exam: What does that actually mean?*

 

*It’s a trick question, obviously.  It doesn’t mean anything, and was never intended to.  You just have to slip in the correct buzzwords in a superficially plausible way.  The Postmodern Essay Generator will get you 90% there; all you need to do is copy/paste its gibberish into a Word file, then find-and-replace with the four buzzwords described here, plus a few details from your lecture notes.  The best part is, you can recycle this exact same paper for all four years, changing only the superficial details and the section number.

That’ll be $45,000, please.

 

Reductio ad Leftism

Stacy McCain has some questions for the radical feminists:

Any skeptic must ask, why are the categories of “man” and “woman” political? Why is there a quasi-Marxist “class struggle” between men and women,” what does it mean to describe heterosexuality as an “economic system,” and what manner of “society” could exist without heterosexuality?

Let me take a stab at answering them.  Now, obviously these are rhetorical questions — the answer, as McCain notes in the very next sentence, is: “Wittig’s purpose is to destroy “society” as it exists.”  What I want to do here is explore some of the “thought” process behind this rhetorical strategy, because trust me, your kids are getting this in college.

There’s a nugget of truth in every Big Idea Leftist academics (BIRM) have farted out over the last half century… so I guess technically it should be “sharted out,” but whatever, point is, all academic theorizing is a variation of Jon Stewart’s “clown nose on / clown nose off” rhetorical strategy.  Stewart makes some asinine fanservice remark, and if he gets too much blowback for being an obvious partisan hack, he says “oh lighten up, it was just a joke,” and points to his smirking fanbois as evidence.  If he doesn’t get called on it, though, he and all his fanbois repeat it over and over as if it’s a serious bit of political analysis, which enables them to claim that they’re Smarter and Better Informed Than You even though they get all their profound mindthoughts from a Comedy Central bobblehead.

Academia works the same way.  They like to pretend that everything, and I do mean everything, is words and nothing but words.  Which is tautologically true: Since we can only think in words, words are necessarily what we think in.  So what happens if we change the words?

No, seriously.  Maybe you weren’t a huge nerd as a teenager, but trust me, this stuff is catnip to a certain kind of dork who thinks he’s way smarter than he actually is.  Normies see you calling a rabbit a smeerp and laugh, because hey, it’s still just a rabbit.  But playing with words does change your perceptions.  Consider these definitions of “human being:”

  • A human being is a rational animal, the only known rational animal in the universe.
  • A human being is a great ape, halfway in size between a chimpanzee and a gorilla.

Both equally true, but oh what a difference!  Clown nose off, this is persuasion, a selective presentation of facts towards a rhetorical end.  Clown nose on, and in comes the unstated but lethally important qualifier, the suggestion of which is the whole point of the exercise:  “A human being is nothing but a great ape.”

So the tautology

  • “as we can only think in words, we think in words”

becomes, clown nose on,

  • “as we can only think in words, words mediate our interaction with reality”

which with the addition of some baggy pants, floppy shoes, and a seltzer horn, becomes

  • “as words mediate our interaction with reality, words create our reality.”

which of course is logically equivalent to

  • “reality itself is nothing but words.”

And boom, you’re a Social Justice Warrior.*  My preferred pronouns are “xyr” and “jermajesty.”

dipkoukmvc8uryknny8f

Should anyone challenge you on this… well, since you usually only hear stuff like this in the academy, what you do is fail ’em and report ’em to the Dean for hate speech.  But if someone on the Board of Regents, say, asks you — pink slip in hand — if you’re really teaching undergrads that reality itself is nothing but words, you take the clown nose off and say oh no, of course not, we’re only teaching that words influence perception.

And that’s how you get feminists asserting that “man” and “woman” are political, that there’s a class struggle between them, et cetera ad nauseam.  It’d make your eyes bleed to do this for every item on the list, but here’s a brief e.g.:

“Masculinity,” say, is both DEscriptive and PREscriptive.  When we define behavior X as “masculine,” we’re saying “X is what real men do;” at the same time, we’re also saying “if you want to be considered a real man, do X.”  And who is this “we”?  Why, the community of language-users, of course.  And since that community changes, the sense of the word also changes — the Vikings had a word for “masculine,” no doubt, but it meant something very different than the English word.  Which means notions like “masculinity” are (nothing but) “social constructions;” they change as society changes.  And how does society change?  Via politics, of course, since “politics” is defined as the interplay of personal preferences in the public sphere.  Thus words like “man” and “woman” are, at bottom, political categories.  You and I and my prison gang voted; you’re the woman.

Feel free to take the final exam: If social life is nothing but economics — which follows, clown nose on, from the observation that people exchange stuff for other stuff — you should easily be able to deduce why heterosexuality is an economic system, and thus explain the quasi-Marxist class war between the sexes.

Yes, they really do think like this.  They have to — without the notion that life itself is nothing but words, Leftism will always founder on Reality’s rocks.  I’ve given you the academic version, but you can see it everywhere these days.  It’s why the Cult will never give up on the idea that Putin hacked the election, for example — if he didn’t, then the American people really did prefer Trump to their terrible, horrible, no good very bad candidate Hillary, which is unpossible.  So they’ll keep repeating it until it’s true, and it will be true — until the last remnants of the USA are overrun by superintelligent apes, it’ll be a true fact that everyone knows Putin hacked the election for Trump.  Because if you can just get enough people to repeat if for long enough, reality itself will conform to your magic, magic words, because after all, since we can only think in words, words mediate our interaction with….

QED.

 

 

*The Six Readers will undoubtedly recognize this as The Gem, aka The Worst Argument in the World.  I seriously can’t recommend David Stove enough to y’all.

Explaining Academia: Michel Foucault

The “Explaining Academia” series exists for two reasons: 1) to show you what a massive scam college is, and 2) as a supervillain origin story for Leftist chestnuts. Today’s nonsense about “toxic masculinity,” and trans-whateverism, and proclaiming oneself narwhalsexual and calling oneself “xyr,” for instance…. all this was being hashed out in gender studies courses a decade ago. So let’s take a trip in the wayback machine, to the late 1960s. Groovy, baby!

austinpowers_0Believe it or not, there once was a time when a thinker’s personal life had nothing to do with his ideas… but that time was not the Sixties, and Michel Foucault is one of the main reasons why.  Michel Foucault was a queer Frog philosopher who liked rough sex.  Had that not been the case, his infantile Nietzsche-lite act would never have seen the light of day.

Turns out that whole “rejecting bourgeois morality” thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Foucault, and the kind of people who read Foucault, weren’t satisfied with the free love they were getting in the Summer of Love (as good little Marxists, they’d rejected the capitalist axiom that things are worth what you pay for them).  And since nothing can ever be a liberal’s fault, they concluded that there’s something wrong with sexuality itself. 

So along comes Foucault, to tell us that sex, like morality, culture, and everything else, is nothing but power.  All human interactions are merely transactions, and since no two individuals will ever be equal*, all transactions are, at bottom,** exploitation.  There is no “sex,” not really, and there’s surely no “love” — there is only Domination, Submission, and Resistance.

Like every harebrained idea the ivory tower has farted out in the last half-century, Foucault’s “power / resistance” stuff is trivially true.  If you have something I want, you have “power” over me — you can set the terms of the exchange.  If I pay your price, I “submit.”  But if the price is too high, I will search for other ways to get it — I will “resist.”  Of course, all this talk of “price” and “exchange” makes the whole deal look a lot like capitalism…..

….because it IS capitalism, squeezed into gimp-suit jargon.  I was a bit too young for the singles’ bar scene, but this is exactly how the world’s Kate Milletts described dating back in the Disco Era: commodity exchange, and isn’t it just awful how men expect sex after shelling out a week’s paycheck on dinner and drinks?  That they got this notion from a guy who’d give Andrew Sullivan’s RawMuscleGlutes a vigorous spanking tells you everything you need to know about Second-Wave Feminism, but that’s irrelevant.  The point is that only a Cheeto-dusted basement dweller would read this stuff and think yes, this is a deep and meaningful way of describing human interaction.  Which is why it took academia by storm.

And once you start looking at the world this way, it gets harder and harder to stop.  Foucault didn’t; he went full retard, arguing that modern penitentiaries, like modern medical centers, trick us into participating in our own slavery.  We don’t draw-and-quarter people anymore, says Foucault, because early modern governments so arranged the “technologies of power” that we internalize the ruling elite’s expectations for us, making gaudy public torture unnecessary.***  Which is clever, I guess, until you start asking who is employing these “micro-physics of power;” who came up with the codes, and, most importantly, why?  This is the “Nietzsche-lite” of Foucault’s infantile Nietzsche-lite act.  Also the “infantile” part.  Ask any teenager: The reason your parents say they have all those rules is to make you a better person, but really it’s to make things easier on them, and really it’s just because they like torturing kids.  Which is why they’re literally Hitler.

The most interesting thing, in my view, is that once again we have the Left reducing the entire vast spectacle of human history to ONE thing… and then ignoring the obvious implications of that one thing.  Let’s say Foucault is right, and all that stuff we call “culture” — religion, the family, honor, patriotism, heterosexuality, whatever — really are just masks for raw power.  Ok, so…. we’re supposed to let “Progressives” shame us into doing what they want?  The proper response to a Progressive charge of “rayciss” is, according to Progressives’ own philosophy, “so?  Racism is a social construction.  You’re only accusing me of it to subordinate me.  I choose resistance. Pistols at dawn, motherfucker.”

If Foucault is right, then there’s no possible end to the Hobbesian war of all against all, because the social contract is just another “technology of power.”  And just as Nietzsche — raw power’s original apostle — was a half-blind syphilitic, so his ape was a power bottom who died of AIDS, and so his apes in academia are noodle-armed pajamaboys and trigglypuffs.

Do y’all seriously want to keep claiming that all is power, power, nothing but power?

 

*If you want to say that this is why Lefties are all-in on group rights — that many of them figure the only way they’ll get laid is to equalize the collective value between themselves and potential partners — go nuts.

**heh heh…”bottom.”  You really can’t avoid double entendres like this when talking about guys like Foucault, even if you tried… which is why I don’t bother trying.

***You don’t need to be an early modernist or a queer Frog philosopher who likes it rough to come up with a zillion better explanations for this fact.  Common sense works just fine.  Could it be, perhaps, that the reason there were so many capital crimes on the books in the pre-modern age was that law enforcement was pretty much nonexistent?  Half the people in a given country didn’t know their king’s name; do you think they spent much time memorizing the penal code?  If the duke actually caught a lawbreaker red-handed, he’d have every incentive to get medieval on him, pour encourager les autres.

 

“Academia Discriminates Against Women”

so says some feminist professor (so says Stacy McCain).  I have a question:

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

No, wait, make that

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That is literally the funniest thing I’ve ever heard a feminist say.

Ok, ok, if I’m being honest, it’s only the second-funniest.  The funniest thing was way back in grad school, when the chicks in our department — who were the clear majority of our department — started bitching that women didn’t have enough leadership positions.  So, as always, the PTB convened a blue-ribbon commission, staffed by these chicks themselves…

….which found out that not only did women hold the majority of leadership positions in the department, they held every single blessed one of them.  The report stated this….

….and in the very next sentence started bitching about how the disproportionate burden of occupying all these leadership roles was keeping them from pursuing their training, thus holding them back from completing their degrees.

You really can’t make this stuff up.  You really can’t.

Strength is a Social Construction

At Vox Day’s “Game” site, we see this:

Chris Lawrence:  What they’re gonna do now, is… looking at better ways to train women to do these push-ups [sic].  There is a feeling that from the time they are girls, girls don’t do push-ups, even women who workout religiously and are very physically fit are not working those kind of muscles and trying to build up that bigger upper body by doing pull-ups.  So, what they want to do is go in and really teach women better ways to train to do this particular exercise.

Ahhh, academia.  Speaking of “Game,” I remember one night in grad school, on a… can’t really call it a “blind date,” since nobody does that anymore.  But whatever.  She was annoying, I was drinking in a vain effort to make her less annoying, and at some point I just said “screw it” and gave her both barrels…

She’d said something about how athletic performance is a social construction.  I said something to the effect of, “Bullshit.  I may not be the strongest guy in grad school, but I promise you I’m the strongest girl.  I’m the fastest girl, too, even though I’ve got lousy knees and haven’t jogged a step in about a decade.  Look around — this is a grad student bar.  I’ll take any chick here in a foot race or a bench press contest, right now, for $100 cash.  You in?”

Two things to note here: First, the Game Prime Directive is “don’t be like every other chump.”  The idea that men are stronger and faster than women is so obvious it doesn’t merit mentioning out in the real world, even in this, the year of Our Lord 2016.  But people who live in the ivory tower have spent decades training not to know it, and if their folks are academics, too — you know it’s largely a guild profession, right? — it’s possible they’ve never known it.  This may have been the first time she’d heard it expressed.  That part of “Game” works just fine.

Second: This was ten, twelve years ago.  As I remarked to Nate Winchester the other day in an offline, bizarre ivory tower dogmas of such breathtaking stupidity that you’d weep in your whiskey to hear them are tomorrow’s rotten chestnuts.  This whole “strength is a social construction” thing was well advanced among the tenured ten years ago, and now some nobody on NPR or whatever is trying to apply it to the Marines.

And the pace is accelerating.

PUAs Discover Stupid Professor Tricks

Chateau Heartiste is a very entertaining “Game” blog, which has just discovered one of the Stupid Professor Tricks.  On substituting various euphemisms for the word “race:”

What is it with lunatic libs and their pathological compulsion to deny the reality of race? “Red” and “blue” are social constructs to describe real world differences in colors, but that doesn’t mean the visible light spectrum is imaginary or a tool of the oppressive White patriarchy. All words are literally social constructs — labels created by social humans — to describe real world phenomena. Leftoids can call it “ancestry”, “population locations”, “human migration patterns” or “geography-based groups” that “correlate” with “sociological concepts of race”, but it’s all just legerdemain-slash-poopytalk meaning the same as race.

Times like these make the whole Explaining Academia series worthwhile.  I often wonder if anyone even cares about this nonsense…. but then some of it slips out into the real world.  So, for the benefit of PUAs everywhere:

In academese, social construction means “an incontrovertible, easily observed part of Reality that we wish to deny, for fun and profit.”  You’ll notice that, say, Marxism is never referred to as a “social construction,” though it’s the very definition of a community-based reality.  Nor are conservative, Right wingnationalist, or any of their synonyms, though again, they are entirely the creation of social groups, for social purposes — every theology requires its devil, after all.   Ditto capitalism, for the same reason — if it weren’t empirically real, they’d too obviously be tilting at windmills.

But race? Gender? You can’t get tenure saying “boys are boys and girls are girls,” and the ivory tower would be about as diverse as a Huffington Post editorial board meeting if they admitted that race is a real thing.  Thus, they are “social constructions.”

Paradigm Shift?

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “paradigm shift,” but probably haven’t read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which introduced the concept.  I’m not going to claim that you need to run out and read it — I haven’t, and have no intention to — but “paradigm shift,” and its presentation, need a second look.

Most people think that “paradigm shift” just means “a new way of looking at things.”  And that’s what Kuhn wants you to think… when he’s speaking to laymen.  But doublespeak is the hoariest Stupid Professor Trick of them all, and so “paradigm shift” means something completely different when aimed at the anointed.  To “sociologists of science” &c, it’s an ironclad epistemological claim: You literally cannot think outside of your particular “paradigm.”  This thesis goes by various names — “frames,” “the Strong Programme [sic] in the Sociology of Science” — but it’s all the same thing: Knowledge itself is “socially constructed,” so you can only know what society, the media, the Patriarchy, capitalism, et cetera ad nauseam allow you to know.

Like all Postmodernism, the problem with this should be obvious.  It’s the Ishmael Effect — how did Thomas Kuhn escape his “paradigm,” to be able to tell us that nobody can think outside his paradigm?  Once again we find professors asserting for a fact that there’s no such thing as a fact.

And yet it’s not obvious.  In fact, Kuhn would say that noticing little factual discrepancies is how the “paradigm shift” happens in the first place — observations of celestial bodies don’t line up with Ptolemaic astronomy, for instance, and so along comes the Copernican revolution.  But, again, that’s just a PoMo speaking from both sides of his mouth — paradigms are incompatible, but somehow the one transforms into the other….

But now I’m wondering if he isn’t somehow right after all. See, for instance, this Cracked.com photomontage.  Specifically this

541398_v1and this:

541378_v1In both cases, the facts are well known, and easily accessible.  Re: more money, US per capita education spending is among the very highest in the world.  And there’s no correlation between spending increases and performance increases, as even the ultra-liberal HuffPo acknowledges.  And that’s with five seconds of googling.

With ten seconds’ worth of googling, we find that nope, not a single US state mandates teaching creationism in science class.  A handful require students to “critically analyze key aspects of evolutionary theory,” and two others allow (not require) “teachers and students to discuss scientific evidence critical of evolution.”  Hmmm….critically evaluating evidence and theories.  Gosh, that sounds like the very definition of the scientific method!

So maybe Kuhn is right after all.  Because these facts aren’t secret, they get brought up to liberals all the time.  You’ve probably done it yourself.  I know I have, and I bet your result was the same as mine — ad hom, then run away.  At the very best, you get a grudging acknowledgement that “some” studies “may have” said that… and five minutes later, they’re back griping about insufficient funding for public schools and those hicks in Tennessee mandating creationism in biology class.

They really can’t see past their paradigm.

Freud? Surely You Can’t Be Serious….

… but I am serious.

Stacy McCain is doing his usual yeoman work bitchslapping the feminists.  He’s read way more of this stuff than I ever will (wrote a book on it, even), but as so often happens with experts, he slides over a little bit of the context sometimes while getting straight to the point.  Like here:

Not to delve into this too deeply, but because feminists believe everything is “socially constructed,” their attack on men, marriage and motherhood required them to develop a theoretical refutation both of (a) the idea that sexual behavior is a matter of biology, and (b) Freudian theory about the developmental origins of sexual behavior.

Does anyone outside of academia still believe in Freud?

Because the old cokehead is useful to tenure-chasing idiots who have to find “radical” “new” takes on things, everyone in the ivory tower still refers to Freud as if he’s the hot new underground sensation.  Out in the real world, though, it’s not 1906 anymore (have you noticed?).  Freudianism is a forgotten joke for most people (I note that WordPress’s spell checker considers “Freudianism” a typo).  Seriously: when’s the last time you heard anyone referred to as “anal-retentive?”  It was a real thing until about 1950 or so, then it was a joke, and by the 1990s even the joke was fading from Americans’ repertoire.  Ditto “Oedipus complex,” “penis envy,” “phallic symbols,” etc.  Drop any of those in conversation today, and people will look at you like you’re talking about a corking good vaudeville show, old sport.

But academia still relies heavily on Freud, and even more heavily on his even barmier disciples, Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva.(1)  The reason for this is simple, as McCain implies: Given the power of “unconscious drives” etc., one can say all kinds of new and shocking stuff about… well, about just about anything.  More importantly, you can use the dogmas of Freud’s religion to argue that capitalism makes people crazy.  We’ve discussed the Frankfurt School here before (check the archives!); there’s no need to rehash it.  Just a quick reminder: FS = psychoanalysis + Marxism.  Socialism is the one true healthy state of humanity, and if capitalism seems to work so much better, and more people seem to be way happier under it, that’s false consciousness.

And that’s the Tenure Tango: pick something to “problematize;” blame it on capitalism; cite Frankfurt School derivative; strike radical pose.  The more bizarre and reality-denying the claim, though, the closer to the original sources you have to get… and since feminism’s claims are the bizzare-est and reality denying-est of them all, they frequently sail near the reefs of ol’ Ziggy his own self.  Which is, of course, “problematic,” as he’s not only a man, but a horny and creepy one, even by the fairly lax standards of his day.  Hilarity ensues; read McCain for more.

And don’t call me Shirley.

 

(1) If you want a good thumbnail summary of these lunatics, and their many, many abuses of science and common sense, you can’t go wrong with Bricmont and Sokal’s Fashionable Nonsense.

Explaining Academia: Bullshit

I like making up new names like “question-flipping” for Stupid Professor Tricks.  But sometimes, bullshit is just bullshit.  For a more eloquent expression of this bedrock truth, here’s David Stove’s description of “reasoning from a sudden and violent solecism:”

Say or imply, for example, that in English “value” means the same as “individuality.” You can be miles down the track of your argument before they get their breath back.

This method is not only physiologically but ethologically sound. Of course it should never be used first. You need first to earn the respect of your readers, by some good reasoning, penetrating observations, or the like: then apply the violent solecism. Tell them, for example, that when we say of something that it is a prime number, we mean that it was born out of wedlock. You cannot go wrong this way. Decent philosophers will be so disconcerted by this, that they will never do the one thing they should do: simply say, “That is NOT what ‘prime number’ means!” Instead, they will always begin … [by] casting about for an excuse for someone’s saying what you said, or a half-excuse, or a one-eighth excuse; nor is there any danger that they will search in vain.

What else could possibly be going on here (h/t Ace’s overnight thread)?

Mapped at the intersection of not-for-profit hobo sex and labor practices historically, the hobosexual collapses the apparent impasse between the material and the symbolic so prevalent in queer studies.

There is no “apparent impasse” between the material and the symbolic.  They are completely different things.  Calling the difference between real things and symbols an “apparent impasse” is no different than saying a prime number is born out of wedlock.  It’s a solecism, i.e. bullshit.

Words mean what they mean.  Insist on that, and 90% of modern Leftism vanishes in a puff of common sense.

Question-Flipping: Feminism

In Postcolonialism’s case (discussed below), 50-cent words do the flipping — by the time you get a handle on what they mean by words like “alterity,” “subaltern,” and so on, you’re already lost in the weeds.  Feminists do it with 50 cent words plus bitchy screeching, but the result’s the same.

For instance, the feminist will tell you that “gender” is a “social construction.”  After which, she’ll demand that we “interrogate” the “systems of oppression” by which “patriarchy” violates the rights of women, homosexuals, the transgendered, etc.

Did you catch it?  Notice the only buzzword up there without quotation marks: Rights.  Rights inhere in the individual, but according to feminists, everything that individuates us is a “social construction.”  Therefore, rights are social constructions.  How can a “social construction” have rights? That’s the question we should be asking.

In the feminists’ case it’s even funnier, as the more radical among them are engaged in a long-running TERF war with the trannies.  TERF are “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists,” and they hold the ur-patriarchal belief that having a dick makes one a male.  Thus, they exclude the “transgendered” from their female-only safe spaces.  And I know you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that they’re not real polite about it:

Cathy_Brennan_Feminist_LawyerLike the Al-warmists, then, we’ve got a bunch of impeccably orthodox Postmodernists arguing that in just this one special case, a fact is a fact and words mean what they mean.

The way to immunize yourself from all this, I’m starting to think, is to throw away the dictionary.  Most Americans have a reflexive respect for academia, so we assume that big, odd words like “reification” must mean something really deep.  They don’t.  They’re just question-begging bullshit.  If someone throws a word like that at you, don’t ask for clarification.  Just assume he’s a charlatan and walk away.  Or, if you can’t just walk away, do NOT let him drag you into the weeds of a technical discussion.  They’ve spent years (and tens of thousands of dollars) practicing this stuff — I can assure you from extensive personal experience that academic “discussions” are little more than buzzword-quoting contests.  Keep it superficial — they don’t really know what they’re talking about, and if you disallow jargon, that becomes painfully obvious.  When they call you a dude-bro (rapidly replacing “racist” as the go-to conversation-stopping insult), you know you’ve won.