Deconstruction - The Pomo Pick-Axe

Written January 26. 2004, at 23:50 GMT.

Chip Morningstar: How to Deconstruct Almost Anything - My Postmodern Adventure should proof informative to those not familiar to the Zen and Art of Postmodern Deconstruction - especially for people with a background in the "hard" sciences.

The fact that this essay is written by a scientist/engineer type reminds me of physicist Alan Sokal's famous parody/prank on the French pomo-intelligentsia.

Like Sokal, Morningstar is highly critical of the pomo intelligentsia. Unlike Sokal, Morningstar seems completely disillusioned about his ability (or the general need) to shake/topple the intelligentsia's ivory tower. (I have my doubts that Sokal's somewhat aggressive attack on the humanities was as well informed as he seemed to think himself.) Near the end of his essay, Morningstar offers a relatively balanced conclusion to the reader (given his obvious hard-science bias):

"The quality of the actual analysis [(i.e. deconstruction)] of various literary works [done by academics] varies tremendously and must be judged on a case-by-case basis, but I find most of it highly questionable. Buried in the muck, however, are a set of important and interesting ideas: that in reading a work it is illuminating to consider the contrast between what is said and what is not said, between what is explicit and what is assumed, and that popular notions of truth and value depend to a disturbingly high degree on the reader's credulity and willingness to accept the text's own claims as to its validity."

More like this: English Entries, .


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