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June 05, 2008

The Viceroy and the Monarch

PrawfsBlawg considers academic obscurantism and the studied prose of Judith Butler (via Instapundit).

This is not to say that obscurity is always unnecessary: Sometimes tough ideas call for tough prose. (Again, think of Kant's transcendental deduction, which cannot easily be translated into plain language, because it asks difficult questions about the most basic grounds of experience and language. Of course, it does not help that Kant was German: The Teutonic style famously lacks the light touch). To my mind, Butler's prose mimics this necessary obscurity like a Viceroy mimics a Monarch butterfly -- to avoid being devoured by predators who are scared off by the appearance of tough ideas that are hard to swallow.

Related snark: Andrew Coyne covering the witch-trial in British Columbia, emphasis added. This one goes with a shout out to Cartoon U. grads everywhere.

McConchie sums up for the tribunal: getting a PhD from a “reputable Canadian institution” — I believe he’s talking about Carleton — is a worthy achievement, but she hardly has the expertise claimed, particularly as she’s barely started her career.

Tangentially related: The "idiot bloggers" at the Western Standard. I have aired some of my disagreements with the Shotgun but somehow I find I am now proud to have been involved.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 5, 2008 06:54 AM