Article:
  An Interview with Cory Doctorow
Subject:   a valuable guide to discourse
Date:   2005-03-07 18:15:57
From:   flwombat
Response to: A novel about wi-fi? Good god.

I was all set to chime in with my own thoughts about some of the works discussed here, but then I realized that, not being a venerated literary master, I really ought to keep my mouth shut. I mean, I myself have only a cursory understanding of what deconstruction is all about; I've never even read Derrida! Imagine, someone like me offering criticism!


Which leads me to wonder: is there a national or international accrediting agency to which I can apply for the right to reinterpret or rebut those works that form the foundations of our shared culture? (I hope there's a standardized test involved. I'm good at those!)

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Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.

  • a valuable guide to discourse
    2005-03-07 19:36:03  oddjohn [View]

    Take a college course in literature with a professor who is into deconstruction. You won't understand a word he says. That's okay. Don't take notes. Just write down all his favorite buzzwords. Like trope. Trope is a good one.

    Read the assigned readings in literary criticism. Most of it will seem like pure crap. Read it anyway, and after a while you will realize that they are saying really obvious things in incredibly convoluted ways.

    In class discussions, you will notice that everybody seems to know exactly what they are talking about, and they talk about it with their noses in the air, using extremely elevated diction. Because of this, you pretend to understand also, and even bravely throw out your own occasional comment. You will soon become more courageous when you see your classmates nodding sagely after you regurgitate some of the crap you've read and heard.

    When it is time for you to make a class presentation, you will be momentarily terrified that everyone will discover you are faking it, but if you have half a brain and have learned to be a real phony, everybody will pretend to be impressed, and the professor will give you an A. Of course s/he gives nearly everyone an A, but what does that matter?

    Congratulations. Now you can fake it with the best of them. Of course, to get really good at it, you'll need a Ph.D., but one class is probably enough for posing as a member of the literati on the internet.
  • a valuable guide to discourse
    2005-03-07 23:53:33  poboxbot [View]

    You missed my point, flwombat. When a published writer throws around such terminology, you'd expect he would know from where he speaks. Such things are their 'bread and butter,' as they say.

    As for the other, I'm suggesting hubris because Doctorow hasn't earned it: He's a new writer and he's never done anything (to date) even approaching the level of Card's "Ender's Game" or even Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" (which I don't regard as any great thing).

    To put it another way: If you talk smack on the court and then play a bad game, you shouldn't expect people to take you seriously.
    • a valuable guide to discourse
      2005-03-08 04:49:14  oddjohn [View]

      The first few lines of the Wikipedia entry on deconstruction (not to mention the whole article) are enlightening regarding this subject. I'm sure it grates on the nerves of someone who loves (ick) Derrida, but deconstruction has come to have a looser accepted meaning.

      Maybe someday, in a better world where humanities professors are philosopher-kings, Derrida scholars can put a copyright on the word, so it can't be carelessly used by the unwashed ignorant masses.