Post-Modernism Generator

Bullshit-writing made easy

We had great discussion about linguistic bullshit over the last few weeks, and here’s something else you might like.

This is an essay produced automatically by the Postmodernism Generator. It’s completely meaningless.

Read it (or don’t) and enjoy.  If you need to impress a bunch of empty-headed pseuds or pretentious academics, and you’d like to generate your own meaningless post-modernist essay, go HERE.

Why not also have a look at the Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator and the Artist Statement Generator.


The cultural paradigm of expression in the works of Mapplethorpe

Catherine de Selby
Department of English, University of Illinois

Jean-Michel T. McElwaine
Department of Future Studies, Stanford University

1. Consensuses of stasis

“Society is intrinsically unattainable,” says Derrida. Several narratives concerning precapitalist socialism exist. Thus, in Vineland, Pynchon affirms the cultural paradigm of expression; in The Crying of Lot 49 he reiterates postdialectic libertarianism.

The characteristic theme of the works of Pynchon is a mythopoetical reality. The cultural paradigm of expression holds that narrativity is used to oppress the Other. In a sense, Debord uses the term ‘postdialectic libertarianism’ to denote not deconstruction, but neodeconstruction.

If one examines the cultural paradigm of expression, one is faced with a choice: either reject precapitalist socialism or conclude that reality comes from the masses. Lacan promotes the use of the modernist paradigm of discourse to deconstruct outdated perceptions of sexual identity. It could be said that if postdialectic libertarianism holds, we have to choose between postcultural sublimation and Sontagist camp.

The subject is contextualised into a postdialectic libertarianism that includes reality as a totality. Therefore, the primary theme of Pickett’s[1] model of semiotic theory is the difference between society and language.

The subject is interpolated into a precapitalist socialism that includes truth as a whole. But Lacan uses the term ‘postdialectic libertarianism’ to denote the role of the writer as observer.

Tilton[2] suggests that we have to choose between dialectic capitalism and the precapitalist paradigm of reality. Therefore, if precapitalist socialism holds, the works of Fellini are postmodern.

The subject is contextualised into a cultural paradigm of expression that includes consciousness as a paradox. It could be said that Derrida uses the term ‘cultural neodialectic theory’ to denote the stasis of textual class.

2. Fellini and postdialectic libertarianism

“Reality is impossible,” says Sontag; however, according to Drucker[3] , it is not so much reality that is impossible, but rather the paradigm, and some would say the defining characteristic, of reality. Lacan suggests the use of the structuralist paradigm of narrative to read class. However, Sartre’s analysis of postdialectic libertarianism implies that consciousness is capable of significance.

Foucault promotes the use of precapitalist socialism to challenge class divisions. In a sense, the subject is interpolated into a postdialectic libertarianism that includes art as a reality.

Debord uses the term ‘precapitalist socialism’ to denote not discourse per se, but prediscourse. Therefore, Pickett[4] holds that we have to choose between subtextual desublimation and cultural rationalism.

Baudrillard uses the term ‘the cultural paradigm of expression’ to denote the role of the poet as reader. It could be said that the main theme of the works of Eco is the rubicon, and subsequent collapse, of neocapitalist society.

3. Realities of futility

“Sexual identity is part of the collapse of culture,” says Foucault. The subject is contextualised into a postdialectic libertarianism that includes sexuality as a whole. In a sense, a number of narratives concerning a self-justifying reality may be revealed.

In the works of Eco, a predominant concept is the distinction between without and within. If precapitalist socialism holds, we have to choose between the cultural paradigm of expression and the conceptualist paradigm of consensus. However, the subject is interpolated into a postdialectic libertarianism that includes art as a paradox.

The primary theme of Sargeant’s[5] model of subtextual desituationism is the role of the participant as observer. The cultural paradigm of expression suggests that culture, somewhat ironically, has intrinsic meaning, given that the premise of precapitalist socialism is valid. It could be said that Debord suggests the use of the cultural paradigm of expression to modify and deconstruct society.

The subject is contextualised into a precapitalist socialism that includes art as a totality. Therefore, Foucault promotes the use of postdialectic libertarianism to attack outmoded, elitist perceptions of language.

Sontag’s critique of posttextual appropriation states that the Constitution is fundamentally elitist. It could be said that the characteristic theme of the works of Stone is not, in fact, theory, but neotheory.

Postdialectic libertarianism suggests that art may be used to reinforce capitalism. But Bataille uses the term ‘the cultural paradigm of expression’ to denote the fatal flaw, and some would say the absurdity, of capitalist sexual identity.

In Platoon, Stone affirms precapitalist socialism; in JFK, however, he deconstructs the postcultural paradigm of consensus. Therefore, the main theme of von Ludwig’s[6] essay on precapitalist socialism is the role of the poet as writer.

Wilson[7] states that we have to choose between postdialectic libertarianism and constructivist narrative. In a sense, Marx suggests the use of the pretextual paradigm of context to read society.

4. The cultural paradigm of expression and capitalist discourse

“Class is used in the service of hierarchy,” says Baudrillard. If precapitalist socialism holds, we have to choose between Marxist class and neocultural socialism. Thus, the primary theme of the works of Eco is the bridge between society and narrativity.

“Society is part of the collapse of reality,” says Bataille; however, according to Abian[8] , it is not so much society that is part of the collapse of reality, but rather the meaninglessness, and eventually the collapse, of society. Lacan’s analysis of capitalist discourse holds that language is capable of intentionality. It could be said that the example of the semiotic paradigm of expression which is a central theme of Eco’s The Limits of Interpretation (Advances in Semiotics) is also evident in The Name of the Rose, although in a more mythopoetical sense.

Capitalist discourse suggests that context is a product of the collective unconscious, given that culture is equal to language. Thus, Sontag uses the term ‘postcultural theory’ to denote not sublimation as such, but subsublimation.

The premise of precapitalist socialism states that sexuality serves to disempower minorities. Therefore, the characteristic theme of Brophy’s[9] essay on capitalist discourse is a postdialectic reality.

Any number of deconstructions concerning cultural neomaterialist theory exist. It could be said that in Foucault’s Pendulum, Eco examines the cultural paradigm of expression; in The Limits of Interpretation (Advances in Semiotics) he reiterates Batailleist `powerful communication’.

An abundance of appropriations concerning the economy, and some would say the meaninglessness, of dialectic class may be found. But the failure, and hence the economy, of precapitalist socialism intrinsic to Eco’s The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas emerges again in The Limits of Interpretation (Advances in Semiotics).

5. Eco and presemioticist socialism

If one examines capitalist discourse, one is faced with a choice: either accept the cultural paradigm of expression or conclude that the State is intrinsically meaningless, but only if precapitalist socialism is invalid; if that is not the case, Sontag’s model of capitalist discourse is one of “the textual paradigm of context”, and thus part of the stasis of art. Many narratives concerning precapitalist socialism exist. Therefore, Porter[10] implies that we have to choose between the cultural paradigm of expression and subdialectic materialism.

The primary theme of the works of Pynchon is a self-supporting whole. But the subject is interpolated into a patriarchial postmaterialist theory that includes sexuality as a reality.

In Gravity’s Rainbow, Pynchon examines the cultural paradigm of expression; in The Crying of Lot 49, however, he analyses capitalist discourse. Thus, the characteristic theme of Brophy’s[11] model of cultural neocapitalist theory is the failure, and eventually the meaninglessness, of patriarchialist narrativity.


1. Pickett, Z. S. (1989) The Genre of Consciousness: Precapitalist socialism in the works of Fellini. Loompanics

2. Tilton, R. ed. (1997) Neopatriarchialist deconstruction, the cultural paradigm of expression and Marxism. Oxford University Press

3. Drucker, L. K. (1989) The Expression of Futility: The cultural paradigm of expression and precapitalist socialism. Yale University Press

4. Pickett, M. A. D. ed. (1997) Precapitalist socialism in the works of Eco. Panic Button Books

5. Sargeant, B. T. (1976) The Stasis of Class: The cultural paradigm of expression in the works of Stone. Cambridge University Press

6. von Ludwig, D. E. K. ed. (1989) Precapitalist socialism and the cultural paradigm of expression. O’Reilly & Associates

7. Wilson, F. (1972) The Economy of Narrative: Precapitalist socialism in the works of Eco. Schlangekraft

8. Abian, P. E. B. ed. (1990) The cultural paradigm of expression and precapitalist socialism. O’Reilly & Associates

9. Brophy, E. C. (1976) The Expression of Defining characteristic: Precapitalist socialism and the cultural paradigm of expression. Loompanics

10. Porter, Q. ed. (1984) Precapitalist socialism in the works of Pynchon. Schlangekraft

11. Brophy, Z. O. B. (1978) Consensuses of Fatal flaw: The cultural paradigm of expression, Marxism and Foucaultist power relations. And/Or Press

129 thoughts on “Post-Modernism Generator

  1. This is rubbish. You could make a “generator” for any specialist discipline. Imagine one that applied medical terms arbitrarily. To a layman it would, in fact, resemble a medical paper.

    One of these was actually created for Noam Chomsky (no, not Chomsky the leftie, Chomsky the linguist). Its called the Chomskybot and it mimics his linguistic writings.

    While I’m sure it was created as a cheap character assasination attempt on Chomsky, it proves something quite nicely. Are we to assume that because some idiot programmer can put together a device that generates nonsensical texts similar to Chomsy’s linguistic writings that generative grammar is rubbish?

    Well, if such is the case then I think its time to tell all the special needs and language teachers as well as proffesional translators that they’ve been tricked. That training they receive? Those textbooks? All lies. [Folds arms and sits back smug and content]

  2. You really should be careful with that stuff, Bock. You don’t know where it’s been.

    I defy anyone to read the entirety of that piece and not feel as if their brains were dribbling out their ears.

  3. Be wary, Bock, you might find yourself in strange company, the Pope doesn’t like postmodernism either!

  4. Phil — It isn’t aimed at specialist disciplines. It’s aimed at people who talk shit.

    Claire — It’s an all-purpose bullshit generator. Isn’t it great?

    Ian — The Pope, like Hitler, isn’t wrong about everything.

    What time is it Adolf?
    Six o’clock.

  5. surprised no-one else has mentioned it, but the text is doubled.

    reminds me of a piece of code I debugged recently. in my own terminology, it used abstract classes, factory patterns all over the place and refactoring to the point of illegibility. I stripped out most of the crud and was left with a single-file solution with just a little loop in it.

    in layman’s terms, the code was too fucking bureaucratic. instead of just building a wall (for example), it would assign a different worker to every brick, and then say “wall: build thyself”, at which point all the workers would put the bricks into the right places. one worker would have been enough, with a simple loop.

  6. Whoops… I posted that second one because the first didn’t go up. You can scratch that if you want – its a repetition.

    Bock – Its not aimed at people who talk rubbish, as the title suggests its aimed at a particular philosophical movement which emerged in the late 50s and early 60s. You can tell this by the authors that are “quoted”. Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, Baudrillard, Eco etc. Just like the Chomskybot its target specific – and just like the Chomskybot, its dumb.

  7. Here`s the thing. The more shit you talk or write, the more money you make. You can`t sell a book without a filler. 90% of all books, articles and especially journalism, could be cut down by 50%. But that wouldn’t do. They would not be able to sell them for as much, and their margins would go out the window. So they fill them up with shit and teach people to write shit, like that idiotic pseudo intellectualism above. Every few years or so they are exposed for what they are. We need to expose a few more useless people (besides the politicians).
    Take the self motivation bullshit. There is tons of it. Now we also have corporate image consultants etc.etc..etc…
    It`s time for a quantum paradigm, interrelational, diversification shift, up their own holes……

  8. @ Down and out in Ireland

    I assume that you’re not a working journalist. Most news stories are extremely condensced – you try and tell a story and contextualise it in 2-400 words. If anything longer stories would be favourable; then the background could be explained better and multiple viewpoints could be taken. If you try and cut them up any more than they already are you’ll end up with… well… Fox News. Opinion, not journalism. If you want 50% less news-type there’s some great papers in Ireland that can accomadate – the Sun, the Star…

  9. Bock – point of information: I am infallible. So ‘not always wrong’ doesn’t quite come up to the mark.

    Your ring is progressing nicely. They’re getting quite inventive down there.

  10. Feck! So that’s what the feckers have been doing. It’s no wonder the planet has so many plonkers calling the shots.

  11. Phil.. re: ” Are we to assume that generative linguistics is a hoax? Or we to assume that some people prefer being smart asses to learning something of value?” I don’t know, you tell me? Who’s the smart ass and what’s of value.. all relative isn’t it?
    I take it you are referring to the idiot programmers as being the smart asses.
    Well they’ve taught me something of value, have a natural affinity to generate horseshit or get it from a computer programme but it’s still horsehit. Call it horse manure if you’d prefer.

  12. The mention of linguistics is an irrelevant distraction. These posts are about meaningless, pretentious language, intended to mystify and exclude.

  13. Bock – Yes they did: “The more shit you talk or write, the more money you make. You can`t sell a book without a filler. 90% of all books, articles and especially journalism, could be cut down by 50%.”

    FME – Everythings of relative value? What are you going on about? Then you go on to call something horseshit, by which I assume you mean “of lesser value”.

    Yes, I’m calling the programmers smart-asses – and anyone who takes them seriously because they’re too lazy to actually try and figure out what certain things mean. “I don’t understand it – therefore I will laugh at this stupid computer program to assure myself that it is un-understandable…”.

    Bock 2 – The mention of linguistics isn’t an irrelevant distraction. My point is that maybe… just maybe… the point of the complicated language ISN’T to mystify and exclude but to convey something that couldn’t be conveyed in conventional language. I mentioned linguistics because some half-eductaed code-monkey made a similar program “lampooning” Chomskyian linguistics. My point is that these programmes are a cheap shot at something that people don’t understand, don’t try and understand and so instead of trying to understand it they just slag it off in a pseudo-sophisticated way. Which is perfectly in keeping with my definition of a “smart-ass”.

  14. The mention of linguistics is irrelevant, unless you want these posts to be about something else.

    These posts are about mystification and pseudo-intellectual nonsense. What did you think they were about?

  15. Bock – Right… and my point is that maybe the complex language isn’t just there to “trick” people. Maybe its there because these are specialist disciplines and – like linguistics, or any other specialist discipline for that matter – require a specialised language which needs training before it is legible.

  16. I’m no stranger to specialist disciplines, and I know where specialist language belongs: in its box.

    This post isn’t about jargon, which has a place in every discipline. It’s, as I already said, about mystification and exclusion.

  17. Bock – So, right. You agree that specialist disciplines require specialist language. Your original post was about a lecture in a specialist discipline which was not targeted at a general audience (which you’ll recall I said was rubbish – though I never said it was mystification; in fact the meaning of the latter half of the intro was quite an unusual point which, however, was, in my opinion, rubbish). So who’s excluding who and who’s mystifying what? I mean if this stuff were being printed on bus timetables I’d understand, but its confined to universities… you know, where it belongs.

  18. Sorry. What was my original post about again, in your opinion?

    I thought it was about bullshit pseudo language. Was I wrong?

  19. Your original post – in my opinion – was about a lecture by a professor being presented in bullshit pseudo-language.

    As I pointed out there: yes, you were wrong. The language is completely coherent once you know how to read it (like any specialist discipline). I also said that I thought what the guy was actually SAYING was certainly bullshit – but that’s irrelevant. (A physicist could “prove” in the mathematical language of physics that the world will end in the year 2012. His colleagues could disagree and even ridicule what he’s saying. That wouldn’t mean that the language he said it in was bullshit).

  20. ” Everythings of relative value? What are you going on about? Then you go on to call something horseshit, by which I assume you mean “of lesser value”.

    What part don’t you understand Phil.. relative meaning comparative to your subjective interpretation and mine. I don’t mean horse shit as in lesser value. I mean horse shit as in horse shit. Some could treasure that kind of BS.. Like I said.. call it horse manure if you prefer. Not my cup of tea to be honest but there is a pretentious , unnecessary, over complication of language used by some to appear more intelligent than others, when the opposite is the truth.

  21. Phil — I think you’re engaging in mystification yourself now. There isn’t an impressive-sounding mathematics and a simplified mathematics. It’s just mathematics: a symbolic representation of logic. If a mathematician made up terminology to sound more impressive without adding to his meaning, he’d be laughed at, just as I laugh at the charlatan who wrote that inflated nonsense.

  22. FME – Its not “not your cup of tea”. You just don’t understand it. I wonder if you’d call Szahili “horse shit” because you can’t understand it…

    Bock – Now you’re just evading the issue. The language is coherent and you don’t understand it – simple as.

    Now if you want to go on a tangeant about mathematics and physics I’ll be glad to accomodate. There is in fact a simplified mathematics – its called arithmetic – and more complicated mathematics – such as certain types of algebra.

    Here’s another interesting point regarding maths: when the infinitesmal calculus was invented by Leibniz it was laughed at. Philosophers and mathematicians – including the eminent Irishman George Berkeley – said it was pretentious nonsense which made no sense. They thought it was essentially meaningless and inapplicable to reality – a made up language with no bearing on anything. Come the early 19th century it was being used in the engineering of steam engines. So, no, even in the field of mathematics and physics there are people who accuse novel theories of being pseudo-sophisticated toss – and they’re experts. You’re not an expert and you’ve qualified a professors language as meaningless because you don’t understand it… arrogant much?

    (Here’s a link, it’s an interesting perspective of how certain theories are formed and criticised: There’s plenty of other instances of this – Galileo being one…)

  23. Phil — You brought up mathematics, not me, but if you want to discuss maths, I’m your man. However, from your factually incorrect statement that arithmetic is a simplified form of mathematics, I suspect it just isn’t your area.

    Is it your area? Your little lecture on calculus is entirely incorrect. Having overlooked Newton’s concurrent development of calculus along with Leibniz, you perhaps were unaware that he used it in formulating his gravitational and orbit theories in the 17th century.

    Your comment looks suspiciously like an attempt to blind me with waffle.

    This post, and I’ll say it again, is about people writing shit when they could express themselves more clearly.

    Are you trying to tell me what I should write about?

  24. Am I trying to tell you what to write about? Should I answer that?

    No, I’m not a mathematician – and you’ll note I don’t trash certain theories therein. However, the example I gave clearly indicates a theory being thought of as nonsensical by many at the time and then becoming accepted. Is this not directly relevent to the discussion?

  25. I’m aware Newton developed modes of calculus at the same time. But will you not admit that calculus was trashed by many at the time? The link I posted above clearly shows this. Here’s another:

    “The use of infinitesimal quantities in early calculus was not proven to be rigorous, and was fiercely criticized by a number of authors, most notably Michel Rolle and Bishop Berkeley. Several mathematicians, including Maclaurin, attempted to prove the soundness of using infinitesimals, but it would be 150 years later, due to the work of Cauchy and Weierstrass, where a means was finally found to avoid mere “notions” of infinitely small quantities, that the foundations of differential and integral calculus were made firm. In his work Weierstrass formalized the concept of limit which eliminated the need for infinitesimals. Eventually due to the work of Weierstrass, it became common to base calculus on limits instead of infinitesimal quantities. The name “infinitesimal calculus” was commonly applied to it.”

  26. Berkeley’s argument concerned the correctness of the theory, not the way Newton expressed it.

    This post is not about theories. It’s about people expressing themselves badly for no reason.

  27. Bock – Back to the Newton thing for a moment. Yes, he seems to have been concerned with its applicability to natural phenomena at the time. But this was not the issue for either Leibniz or many others. For them it was completely abstract. Here’s a quote from Whitehead’s “Introduction to Mathematics”:

    “The idea of the rate of change was certainly in Newton’s mind, and was embodied in the language in which he explained the subject. It may be doubted, however, whether this point of view, derived from natural phenomena was ever much in the minds of the preceding mathematicians who prepared the subject for its birth. They were concerned with the more abstract problems of drawing tangeants to curves, of finding the lenghts of the curves, and of finding the areas enclosed by curves.” (P. 221)

    No wonder then that Berkeley’s criticisms of the “ghosts of departed quantities” were so effective. In concerning themselves with abstract problems with no firm foundations the mathematician left themselves open to accusations that they were talking nonsense.

    Now Berkeley’s criticism went further than simply the foundations of the infinitesmal calculus. He was criticising these men on a theological basis. He accuses them of using their high-flying academic language and mathematical logic to speak of things they know nothing about:

    “Though I am a Stranger to your Person, yet I am not, Sir, a Stranger to the Reputation
    you have acquired, in that branch of Learning which hath been your peculiar Study; nor to
    the Authority that you therefore assume in things foreign to your Profession, nor to the
    Abuse that you, and too many more of the like Character, are known to make of such undue
    Authority, to the misleading of unwary Persons in matters of the highest Concernment, and
    whereof your mathematical Knowledge can by no means qualify you to be a competent Judge.” (P: 1)

    The question was one of using abstract ideas – or, more particularly, the newly created abstract language of the infinitesmal calculus – to speak about issues (specifically theological issues) in an abstract way. Berkeley’s criticism was essentally that in doing so they were not making any sense – at all. What they were saying – according to Berkeley – was meaningless.

    You accuse the Trinity lecturer of making no sense too. You say that he is obfuscating ideas and lending weight to them by appealing to a meaningless language – just like Berkeley said of the mathematicians. The difference between you and Berkeley? Berkeley understood the language of the mathematicians and could criticise them on their own terms. You quite literally have no idea what you’re talking about. You claim that the Prof’s language is meaningless because… well, because you assume it is. Bad faith. A simple case of bad faith.

  28. Phil — You’re elevating the language in that email to the status of rigorous mathematics.

    It isn’t. It’s just mangled English. As I said already, if Bertrand Russell could explain relativity in plain words, it shouldn’t be beyond the wit and imagination of a postoctoral research fellow in drama to explain himself clearly. (He isn’t a professor, incidentally).

    I know puffed-up waffle when I see it.

    Don’t be surprised if that text wins this year’s Golden Bull award.

  29. I never elevated it to the status of mathematics. I simply pointed out that even that eminent science can fall to similar criticisms at certain points in time.

    It isn’t just mangled English. It makes perfect sense to me – and to many others. You’re just reading it in bad faith – that’s what’s really the issue here.

    When you make points like “Russell could explain relativity in plain English”, you’re just asking for a tangeant. That’s a soundbite. Perfect for a TV debate. The real situation is far more complex than that.

    Did Russell explain the ins and outs of relativity in plain English or did he debase the theory by over-simplifying? Did he point out the problematic points within that theory? Are Russell’s writings only clear because they contain logical errors and theoretical omissions? If not then why did Whitehead find it neccesary to create a more fantastical philosophical system? Etc. etc.

    Russell’s explanation – like Einstein’s book on the topic – was a popularisation. I could popularise that chap’s lecture if you want – but that would hardly capture its essence.

  30. Look, this is going around in circles. Do you believe there’s such a thing as waffle in academic life, business or the arts, or do you not?

  31. Yes, of course I believe that there is a danger for ANY academic laguage to slip into waffle.

    (Here’s an example by which even Einstein was tricked: ) – bad link… fixed.

    But I completely disagree that the language being employed is meaningless. Academic waffle is the result of not meaningless language, but: (a) arrogance, (b) logical fallacy or (c) dogmatism and an unwillingness to consider alternatives. If you want to expose these walk the corridors of our universities – both the humanties corridors and those of the sciences. If you want genuinely meaningless language, visit a psyche ward.

  32. You believe waffle exists.

    Good. That’s what these posts are about.

    As regards meaningless language, I can’t think of a better example than physics professor Alan Sokal’s hoax article published by the postmodern cultural studies journal, Social Text.

    Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity was unmitigated bullshit from beginning to end, and deliberately written as such by Sokal, in the language of post-modernism. It was a response to humanities academics using the language of science to add spurious authority to their arguments.

    Sokal wanted to find out if such a distinguished journal would publish a piece “liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.”

    It would and it did publish, without peer review, causing a huge uproar when Sokal revealed what he had done.

    Sokal described his article as a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense. He said that he had structured the article around the silliest quotations could find about mathematics and physics that had been uttered by humanities academics. Often, as you know, people are inclined to make references to physics and mathematics without knowing what they are talking about, because it sounds impressive and can sometimes intimidate an opponent into silence.

    Sokal stated that in addition to nonsense, illogicalities and irrelevancies, the article contained “syntactically correct sentences that have no meaning whatsoever”, and he wished he had been able to come up with more of them.

    Luckily, he now has the Post-modernism generator to help him, if he would like to have another go.

  33. Sokal is a perfect example of the type of disingeous smart-ass that I’m trying to discredit. I suspect that not being up to the task of making a name for himself in his own field he attacked another. Sokal is a petty man, a poor excuse for an academic, a childish neurotic and a trouble-maker for whom I hold othing but scorn.

    You see this kind of thing happens in every field – including Sokal’s own. Look, here’s a lesser known affair:

    Now does that affair show that the peer-review system broke down due to laziness and incompetency or does it show that theoretical physics is meaningless nonsense? That’s not a rhetorical question.

    So why don’t we hear people from the humanities heaping scorn on theoretical physics? I think its because – despite what some might say – they don’t have their heads jammed up their arses. A lot of physicists and mathematicians – usually second rate ones with an ax to grind, like Sokal – think they’re better than everyone else. They don’t like others having speciliaist languages that they can’t understand because it wounds their egos.

  34. Apart from the ad hominem remarks about Sokal, do you have anything substantial to say about the fact that the journal published an article that was utter nonsense?

    Also, when you say that your question isn’t rhetorical, should I take it that you consider theoretical physics to be meaningless nonsense? If so, that would be an example of somebody from the humanities heaping scorn, as you put it.

    Anyway, as I keep repeating in the hope of being heard, this post isn’t about post-modernism. It’s about bullshit.

    Also two points from earlier. You seem to be equating clear language with simplistic language. And you have made repeated reference to my criticisms of that Trinity academic’s lecture. If you look back through these posts, you’ll notice that I have said nothing at all about the content of his lecture.

  35. nice!

    particularly like this quote from one of the Bogdanov thesis readers, defending it:
    “All these were ideas that could possibly make sense. It showed some originality and some familiarity with the jargon. That’s all I ask.”

    and that kind of says it all… if you know the words and can vaguely make sense, then people will be fooled.

    another thesis reader added this: “The scientific language was just an appearance behind which hid incompetence and ignorance of even basic physics.”

    market-speak for physicists?

  36. I don’t know if this is true or not. Perhaps Phil can confirm it or otherwise.

    Luce Irigaray, an eminent cultural theorist, is said to have denounced Einstein’s equation E=mC² for being sexist.

    Is E=Mc² a sexed equation? Perhaps it is. Let us make the hypothesis that it is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us. What seems to me to indicate the possible sexed nature of the equation is not directly its uses by nuclear weapons, rather it is having privileged that which goes faster.

    Irigaray has also given the world the magnificent, and meaningless, fake-scientific phrase “accelerations without electromagnetic rebalancing” when criticising Einstein’s sexist physics.

    Not content with that, she has demonstrated an impressive ignorance of engineering science by also denouncing the mechanics of solids in the following piece of self-important nonsense:

    The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, she attributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids. Although men, too, flow on occasion — when semen is emitted, for example — this aspect of their sexuality is not emphasized. It is the rigidity of the male organ that counts, not its complicity in fluid flow. These idealizations are reinscribed in mathematics, which conceives of fluids as laminated planes and other modified solid forms.

    So much for people from the humanities not heaping scorn on science.

  37. reminds me of certain trolls that comment on the New Scientist blog, and who I used to argue with at alt.atheism back when I used to use Usenet.

    Unrelatedly, we did a job here in the office recently where we spent six months consulting with her and building up her vision of what she needed from us (web design).

    We were finished. Then she brought in her “mentor”.

    I don’t know how much experience you all have with business “mentors”. My own experience so far is that they’re the type of people that read hypnotism books and new-age nonsense. She was on about certain colours affecting potential clients certain ways, and how certain words “felt” wrong.

    I fucking despise people that get their money by appearing more intelligent or experienced than other people. Anyone with an iota of critical thought would be able to smash this rubbish to pieces, yet the client wanted the website rebuilt. I am /certain/ it’s a self-confidence thing. confident people appear to know better, so less-confident people trust them.

    as I said – market-speak. If you know the lingo and you speak it proficiently, people will pay, even if they don’t understand what the fuck you’re on about (even if you’re not on about anything)

  38. It’s a spurious argument to say that a theory makes sense because the specialists understand their own jargon.

    After all, theologians understand each other too, but they’re still talking nonsense. Stuff we made up.

  39. Bock – Yes, I did say something substantial – that this happens in other disciplines, including Sokal’s own (you’re remarkably adept at ignoring certain parts of my posts Mr. Bock). I also argued (again ignored) that both cases were likely cases of bad/lazy peer-review. But hey, that’s just me taking people generally in good faith – rather than, you know, slagging off anything I don’t understand.

    Again, no, I didn’t say that theoretical physics is meaningless. I suggest you stop reading what you want to read in my posts and read what they actually say – although this does show your readiness to jump to conclusions without thinking things through properly… I can’t say that I’m surprised (read the question again, serioiusly, read it again). What I actually said – and repeated above – was that the Bognodov affair, like the Sokal affair was down to lazy editorial work. This happens in EVERY field.

  40. Haha… I think you might be taking something Irigaray is saying seriously when she is, in fact, being ironic. Lacan (whose work Irigaray’s is based on) said in one of his texts that the Phallus is the equivalent to the square root of negative one. Its sort of a joke – an in-joke, mind you… but a joke.

    You can take a joke, right?

  41. Phil — If you check, you’ll see that I asked you the question for clarification. I didn’t say that was what you believed, any more than I argued in favour of simplistic language, or criticising FW’s lecture or any of the other things you read into what I wrote.

    This bit I’ll just have to copy and paste again since it doesn’t seem to be sinking in: the post is not about post-modernism It’s about bullshit. You seem very resistant to accepting that.

    Could you confirm or or otherwise the quotes I attributed to Luce Irigaray as they seem very pertinent to the points you made at 36, and which I’m trying to address.

    I suspect I may have hit a nerve by using the post-modernism nonsense generator as an example, but I suppose if I had used the science jargon generator, I’d have an upset physicist raging at me instead.

  42. Yes. I understand that it’s normal to plead irony when challenged about ludicrous statements.

  43. Read my question again. If you do you’ll note that it was directed at you. It was not rhetorical because I wanted you to answer it. No, you misread it and then tried to score a cheap rhetorical point.

    It is about bullshit. But you’re using as an example something you don’t understand. Something you’re taking in bad faith. This is what I’m arguing – and I’d argue the same thing if you took any other discipline as your example.

  44. Once again you take me in bad faith. I promise you – she is being ironic. Hand on my heart – she is being ironic.

    She’s claiming that science uses metaphors derived from ideas connected to masculinity. Then she’s waxing ironic about these metaphors. She’s not actually saying that science is in any way invalid due to these metaphors being used. Take it with a pinch of salt.

  45. First of all, no, she said that E = MC2 priveleges that which goes faster. The “faster” part is the part she would refer to as “metaphor”. Here metaphor is not to be understood in its usual usage – rather it is to be understood as it is used in Roman Jakobson’s linguistic theories. Jakobson believes that what he defines as metaphor and metonymy are the two fundamental structures in any functioning linguistic system:

    You see, you need to be familiar with the material. But you insist on taking it in bad faith. Its arrogant.

  46. What’s arrogant are your constant accusations of bad faith.

    The equation doesn’t do anything. It just is. It’s a statement of a relationship between two variables, without any overtones of intent on the part of the man who wrote it down. It carries no hidden meanings, no innuendos and no bias.

    Now, like the broken record, I’ll return to my mantra. Does the passage quoted in this post make sense to you?

  47. But you are taking the authors in bad faith. You’re assuming that what they’re saying is bullshit without understanding it properly… what else would you call this but bad faith?

    As I said, the Einstein thing is ironic. Considering you run a satirical website I thought a satirical jab a relativity theory wouldn’t cause you so much anxiety.

    Yes, the passage makes perfect sense, although as I said, I wouldn’t take this particular passage too seriously.

  48. Here fuck it – I’ll explain it before this goes any further:

    In E = MC2 the C stands for the speed of light in a vacuum. The speed of light is taken to be a constand (like pi in other equations). Giving this unit constancy turns it from a variable unit into a privileged unit – as it remains identical no matter what amount of mass or energy we are dealing with.

    The joke stems from this. She says that Einstein priveleges “that which goes faster”. No, maybe its not very funny – but it makes sense (insofar as jokes actually make any sense…).

  49. The passage makes sense? Are you kidding?

    The passage at the top of this post makes sense to you?

  50. Sorry, no. The Irigaray passage makes sense.

    The one generated by the program doesn’t make sense – as I already said the function of that is for ignorant people to get a cheap laugh at a set of ideas they don’t understand; nothing more, nothing less…

  51. This is what I said in the post:

    If you need to impress a bunch of empty-headed pseuds or pretentious academics, and you’d like to generate your own meaningless post-modernist essay, use the PMG.

    You’ll notice it doesn’t say anything about sensible, modest, unpretentious academics. I’m sure you’ll agree that the meaningless essay churned out by the PMG would impress the kind of people mentioned, and gain you kudos in some circles.

    You see, even if I said that Post-Modernism was self-referential, pompous horseshit, it would only be an ironic metaphor. What I’d really mean is that it’s a rigorous, evidence-driven discipline, based on verifiable and repeatable observation, without which civilisation would not be able to survive.

    Was it just the PMG you objected to, or did you dislike the Art critique generator and the Artist Statement generator as well?

  52. What I objected to (I’ve said this a few times now) is you criticising something you know nothing about (a heinous crime when other people do it if one is to believe some of your previous blog posts). If you had found any other dumbass program for any other academic discipline (say, the Chomskybot) I would have criticised you just as much.

    A wise man once said that when one feels the sting of sarcasm in an argument it’s as good as dead. I wonder if this one were ever alive.

  53. You know what I’ll have to do? I’ll write up a program generating value-free non-aligned non-ideological cant.

    It will be open-source horseshit that anyone can use without a licence. The ideal mystification tool.

  54. Or you could try and understand certain ideas instead of arbitrarily criticising them. But then, who am I to tell you how to spend your time?

  55. As I already said, Phil, thirty five times, this post isn’t about post-modernism.

    It isn’t always about you, you know.

  56. It isn’t always about me? No, I won’t go there…

    I never said it was about post-modernism (although discussions often lead on to deal with subject matter dealt with in, or implied by the original statement – you should take note of this, it might improve your conversation skills) – for the thirty-sixth time its about getting cheap laughs at ideas you don’t understand.

    (37) Cheap laughs at ideas you don’t understand.

    (38) Cheap laughs at ideas you don’t understand.

    (39) Cheap…

  57. Phil : RE comment 25
    “FME – Its not “not your cup of tea”. You just don’t understand it. I wonder if you’d call Szahili “horse shit” because you can’t understand it…” I take it you mean Swahili language.. and not some dead linguist.

    Phil, you say tomato, I say horsehit.. you say potato I say horsehit..
    We’re not talking about different languages or different meanings of words within the same language.. We’re talking about BS language. Which part of that don’t you get?

    It’s bad faith thinking horseshit is anything other than horseshit or shit from a horse, or horse manure. You’re making horseshit out to be a five course delectable dinner cause you like the smell.. sorry not my thing. What is it you think I don’t understand exactly? Please tell me?

  58. I’m making horse-shit out to be a five course delectable dinner?

    Jesus, even the Irigaray joke was better than that.

    What’s BS language by the way? I’ve never come across it. I Google it and it comes up “Bosnian Language”. So are we talking about Bosnian language or some arbitrary term you made up? And what’s this horseshit you’re talking about? Are you talking about actual horseshit or should I assume that you’re talking about that lecture in the previous post?

    To be honest, if we want to talk about the use of improper and imprecise language we should really get a study group together over your posts: The word “shit” appears at certain intervals. Syntactically correct, but doesn’t seem to mean anything. Say, you’re not a computer program, are you?

  59. I’m sure there is, my friend. There are many things we don’t understand in this world. Try Google before you wear out my keyboard though.

  60. You remember what you said about Sokal?

    A lot of physicists and mathematicians – usually second rate ones with an ax to grind, like Sokal.

    a poor excuse for an academic

  61. Phil : 62
    It wasn’t making a joke Phil.
    I don’t rely on Google to inform me of everything. BS would mean bullshit. In this case, bad grammar, illogical syntax.. pretentious waffle used by people who are clearly bullshitters. Go google bullshitter if you need to.

    What was your favourite paragraph from the essay above then, tell me?
    Mine was.. (I did read it, it’s meaningless tripe in my opinion)
    “The subject is contextualised into a precapitalist socialism that includes art as a totality. Therefore, Foucault promotes the use of postdialectic libertarianism to attack outmoded, elitist perceptions of language.” What would be elitist perceptions of language Phil? Do tell I’m not quite sure.. just kidding, hahaha.. don’t bother.

  62. And another thing, if only your prized linguists were cunning.. they’d be of some bloody use.

  63. Ok, thanks Bock.. I’m not quite sure what he thinks people don’t understand then. God if only I wasn’t a blonde.

  64. I do. Are you now going to tell me that Sokal just discovered cold fusion?

    Well, if you are I’ll anticipate this and say what I meant:

    He’s a poor excuse for an academic because he has no integrity. He cannot be trusted. By pretending that he was honestly publishing something he thought was true and using his academic credentials he acted in – wait for it – bad faith. If he were in front of a court for this he’d be found guilt-tay!

    He has an ax to grind because he’s a leftist who has certain theories about what “happened to the left” – he spent time in Nicaragua giving free lectures at a university during the Sandinista period. He – like many other questionable characters – thinks the left has been “corrupted”. But instead of being “corrupted” by “reactionaries” they have now been “corrupted” by the “postmodernists”. After coming to the conclusion that some of his colleagues suffer from a bad case of “false consciousness” he thought – like so many jaded lefties before him – that he’d undertake a bit of terrorist activity.

    That’s his ax.

  65. Right, right – that was just an insult; an insult with perhaps some truth, but an insult nonetheless…

    Why are you approaching this so ominously? Are you going to suddenly turn around and reveal some startling truth.

    “Well, Philip… it turns out… your own father was a second-rate physicist and mathematician!!!”

    [Audience gasps]

    This better be good…

  66. Not in the slightest.

    It’s just that you’ve been accusing others of speaking on things they know nothing about.

    And yet here you are, completely unqualified to make such a judgement, dismissing a mathematical physicist as second-rate.

    That’s all.

  67. Goddamn… that’s dissapointing!

    But, yeah, according to Wikipedia the guy has co-authored one book “Random Walks, Critical Phenomena, and Triviality in Quantum Field Theory”. Reception seems to have been lukewarm. I can’t find any reviews on Google and the Amazon page is as deserted as a West Dublin suburb:

    Hmm… seems to be out of print… Perhaps its just an irony that his work is involved with quantum TRIVIALITY… hehehe.

    Anyway, he made his name writing that nonsensical book of his that became fashionable. He destoryed his credibility through his own actions. I suspect he has little of relevence to say.

    An insult; but perhaps one that contains some truth…

  68. So now that we’ve established it isn’t necessary to know anything about the subject, you won’t mind what I say about post-Modernist academics either?

  69. Weak, man… that’s weak…

    It was an off-hand insult and you know it.

    You’ll pull anything before you pull out, won’t you? Here I’ll do you a favour: have the last word, its on me.

  70. Phil, just reading your comments at 52. Luce Irigaray is commenting on a theory that she clearly does not understand, I can see what she is trying to say and its blather

  71. @ Irate Chemist

    As I said it was a joke – most jokes are, in fact blather.

    But are you saying that she didn’t understand E = MC2. The only aspect she was commenting on was that C generally remains a contant (i.e. priveleged unit) in that equation. Are you saying that it does not? Are you saying that in the equation E = MC2 the speed of light in a vacuum is a variable quantity?

    Please elaborate. Don’t just say she doesn’t understand. Explain why she doesn’t understand.

  72. Most jokes are funny.
    She doesn’t seem to understand E=mc², maybe she does but just ignores it’s meaning to fit her own agenda.
    Phil, where did I say the speed of light is a variable? In fact you do seem to think it is, you say it generally remains a constant. What are you talking about? The speed of light does not “generally” remain a constant. It is a physical constant, it doesn’t change.
    I don’t think she understands it because it is a fundamental equation that is based on fact, proposed without prejudice. Yet she is saying, from what I gather, that the use of the speed of light over other speeds is predudicial, that it is somehow a male attribute. Ignoring why it is the speed of light that is used.

  73. You’re right – I shouldn’t have said generally. It is, indeed, a constant.

    She understands – as I do – that it is a fundamental equation based on fact. As I’ve said (four times now?) she is being ironic when she says it is a prejudicial equation. I’ve explained this already but I’ll explain it again – because I’m just that patient and accomodating.

    (1) She says that C is the constant or priveleged element of the equation.

    (2) She says that due to this, the equation favours “that which goes faster”.

    (3) She says that this is a male prejudice. Like when two men compete to run or drive their cars faster than one another while their girlfriends roll their eyes.

    (4) It’s a joke.

    (5) It’s a joke.

    Why do scientists get their knickers in a twist any time “science” is parodied? I guess because “it’s all very serious business, not open for a bit of a piss-take”. I’ll take Irigaray’s feminist irony over dour scientists insiting on seriousness any day – which, before you say it, does not mean that I don’t recognise the prestige of science, simply that to elevate this prestige above humour is quasi-religious and, it must be said, a bit creepy.

  74. Thanks for the explanation Phil but I got what she was saying. I didn’t think it was a joke as it’s not humorous, at all. Is it just me, maybe I am stereotypical scientist, no humour, an automaton.
    It is quite similar to other jokes she makes about fluid mechanics, hard male genitalia and female fluidity in all its glory.
    She seems to have serious issues with Einstein. I think she was genuinely looking for sexual bias in science.
    I’ve just read this extract

    .But, for us, what does this general relativity represent, the one that is the law outside of the nuclear power plants and that questions our bodily inertia, vital necessary condition?

    Is she making serious arguments from a PM feminists perspective or is she making another one of her jokes?

  75. I think the problem might be with your sense of humour… Or that I had to explain the joke – that often kills it. Jokes are only funny when you grasp them intuitively…

    Joke – well, okay its a little more than a joke. She’s saying that these are the associations generally are called up in psychoanalysis (she’s an analyst). Being one of the leading shrinks in France I assume that she gets a lot of intellectuals coming to her with their Daddy issues or whatever. Under free-association some strange things can arise – have a look at some of the general symbolism, some of it’s just wierd (I’ll post some examples if anyone wants). You might start with nuclear physics and end up with semen. That’s just the way it goes.

    Now, before anyone starts giving me their half-informed opinion on whether Freud was a quack or not I’ll say this: I don’t care; psychoanalysis is big in France; Irigaray is a French psychoanalyst who is apparently held in high regard. If you have a bone to pick with psychoanalysis go elsewhere – I’m just highlighting that what Irigiray says is not without meaning.

  76. If you haven’t notice the mistake its general relativity. It has nothing to do with nuclear power plants. I think she means special relativity, she doesn’t know what she is talking about.

  77. “the one that is the law OUTSIDE nuclear power plants”…

    Are you blind, illiterate or are you desperately looking for errors?

  78. And I think here we come to the crux of the issue: bad faith.

    People WANT Irigiray not to know what she’s taking about. They don’t want to establish what is true or not – their motivations are malicious. They – like Sokal – want to “destroy” the postmodernist theorists. And they’ll do anything to succeed – they’ll misread their statements (which one can only do when one assumes that such statements MUST be wrong); they’ll accuse them of nonsense because they don’t (want to) understand what they’re saying; they’ll attack their peer-review system.

    The whole exercise is pathetic. Its a bunch of elitist scientists trying to protect their elite knowledge. That’s what it comes down to really. And that’s why no matter how many times I point this out, not one person will change their mind. Because to do so would be to take a bit of air their over-inflated egos. Good fucking luck doing that. We’ll let history decide.

  79. I admit I rushed the reading of that quote. But the statement is still incorrect. General relativity still incorporates special relativity, which I can safely assume she refers to as the law in nuclear power plants. What does she mean when she says ..and that questions our bodily inertia, vital necessary condition?

    Why are you getting so personal, do you have a chip on your shoulder Phil?

  80. I’m getting personal because this debate is ALWAYS personal. No matter how reasoned and impartial I ever try to be people throw quotes around out of context, call what you’re saying “meaningles” which is extraordinarily insulting and miread things to fit their agenda. Then they mask this all behind some supposed reverence to science. It’s like arguing with a fundamentalist Christian – eventually it gets to you.

    Like just there. You ask me “why I’m getting personal” – I’m not, I’m questioning your motivations because you misread something. Then you make a personal slur at me – you insinuate that I have a “chip on my shoulder”. Go on a fundamentalist Christian site and start an argument about just about anything. You’ll get the same rhetorical tactics and the same sly, underhanded, off-cuff insults.

    To be frank, I don’t know what it means. Because I don’t know where the quote comes from and so I can’t read it in context. Look I can do this with physics quotes:

    “Currently, physicists do not have any evidence that there exists matter for which q is not equal to zero. Nevertheless, it seems important, from a philosophical point of view, to recognize that the same-property interpretation depends not only on what one can derive from the postulates of special relativity, but also on evidence from “outside” this theory.”

    Oh look – this is remarkably difficult to understand because its torn out of context. I’m sure both of us could take a guess at what it means – just like I could take a guess at the Irigaray quote. But then I’d be playing your game which, it seems to me, is geared toward one of two things:

    (1) Trying desperately to find flaws by questioning me on someone elses theories. This I consider a pathetic exercise.

    (2) You’re actually trying to understand Irigaray’s theories. In this case buy a book or look up a website or try a little harder – because I’m not getting paid for this.

  81. Its a debate, don’t take it personal. Do you think that you were not being personal when you asked if I was blind or illiterate? I was not insinuating anything, I was asking you if you had a chip on your shoulder, I was not telling you that you had. As for the slur, you are alone there i’m afraid.
    I didn’t digest that quote and took her out of context, I admitted that. My main argument is that I don’t think she is joking at all, I think she is for real. I’ll read some more and if i’m wrong i’ll recant, but this is my opinion so far.
    I asked you what she meant because I didn’t know either, isn’t that what this post is about?
    I don’t know what “games” you think i’m playing, but do you really think I come to this blog to play games? How about a games section Bock, Tetris?

  82. How am I to take “do you have a chip on your shoulder” if not personally? And don’t dissimulate and say “Oh, it was just a question…”.


    “Are you a retard?” – Is that just a neutral question or a personal slur?

    Again, no… you thought she was serious. Then I pointed out she was joking and you tried to find some other aspect of her theory to pick away at (unsuccesfully of course, but we’ll forget all that…). This is the “game” you’re playing. You’re trying to find flaws in her theories – you’re reading them in bad faith. If you were in front of a court a judge would say exactly what I’m saying:

    “Mr. Chemist. It is this courts contention that you are taking this action in bad faith. The court believes that you are not out seeking truth or justice but have taken offense at something Ms. Irigaray has said and are now launching an attack upon her character. Case dismissed – the plaintiff will pay the defence’s legal fees.”

    Now, if you’re going back to the point about whether she is joking or not, you’ll never be able to figure it out by reading it. She won’t at some point write “Hahaha… gotcha, it was all a big joke!!!”. That’s not how irony works.

    Irigaray is sometimes joking and sometimes not. When she is not joking she is making psychoanalytic interpretations of certain theories – interpretations which often resembles jokes (see: You are taking what she says at face value – that is your mistake. If you continue to do this there is no point in taking your argument seriously. All I can advise you to do is to work on your sense of humour and your feel of irony and double-meaning – read some poetry or something.

  83. Childish Phil, very childish.

    Again, no… you thought she was serious. Then I pointed out she was joking and you tried to find some other aspect of her theory to pick away at (unsuccesfully of course, but we’ll forget all that…).

    So they are theories now, not jokes? Is she making a joke or a serious interpretation? Which is it and how do you know which one it is?
    No, I was pointing out other instances where she was talking shit. As I said above, that quote was still incorrect, even if I did originally take it out of context. As for the “slurs”, you should get down from your high horse, as well as reading my mind you have been jumping down my throat since I added to this thread.
    I’m not taking what she says at face value, I went to the trouble to look around for the source of the quote etc and I have not found one site that comes to the conclusion that she was joking. If Irigaray ever releases a joke book let me know.

  84. What’s childish? Me pointing out that you’re making underhanded slurs? Well child me up. I’d prefer to be a reasonable and accomodating child than someone who insinuates that people have chips on their shoulders (that’s also a psychological judgement, mind you, if I were a little less childish and a little more mature I might sarcastically say that you were trying to “read my mind” – but I guess I’m not mature enough for sarcasm…).

    For the last time: some are theoretical statements – some are meant in irony. The ironic statements themselves are occasionally theoretical in so far as they are psychoanalytical interpretations (read the link I sent you and you’ll understand what I mean by this. Your question “how do you know which one’s are ironic?”. THAT is like something a child would ask. How does anyone know anything is ironic? By a knowledge of the material (psychoanalysis, linguistics etc.), by the tone employed, by the ridiculousness of the assertions… do I have to go on?

    As to your being unable to find anything on Irigaray and irony, you must be fairly inept at using Google. Here are the results that I received by typing in “Postmoderniam and Irony” (Irigaray woulkd have been too specific):

    I’m jumping down your throat because I think you, like many others that have posted, have malicious intentions when reading Irigaray and like authors. I think this because, as I say, you have shown yourself to be desperately seeking flaws in the theories and never taking any of my assertions at face value (how do you know she’s joking, prove it etc.). This is called “acting in bad faith”. If you were in front of a court you’d be laughed out of it – but on the internet, well, there isn’t any rules is there.

    If you really want to talk about childishness this is it: constantly asking questions until you wear your interlocutor down through sheer exhaustion (“why is the sky blue?”, “why do birds fly?”, “how do you know when Irigaray is being ironic?”)

  85. Since my earliest years, hardly a morning has passed without me wondering what I could do to discredit Luce Irigaray. My father was the same. He never ceased plotting her downfall.

    I won’t rest, he used to say, until the whole world knows what a tenuous grasp of relativity that woman has.

  86. Is Bock being ironic? How can I tell? Oh my God this is so frustrating… I’ll do a Google search… nope, nothing for “Bock and irony”… How can I be sure… HOW CAN I BE SUUUUURE?????

    Hang on a minute… Am I being ironic? How can I tell? I’ll do a…

  87. Phil, I don’t think you’ve moved much past Freud’s Phallic stage.. sorry you are a plonker. Want the google link for that? Why is debate always personal? I’ll answer that shall I.. because of your ego.
    Humour is mostly funny when it’s relevant by the way. Irigaray should have stuck to simple psycho babble (oops sorry bad faith coming through) , as any ironic theoretical comparisons to Einstein are nonsensical to the field of psychoanalysis because:

    1) not relevant to each other
    2) not funny
    3) not funny

    Would you like a wikipedia link to explain how irony works? While you’re googling, you might go onto Freud’s next couple of stages in development. Try Erikson too.. you might learn something. (most likely you’ll just acquire some more knowledge though)

  88. FME – You’ve constantly attacked me at a personal level – which indicates that you didn’t develop past the anal-sadistic phase. So, I’ll tell you what I’ll fall back to there for a moment and engage you at your own level:

    You are a monkey-brained fool who cannot articulate himself properly. Your best post so far has been a crude attempt at mimicking me (is there a compliment implicit there?). Before that you just kept saying the word “shit” over and over again (anal stage?).

    Now, I’ll stop playing with my own shit and get back to the phallic stage.

    I know how irony works… I was being ironic. But of course you’re far too stupid to appreciate such a nuance.

    Also I didn’t compare psychoanalysis to Einstein, but they are in fact somewhat relevant to each other. Freud’s drive theories are grounded in pre-Einsteinian physical principles… But we won’t go there because you’re really, really stupid and your head might explode.

  89. Awe shucks Phil, my knees are wobbling here with the thrill of your attention. Too kind of you to take the time to reply.
    I might be at the anal stage, but at least I’m not an asshole.
    If plonker bothers you my friend, you’re in for a tough life.

    And if you know how Irony works, why couldn’t you answer Irate Chemists question on when Irigaray was being Ironic and not.. inside of your stupid slurs towards him on irony.
    Who’s the monkey-brained fool again did you say? Did you say nuance.. I think you meant nuisance.
    “But of course you’re far too stupid to appreciate such a nuisance.” Thank fuck for stupidity then.

  90. FME – Plonker hurt… but those pathetic plays on words… they just finished me. I’ll never be the same… never. After hearing you speak your meaningless drivel I no longer want to live – seriously its meaningless, read what you said again:

    “Did you say nuance.. I think you meant nuisance.”

    Ouch. That’s a killer. Let me try:

    “Did you say nuisance… I think you meant not-very-clever… like you AHAHAHAHA!!!”

    You’re an ape, mate. An ape. A big hairy ape with a small brain. I’m surprised you’ve acquired the ability to type – I really am.

    By the way, I thought Tesco made their full-timers work Saturdays. How’d you get a day off to debate Freud on blogs, anyway? Are you pulling a sickie? You know there’ll be loads of boxes to stack come Monday, right?

  91. Reasonable and accommodating, you are anything but those Phil.

    ?“how do you know which one’s are ironic?”
    Where did you get this quote from? Where did I say this? Not content with reading my mind, putting words in my mouth you are now making up quotes.

    As for the ridiculousness of the statement, it was obvious she wasn’t aware of that at the time. I was not looking for examples of postmodernism and irony, it was specifically wether the statements that she had made were interpreted as “jokes” or serious interpretations, so far you are the only person saying it was a joke. Will I take it that all of her critiques of science are jokes?
    As for the malicious intentions, I was just adding to the debate but it does seem like everyone is out to get you.
    Are you now berating me for not taking you at face value? Forgetting the fact that you were trying to tell me that it was my mistake for taking her at face value at comment 92.
    As for asking questions, whats wrong with that, unless there is something wrong with the answer.

    If I was in court, bad faith…is this the court where you are the judge (as above)?! I don’t have any motives, I have an open mind and formed my own opinion. We are from two different worlds Phil, i’ll stick to my facts and you to your faith.

  92. You asked how do I know that she’s joking, right? I apologise I didn’t quote you verbatim – I’ll try to stick to the facts in future. I should have said “how do you know which one’s are jokes?”. But of course I said that her jokes were ironic, so…

    I maintain that she is joking. You won’t believe me because you don’t want to. I gave you a link which explains that postmodernists often use irony. You still don’t believe me. What can I do? These are the best facts I have…

    For the last time: no one is out to get me, but you do – from your previous arguments – seem intent on taking Irigaray down a notch. You’re picking at her theories. Are you denying this? I’ll openly admit that I’m trying to take scientists who take themselves too seriously down a notch – but I’ll read them in good faith.

  93. Awe sorry Phil.. You no longer want to live. Don’t be saying that. There’s hope, live is good. Hang out at those fundamentalist Christian sites you mentioned a while longer. They’ll sort you out matey.

    How did you know I’m a big hairy ape that acquired the ability to type? It was at a university lab they taught me that I’ll have you know.. come to think of it, my small little brain is remembering some of the stuff you babbled off being taught while I was there.

    mwaaaahhhh Phil.. mwaaaahhhh. Kisses for you.. life is good.

  94. FME – Do you know what the funniest thing about you is? That you’re not remotely funny. That you take other people’s wit, drag it through your own dull mind and spit the remaining husk out the other end.

  95. Why do you keep thinking I’m joking Phil. I really am a big hairy ape that acquired the ability to type..I told you I learned it at Uni.. along with the babble you prattle off.
    Stick to the humour from the likes of Irigaray Phil. It’s a real hoot.

  96. “Are you now berating me for not taking you at face value? Forgetting the fact that you were trying to tell me that it was my mistake for taking her at face value at comment 92.”

    Taking ME at face value (when I’m being sincere) and taking HER at face value (when she’s being ironic) are two entirely different things. Why have you conflated them? To score cheap points? Because you’re genuinely confused? Why?

    And where are the “facts”? What “facts”? I gave some links – but even these weren’t “facts” – so where are the “facts”? There were no facts in this discussion – only opinions and interpretations. A fact goes something like: the sky is blue. And opinion more like: I think Irigaray was being serious. So where are the facts? Or is this just another cheap rhetorical trick?

  97. Other people’s wit.. where? where? I’m far too stupid to appreciate that nuance..
    “You’re an ape, mate. An ape. A big hairy ape with a small brain. I’m surprised you’ve acquired the ability to type ” Wit from a nuisance more like.

  98. “Wit from a nuisance more like.”

    Look everybody – it’s dancing!!! Dance for the people ape-man, dance!!!

  99. You have your opinion I have mine. I don’t believe you because I don’t have it as fact that her statement was a form of irony. You haven’t provided me with a link to a third party coming to the conclusion that it was a joke and I can’t find one. I’ll keep looking, maybe I am wrong. If its tongue in cheek so be it.
    I don’t care what rung of the ladder she stands on, its irrelevant to me. I do however have a problem with people talking shit, be it PM’s or scientists. Any and every kind of charlatan should be exposed.
    I use good faith sparingly Phil, in everyday life. I don’t believe in faith when it comes to academia, maybe its my training. Every paper I read has to be based on evidence, when i’m reading up on a new chemical procedure or an improvement to a current one, I immediately go to the experimental section. If something is out of place or missing I am immediately suspicious, whatever the claims in the abstract. There are people out there who will make a claim and lie about the evidence. Whatever the agenda. Scrutiny is a good thing, i’m sure Irigaray would agree.

  100. Opinion: Phil is in fact an idiot.
    Fact: Phil is an idiot..
    Proof: Context of original post and the subsequent comments from Phil.

  101. So, hang on… Do you need “proof” any time someone is being ironic? Do you despair over the “facts” whenever someone employs irony?

    Okay, I’ll tell you what. I’ll try my best to prove it. I already pointed out that post-modernists are well known for using irony, but I’ll be more specific. Irigaray is a follower of the psychoanalyst Lacan. Lacan often parodied science in his lectures. I believe that Irigaray – being a follower of Lacan – follows him in this respect. Now, Lacan said it a few times directly (on record if you will).

    Okay, on pages 15 – 17 of his Seminar XX he discusses his use of Roman Jakobson’s linguitic theories. He says that what he’s doing is less “linguistics” and moreso “linguistricks” – indicating that he is being somewhat ironic in his references to the science of linguistics. (While I can’t upload the pages to “prove” that this is the case, I can offer this, which confirms the reference etc: If you want total proof go to a library and pick up the book).

    Here’s a site specifically devoted to Lacanian jokes (I didn’t say they were funny):

    Here’s a link on an essay which highlights Lacan’s irony ( “Irony and dissonance are central to Lacan’s achievement”.

    Finally, here is an article that discusses “the irony and sarcasm which characterize Irigaray’s earlier work”.

    Best I can do. As close to facts as (a) I can muster and (b) You’re ever likely to get. But I suspect you won’t change your mind…

  102. “Audience gasps” abound at the copying and pasting tricks learnt at the University lab. I got the copying and pasting after much repetition on year four I think it was Phil, when did you get it down? :

  103. FME – Here, mate, I tried reasoning with you; I tried slagging you off. Nothing works – you’re remarkably persistant. EIther contribute to the conversation or piss off will you?

    I’m not going to respond to you any more – you’re a bore (go on do some “clever” wordplay – I suggest turning ‘bore’ into ‘boor’ and applying it to me. You could also try changing ‘slagging’ to ‘shagging’ and then saying something dim like “You tried shagging me…. huhuhuhu….”).

  104. Ah now Phil, you’re a bit of a cunning linguist yourself.. don’t sell yourself short.
    Piss off you say.. while syntactically correct, that doesn’t seem to mean anything anything at all at all.
    Like the word shit that you couldn’t understand.. oh wait I forget I gots me google.

  105. Actually “piss off” is syntactically incorrect. “Piss” is a noun, not a verb – so its like saying “table off” or “spoon off”. It’s only useable because its become a common idiom. And since you seem to be remarkably common I thought you might understand it. You seem to like this type of idiom. Shit, piss, fuck – they make you sound cool and nonchalant… Of course then you went on to try and sound smart to try and impress me after I called you stupid – but that didn’t work out too well.

    Anyway, now I’m really done. I’ll give you this, mate, you’re a living headache. You could probably succeed in driving someone mad if you were left with them long enough. That’s a compliment – well, sort of… At least you’re good at something…

  106. Awe shucks Phil.. my knees are wobbling again. I wonder who decided piss was even a word? Who decided it was therefore a noun and not a verb at the given moment they came up with it? Think about that one Phil. To urinate is actually a verb you twit. Urine is a noun. So you mean to say I should go urine off is it? Audience shouts.. bring this one back to the lab.

  107. Haha… you got one up on me… remarkable… absolutely remarkable.

    It was in the realm of vulgar language… I’ll grant. But still congratulations. You win. Piss is, in fact, also a verb.

    Give him a hand everyone. Unfortuantely, your little thought experiment leaves something to be desired (that’s another way of saying that it’s stupid and you’re a cretin), but still congrats on the piss thing. Gold star.

  108. Piss is a verb and a noun. I’m surprised a humanities scholar wouldn’t know something like that.

    Old French, pissier, from Latin Latin pissiare, to urinate

    And did the same humanities scholar say “which one’s”?

    Heaven forfend!

  109. My little thought experiment?.. I didn’t suggest an experient Phil, I suggested you think about something.. Might be new to you though. (rather than prattle off information like a trained monkey). Now I have to go and hang out with my other monkey friends and pollute my brain with as much alcohol as possible so I can try to forget this conversation.

  110. OK So I’ve spent the last twenty minutes wading through all these comments and I have a couple of questions for Phil. But before I ask them I’ll state for the record that I have no ideological or other bias regarding the above post.

    1. Phil, the majority of your references are from Wikepedia, do you imagine that any academic would accept references from Wikepedia in any paper? If so, why do you continue to reference Wikipedia? I only ask this because you seem happy to assume the mantle of academia to lend more weights to your thoughts.
    2. You state that Irigaray is being ironic. You present this as a fact but in post 111 you are forced to state:
    “Okay, I’ll tell you what. I’ll try my best to prove it. I already pointed out that post-modernists are well know for using irony, but I’ll be more specific. Irigaray is a follower of the psychoanalyst Lacan. Lacan often parodied science in his lectures. I believe that Irigaray – being a follower of Lacan – follows him in this respect. Now, Lacan said it a few times directly (on record if you will).”
    OK I’ll bite, if I will, could you Google the “few times directly (on record if you will) that Irigaray said directly that she follows Lacan in that respect. Triple points if you can find a reference where she states directly that she was being ironic in the sense you say she was. Maybe she even sent you an email saying that she was being ironic here? Don’t for one moment think I’m being anything other than serious, I’m taking you at face value. You seem to know an awful lot about her, maybe you’re one of her staunchest advocates and acolytes. If so, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of fantasy to suggest that you may have had communications with her, and fair play to you if you have.
    Oh, and if you read through a lot of replies to different threads here you’ll glean the fact that FME is

  111. OK So I’ve spent the last twenty minutes wading through all these comments and I have a couple of questions for Phil. But before I ask them I’ll state for the record that I have no ideological or other bias regarding the above post.

    1. Phil, the majority of your references are from Wikepedia, do you imagine that any academic would accept references from Wikepedia in any paper? If so, why do you continue to reference Wikipedia? I only ask this because you seem happy to assume the mantle of academia to lend more weight to your thoughts.
    2. You state that Irigaray is being ironic. You present this as a fact but in post 111 you are forced to state:
    “Okay, I’ll tell you what. I’ll try my best to prove it. I already pointed out that post-modernists are well know for using irony, but I’ll be more specific. Irigaray is a follower of the psychoanalyst Lacan. Lacan often parodied science in his lectures. I believe that Irigaray – being a follower of Lacan – follows him in this respect. Now, Lacan said it a few times directly (on record if you will).”
    OK I’ll bite, if I will, could you Google the “few times directly (on record if you will) that Irigaray said directly that she follows Lacan in that respect. Triple points if you can find a reference where she states directly that she was being ironic in the sense you say she was. Maybe she even sent you an email saying that she was being ironic here? Don’t for one moment think I’m being anything other than serious, I’m taking you at face value. You seem to know an awful lot about her, maybe you’re one of her staunchest advocates and acolytes. If so, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of fantasy to suggest that you may have had communications with her, and fair play to you if you have.
    3. As you are more than happy to quote psychoanlaytic theory, are you aware of the concept of projection? Because to me it seems to a layman like me, that a lot of your posts, especially aimed at FME, exhibit this tendency. Of course this is just my opinion, and if you can prove me wrong I’m more than happy to withdraw this comment.
    4. Oh, and if you read through a lot of replies to different threads here you’ll glean the fact that FME is in fact, in Irigarayspeak, “one of those that have been “historically associated with the role of mother” [] and by your suggesting that she is a subjective entity you are denying her according to Irigaray “the chance to prescribe for her how she wants to be defined.” In short, she is a possessor of the XX Chromosone as opposed to the vastly superior XY chromosone [/irony] ;o)

  112. FME – Alcohol? No way… Cool man! Because getting drunk is cool, right? Not like intelligent debate – that’s for squares. Hey man, do you do drugs too? Because drugs are cool, man. Actually, tell me about the drugs you take and the alcohol you drink – ’cause, you know, I spend my whole time prattling off information… I don’t drink or anything like that… that’s for really cool, hip folk like yourself. I’d love to hear more about your exploits.

  113. Bock – I’m not a humanaties scholar. But good one. I’ll keep an eye out for your grammatical errors and minor mistakes in future – they’re legion in your blog. If you want to pay me I’ll even quit my job and be a full-time lookout. It’ll prove productive AND give me a cheap excuse to feel smarter.

    Heaven forfend.

    Incidentally, can I call your integrity into question for a moment? Why do you stragtegically align yourself with idiots when it suits, while denouncing this to no end in your posts? I mean we both know that FME is a fool, and yet you’ll back him when it suits… in lieu of truth, perhaps a career in politics might not be such a bad idea…

  114. On the personal insults thing: enough shit.

    Read the comments policy. It applies to you the same as everyone else. Debate in an adult way. No more calling people idiots and fools.


    People are free to rant and rave here as much as they like, including the use of whatever vulgar and foul language takes their fancy. They can make sweeping generalisations, pass offensive remarks and fling derogatory comments of any kind whatsoever, as long as those derogatory comments are aimed at the content and not at the people themselves.

    I’ve allowed you more leeway than most in the way you’ve attacked other commenters pesonally, because I find your posturing entertaining, but enough is enough. Show some respect and play the ball not the man.

  115. I was reading a bit about Lacan and came across this:

    I will put forward the notion of compactness. Nothing is more compact than a fracture; clearly, the intersection of everything that closes being admitted as existing on an infinite number of sets, it follows that the intersection implies this infinite number. It is the very definition of compactness.[Lacan (1975)]

    Is this irony or just waffle?

    As regards your comment in 83:

    Why do scientists get their knickers in a twist any time “science” is parodied? I guess because “it’s all very serious business, not open for a bit of a piss-take”.

    I think Dawkins best summed up PM’s reaction to the Sokal affair in postmodernism disrobed:

    But don’t the postmodernists claim only to be ‘playing games’? Isn’t it the whole point of their philosophy that anything goes, there is no absolute truth, anything written has the same status as anything else, no point of view is privileged? Given their own standards of relative truth, isn’t it rather unfair to take them to task for fooling around with word-games, and playing little jokes on readers? Perhaps, but one is then left wondering why their writings are so stupefyingly boring. Shouldn’t games at least be entertaining, not po-faced, solemn and pretentious? More tellingly, if they are only joking around, why do they react with such shrieks of dismay when somebody plays a joke at their expense. The genesis of Intellectual Impostures was a brilliant hoax perpetrated by Alan Sokal, and the stunning success of his coup was not greeted with the chuckles of delight that one might have hoped for after such a feat of deconstructive game playing. Apparently, when you’ve become the establishment, it ceases to be funny when somebody punctures the established bag of wind.

    As for the Bogdanov affair:

    Sokal was “almost disappointed” that the Bogdanovs had not attempted a hoax after his own style. “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,”

  116. I think I have it now.

    Post-modernists use a language that no-one else understands. There are no plainer words available to describe what they’re talking about.

    Sometimes, post-modernists say things they don’t mean, but this is still logical because when they say things that sound very silly, they’re being ironic.

    Only a specialist knows when they’re being ironic. This is done by mind-reading.

    Anyone who considers post-Modernist jargon to be pompous is a fool.

    I think that about wraps it up.

  117. All y’all:

    Fore some excellent lampoons of “arty” garbage language, watch the series in which this video sits:


    Right or wrong, you’ve been an antagonistic jerk here.

    Also, whether there is anything to truly understand in any of the kind of language it seems you defend, such understanding nevertheless contributes nothing of value to the world. In other words, if it forms any cogent part of any whole, the whole itself is useless. The world would not miss it if it simply ceased to exist, and I for one would be overjoyed.

    For my part, I think the “Sokal affair” roundly, soundly, and rightly rebukes such hifalutin philosophical trash. The influence that such trash has exerted on literature and art is DREADFUL. I couldn’t take the ridiculous pretentious artwork/artist statements appearing alongside too many artworks in a recent exhibit in Utah Valley, UT, which *should* be a bastion of plainness against hifalutin philosophical trash (there are, after all, so many Utah-native emerging sci-fi writers, who thrive in a genre where plain, transparent language is a necessity–we like it plain, we hate it hifalutin. Or we should).

    I’m going to make it a point to use postmodernism/arty bollocks generators for descriptions of my artwork, and preface them with: “The following statement is pure nonsense generated by a computer, to ease my burden of fabricating equally meaningless statements myself, and to disabuse anyone suffering from the notion that anything similar they’ve ever read contributed any genuine good to the world at all: …”

  118. For those of you interested in just how far deconstuctionism and post-modernism have driven into the weeds. This is a good book:

    As someone who had to parse through Derrida et al for half a decade and then volunteered to keep doing it on and off for another 20 I can assure you that almost all of it is shit.

    If you want to read some relatively interesting ideas from that oeuvre I suggest reading Foucault History of Madness (; the section in Of Grammatology about the pharmakon; anything by Baudrillard. And PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DISAGREE OR THROW IT OUT WHOLESALE. All I’m promising with those suggestions is an interesting read.

    Post-modernism, post-structuralism and deconstructionism have done more damage to the intellectual tradition at this point than any religious persecution in history. We should pick a couple dozen good ideas out of it and through the rest away.

  119. These idiots are are their own and only audience, the are infatuated with
    their own bullshit, and furthermore they are usually a shower of ugly horrors.
    In a way I suppose their harmless.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.