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October 14, 2004



I would be reluctant to so easily write off a father of deconstructivist movement. You can call him "passé," but his tremendous impact---not only within circles of academics engaging in obscure analysis but through high and low cultures in many places---cannot be ignored. However, I will defer to any literary scholars out there for a more complete rebuttal.

Won Joon CHoe

That's one hilarious excerpt.

I've never read Derrida (nor Foucault) so I will not pass judgment.

Abiola Lapite

Anyone interested in suffering through a little bit of Derrida's prose is welcome to throw away a few precious minutes of life struggling through this material. The man was a charlatan, and I have no qualms about saying so. That he managed to gather a large body of admirers throughout academia and popular culture only shows that there are a tremendous number of gullible people in the world who have a strong yearning to be associated with "deep" thinking: but we already knew that, otherwise glorified doorstops like Negri and Hardt's Empire wouldn't sell as well as they do.


I agree with you that Derrida brought nothing significant to the body of human knowledge, but in dismissing Derrida and the much of the post-modernist enterprise, I find myself open to a criticism I have leveled at creationists. If I, a non-expert in the field of literary theory, can dismiss the field as largely hokum, how can I criticize creationists, who are non-experts in the field of science, for dismissing evolution as largely hokum?

Abiola Lapite

"how can I criticize creationists, who are non-experts in the field of science, for dismissing evolution as largely hokum?"

Because proponents of Darwinism make claims about the real world which can be put to the test? Think "falsificationism."

Frank McGahon

I don't mean to be pedantic but Derrida's "movement" was deconstructionism, not "deconstructivism". The latter was a punning invention by, I think, Philip Johnson to describe/post-rationalise a selection of late 1980s architects (such as Libeskind) who combined a fondness for Derrida-esque impenetrable gobbledygook and an angular style of architecture which superficially resembled the post-revolution, pre-stalin Russian Constructivism school (El Lissitsky etc)


comparing deconstructionism to evolutionary i've seen it all!


As Robert Locke observed, "deconstructionism is the opiate of the intellectual classes. . . It raises to the level of a philosophical system the intuition that everything grownups do is a fraud. It is the metaphysics of Holden Caulfield. It enables the practitioner to tell himself that is among the privileged group of insiders who know that the Wizard of Oz is behind the curtain."

Stephen Platt: "The weaker the level of intellectual analysis and formal standards of scientific evidence and proof, the more popular Deconstructionism is. This is why professors of comparative literature have trouble controlling their sexual excitement stimulated by it, professors of education adore it, sociologists and political "scientists" applaud it, and members of all real scientific fields tend to place Deconstructionism in the same category as the Ra-El cult."

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