I have to go to Buffalo for a couple of days to see if they have any English departments that need evaluatin’ around those parts, but while I’m gone, do check out this interview with Amanda Anderson on interpretive theory, poststructuralist cryptonormativism, and communicative rationality. Think of it as the Return of Theory Tuesday—on Monday!
And while I agree with Amanda about most things, I have to say that I would have answered the final question differently.
Q. Has the internet changed the way that you read and write?
A. Dood! In my recent essay, “The Theory of Communicative Action Totally Pwns Poststructuralism,” I argue that the attempt to craft a “strategic essentialism” so as to parse the competing claims of theory and practice was teh l4m3. So yes, you could say the Internets have changed the way I write.
But that’s just me.
Look, haven’t we just about beat that poststructuralist cryptonormativistic thing to death by now? I wanna talk about REO Speedwagon vs. .38 Special!Posted by norbizness on 01/30 at 10:13 AM
I can’t believe you’re talking about this stuff when our Republic is going down the shitter.
Oh, wait, this isn’t Eschaton. Sorry. Biofuels, bitches!Posted by NTodd on 01/30 at 10:41 AM
"Amanda Anderson said “burgeoning blogosphere"!!" Try saying that three times rapidly!!Posted by david ross mcirvine on 01/30 at 10:51 AM
Doesn’t Amanda Anderson realize that Deborah Tannen, in collaboration with The Heritage Foundation’s core Intelligent Design Biology Program, has for once and for all proven that only boys argue? Girls talk about their feelings, while boys hit brontosaurises over their heads with clubs—which is the ur-source of “the culture of argumentation.”Posted by on 01/30 at 11:06 AM
Amanda Anderson: “Identity politics gives too much emphasis to group identity conceived in terms of social and cultural categories, so much so that notions of individuality and character are subordinated [...]”
I’d like to try to take this a bit further. The conbination of identity politics with post-whatever cryptonormativism denies the actual use of any group identity that it conceives of. Amanda Anderson’s interview talks about communication across groups. But the same applies within a group. What good is a group identity if you can’t communicate with the other members of the group or agree on a common goal?
Perhaps, while avoiding obvious stereotyping, this communication is supposed to take place at some instinctive level, as if to say that the group is all X, so people in X must think alike in certain ways? Unfortunately, even if this were in some sense true (and clearly I think that it mostly isn’t), no group thinks like a literary studies academic except the group of literary studies academics. The ideas of people who study literature about what actuates people who don’t are often, well, not very accurate. And when you combine this with cryptonormativism, it gets even worse. Then you can’t even start out by saying something like “I work for justice, and that’s one reason why I’m interested in people who are not part of my identity group of middle-class literary academics.” So the whole thing becomes snarled up in multiple layers of misdirection designed to disavow anything as crude as that in favor of some indirect critique of the possibilities of language.Posted by on 01/30 at 12:33 PM
This is a beautiful time of year to visit Buffalo, Michael. Be sure to pack your bathing suit, flipflops, and sunblock. Bring your camera too. Take many pictures. Should there be a freak snow storm that strands you for a month or two, remember the protocol is no resorting to cannibalism until day ten.Posted by on 01/30 at 12:36 PM
Yupp. While Michel may be right that reason bifurcates continously, Jürgen always was correct in that the most important bifurcation is between instrumental and communicative reason. Jürgen is back! Back!!Posted by on 01/30 at 12:45 PM
I don’t know nothin about all this “crytonormative” business, but that’s Long Sundayans to you, Michael.
Ok, off to read that thing (but you’re really pushing it, asking bloggers to read, and at this stage especially). Not sure what appeal this “Monday” holds, to say the least.Posted by Matt on 01/30 at 01:01 PM
Hmm. Like most ReadySteadyInterviews, interesting, and blessedly short. To be honest, I have some sympathy for her view, however crypto or lessthancrytoHabermasian. Surely if there is a productive critique of “Theory” to be made, it must follow at least some of the lines established by Gillian Rose.Posted by Matt on 01/30 at 01:14 PM
h4b3rm4s i5 teh r0xx0rPosted by Gavin M. on 01/30 at 03:33 PM
You took my name in vain, now I must comment.
“Identity politics gives too much emphasis to group identity conceived in terms of social and cultural categories, so much so that notions of individuality and character are subordinated, diminished, even sometimes entirely lost to view.”
Are identity politics as she seems to define them really observed and practiced outside of the extreme Right, except in the context of puerile straw-man arguments denouncing identity politics?
P.S. Love the new sidebar pic. Lookin’ good, handsome!Posted by teh l4m3 on 01/30 at 04:44 PM
Buffalo? Michael, were you a bad, bad boy?! What next, Fargo?Posted by AdorableGirlfriend on 01/30 at 05:17 PM
<objectivity, omniscient realism, disinterestedness, cosmopolitanism)."</blockquote>
Between this and “procedural democracy” is it any wonder why the DaHo’ian types are reduced to grunts and groans as opposition to their perception that various self-identifying liberal agents form groups that control and dominate universities? When the same people that demand better achievement (read: test-taking proficiency) in our public schools oppose “liberals,” because they find that discoursive theoretical texts are not simply quantifiable, and must be liberal screeds to invoke political power, the rampant anti-intellectualism becomes all the more apparent. Like the phrase: “I don’t know what any of what you said means, but I know it you are insulting me and you are wrong.”
And my stripy word is: “anti” go figure.Posted by on 01/30 at 05:34 PM
i was being a tad flippant above, sorry.
Rich’s point: “So the whole thing becomes snarled up in multiple layers of misdirection designed to disavow anything as crude as that in favor of some indirect critique of the possibilities of language.”
The following is an example of something inordinately crude on so many levels. The US Marines in Iraq refer to a specific group of Iraqis as “MAM’s w/ man dresses.” This is supposed to be a referent signifier for “military-aged men wearing the long, gray, flowing-robe garments.” They use this signifier a great deal because it represents their perception of a higher possible threat risk, since groups such as this are most likely to be insurgents. They symbolic phrase appears to have been used during Gulf War One and has made its way into the present “war” from use. It also however is representative of a Marine document used to prepare troops headed to Iraq.
That document is called:"Marines Are From Mars, Iraqis Are From Venus.” It contains some interesting connotations regarding this classic of literary identity expression. From the Marine Martian realm: “Our altruism and earnestness often makes us somewhat naive. We expect that everyone else can see that our hearts are pure, and we expect them to play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules that we try to live by ourselves… We have trouble adjusting to other people’s way of life because we think our way of life is ideal.”
From the Venusian Iraqis we get: “Because our lives are so brutal, we have almost no capacity to view the long term… We’re masters of achieving effect. Everything we do is designed to coax, cajole, trick, or steer you into doing what we want you to do… You pretend to be honest, bu we see you as the biggest liars of all...”
Now i ask, should we not be distressed for our military’s demonstration of its complete lack of capacity to comprehend even a shred or glimmer of subtext??Posted by on 01/30 at 06:18 PM
What the hell just happened? I was reading the comments and trying to figure out what the hell “l4m3” means - (little help someone?)- and suddenly your blog photo disappears and is replaced by The Hansons again. What’s the dealio? One person says you look handsome in the comments and you freak out? Or did your wife read the comment, hack in, and throw the hammer down?Posted by on 01/30 at 06:56 PM
I feel obliged to note, as I think I told Michael, that the Valve will be hosting a book event on Anderson’s The Way We Argue Now in the next month or so. (Which reminds me I need to get back in touch with her about said event. Thanks for the reminder!)Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman on 01/30 at 07:45 PM
Ms. Oaktown, the Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:
“Lame, especially as it applies to an online video game”
Extrapolating, the character ‘4’ is supposed to represent an ‘A’ and ‘3’ represents ‘E.’Posted by Linkmeister on 01/30 at 08:53 PM
Linkmeister, now please explain “h4b3rm4s”.Posted by on 01/30 at 09:11 PM
One person says you look handsome in the comments and you freak out? Or did your wife read the comment, hack in, and throw the hammer down?
I hate it when Janet does that.
Actually, O-Girl, I changed the masthead photo only for the main page. I’ve left the Hansons on the comments page, the essays and books pages, etc. I don’t know, I thought it would break up the visual tedium of this word-heavy blog.
And Emma Anne, h4b3rm4s is teh roxxor! Except for the insistence on Instant Messaging’s orientation toward consensus. That’s a serious theoretical mistake, as Jean-François Lyotard and Jean-Loup Thébaud point out ad nauseam in their book Just Online Video Gaming.Posted by Michael on 01/30 at 09:41 PM
Cryptonormativism: spyware for vampires.Posted by on 01/30 at 09:41 PM
Michael - I must have lost track of what page I was on when I saw the Hansons. Too bad - the Janet scenario is much more interesting!
Linkmeister - thanks for the tech-lingo info. Seems kind of roundabout, though. Does it really make things easier, or do people just do it to get their technogeek freak on?Posted by on 01/30 at 10:53 PM
O4|<T0vvN GRRRL 1T 15 TEH L33TSP34|<Posted by teh l4m3 on 01/31 at 02:14 AM
teh14m3 - Whatever you wrote, I hope it was kind!
That Leet info on the link you posted requires further review on my part because at first glance it’s just making my head spin.
Kind of makes me wistful for some good ol’ fashioned Middle English to clear the palate. (I have trouble with that too, but at least there’s no numbers in it to make my head hurt!)Posted by on 01/31 at 02:34 AM
Habermas makes his distinction between communicative reason and functional reason, rather than instrumental reason. Somewhere towards the end of TCA he says the two critiques (of instrumental reason and functional reason) share only the ironic use of the word reason.
Most of us use the phrases more or less interchangably but he sees an important difference.Posted by on 01/31 at 04:14 AM
To be really, really pedantic (aah, academics) Habermas prefers to talk about rationalized forms of action (communicative and strategic) rather than reason. Reason tends to have many shapes, even in in Habermasian texts (that’s why Foucault is right about reason) e.g. functional, instrumental, technical, emancipatory, hermeneutic, and communicative. Still, Habermas suggestion that communicative action can be rationalized is l33t. Too bad about his consensus fetisch, and the l4m3 positivism of the ideal speech situation.Posted by on 01/31 at 11:07 AM
I’m not conversant in geek-speak at all, Ms. O, so I can only suggest you bookmark Urban Dictionary for future reference. I didn’t even know that existed until it appeared in my Firefox-generated “Quick Searches” menu.Posted by Linkmeister on 01/31 at 09:51 PM
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