“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Been There, Done That

As an English scholar, the recent spate of cynical reason from other Humanities departments isn't so surprising. It reminds me of what we were up to in the late eighties.

My teacher Terry Eagleton had the good grace to put it this way: “Beauty is s***. And that's true. But on the other hand, it couldn't be more untrue.” In his lectures on the ideology of the aesthetic in 1989.

But still it goes on. Le plus ça change...“Give me $1000 for lecturing to you about why the Humanities are dead. Fly me to your place, put me up in a fancy hotel and give me lots of great food. Actually my fee is now $3000.”

“As a poetry professor I'm here to tell you that poetry is s***. Give me another $1000 for saying that. And buy my new poetry book on the stand at the exit.”

Here is the newest variant:

“As a scholar of x I know full well that x is s***.[endnote 1]  Now publish my book on that and give a raise.”

Endnote 1: Laruelle citation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like to refer to such people as biohazards. I take my metaphors from industrialized agriculture.
The biohazards and their foaming manure lagoons of ideas.
Keep the Faith!