How to Decode Postmodern Academic Jargon

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This is from Elizabeth Kantor’s Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature. Your child might be going 100k in debt to learn how to do this. And while Kantor didn’t make the connection (probably because it hadn’t yet existed), this is also how to identify Social Justice theory.

Don’t Say: “ work of literature”
Say: “literary production

Don’t Say: that a poet, novelist, or critic “ emphasizes something or “ brings it to our attention”
Say: that he “foregrounds” it
Because: Again, these folks’ default position is always to make the creative or rational activities of the human mind sound as much as possible like mere physical events.

Don’t Say: “ “ opposites,” and in particular:
“truth”and “falsehood,” or
“good” and“evil,”or
“right” and “wrong,” or
“beauty” and “ ugliness,”or
“happiness” and “misery”
Say:
“binaries,” or “presence and absence”
Because: Why acknowledge that any of these things really exist when you can pretend that “binary opposites” are generated from some kind of irrational compulsion human beings have to compare and contrast and divide things into twos, rather than from the nature of reality?

Don’t Say: “Communist”
Say: “Marxist”
Because: That way, you won’t have to defend Communism, which for some mysterious reason has acquired a bad reputation.

Don’t Say: “Marxist”
Say: “New Historicist”
Because: That way, you won’t have to defend Marxism, which for some mysterious reason has acquired a bad reputation.

Don’t Say: “New Historicist”
Say: “Cultural Studies Professor”
Because: That way, you won’t have to defend New Historicism, which for some mysterious reason—well, you get the picture.

Don’t Say: that you’re going to“criticize,” “analyze,” or “disagree with” a piece of literature or criticism
Say: that you’re going to “interrogate” it
Because: Could it be that, to the kind of person who finds Marxism appealing, torturer sounds like a more exciting and valuable job than literary
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
This is from Elizabeth Kantor’s Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature. Your child might be going 100k in debt to learn how to do this. And while Kantor didn’t make the connection (probably because it hadn’t yet existed), this is also how to identify Social Justice theory.

Don’t Say: “ work of literature”
Say: “literary production

Don’t Say: that a poet, novelist, or critic “ emphasizes something or “ brings it to our attention”
Say: that he “foregrounds” it
Because: Again, these folks’ default position is always to make the creative or rational activities of the human mind sound as much as possible like mere physical events.

Don’t Say: “ “ opposites,” and in particular:
“truth”and “falsehood,” or
“good” and“evil,”or
“right” and “wrong,” or
“beauty” and “ ugliness,”or
“happiness” and “misery”
Say:
“binaries,” or “presence and absence”
Because: Why acknowledge that any of these things really exist when you can pretend that “binary opposites” are generated from some kind of irrational compulsion human beings have to compare and contrast and divide things into twos, rather than from the nature of reality?

Don’t Say: “Communist”
Say: “Marxist”
Because: That way, you won’t have to defend Communism, which for some mysterious reason has acquired a bad reputation.

Don’t Say: “Marxist”
Say: “New Historicist”
Because: That way, you won’t have to defend Marxism, which for some mysterious reason has acquired a bad reputation.

Don’t Say: “New Historicist”
Say: “Cultural Studies Professor”
Because: That way, you won’t have to defend New Historicism, which for some mysterious reason—well, you get the picture.

Don’t Say: that you’re going to“criticize,” “analyze,” or “disagree with” a piece of literature or criticism
Say: that you’re going to “interrogate” it
Because: Could it be that, to the kind of person who finds Marxism appealing, torturer sounds like a more exciting and valuable job than literary
I always loved "we're going to have a conversation with this tradition" . Blah!!!! Like that practically means anything less than traditional scholarly criticism. Where's William James when you need him. Pragmatism may be criticized but it does have it's "practical value". That's probably why I love Wittgenstein, James, and Rorty so much. They use practicality to cut through traditional philosophical problems. It can be a breath of fresh air. But there's also nothing like getting your feet wet in analytical precision.
 
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