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Apr 23, 2022Liked by Ryan Bruno

I think there are also other purposes a text can serve besides clear communication.

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Man this was bollocks! Also, could have been much shorter.

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Apr 23, 2022·edited Apr 23, 2022

I like your article except that I think the Judith Butler quote is intelligible, if verbose:

> “The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.”

It is simply saying, "As people switched from structuralist talking about 'The System' to poststructuralist talking about how that system is continually reproduced socially, the idea that the system could change become easier to think, and the seams/weak point/leverage points in what was formerly thought of as 'The System' became easier to see and think about."

She's talking about the history of the poststructuralist turn in critical theory. I understand this without having read virtually any Judith Butler.

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author

Thanks for your hard work... Perhaps it is not the perfect example of PPB, but I still think it serves as a great example of it, or at least resembles PPB in its true form. It is written to impress, rather than to communicate ideas. And when you get down to the meaning, it is not as profound as it once seemed. The heavy-lifting was being done by the use of jargon, zombie nouns, etc.

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Apr 21, 2022·edited Apr 21, 2022

The Judith Butler bit is such a wonderful self-outing of how intellectually insecure many sheltered cogsci students get about out of context sentences of stuff they don't read. It's the same as any Peterson follower's take: Butler's writing seeks to fool non-experts (people who don't read cultural theory, ever, at all) into believing it (that which they don't read!) is saying something. That doesn't even make sense! Worse yet, anyone who has read Judith Butler is well aware that they are perfectly competent at writing clearly to "regular people" whenever publishing outside of such a specific, specialized context!

As to why one wouldn't write to Ryan Bruno when writing to people who aren't Ryan Bruno, Butler makes a case for it here https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-950CE5D61531F933A15750C0A96F958260.html

"Herbert Marcuse once described the way philosophers who champion common sense scold those who propagate a more radical perspective: ''The intellectual is called on the carpet. . . . Don't you conceal something? You talk a language which is suspect. You don't talk like the rest of us, like the man in the street, but rather like a foreigner who does not belong here. We have to cut you down to size, expose your tricks, purge you.''

The accused then responds that ''if what he says could be said in terms of ordinary language he would probably have done so in the first place.'' Understanding what the critical intellectual has to say, Marcuse goes on, ''presupposes the collapse and invalidation of precisely that universe of discourse and behavior into which you want to translate it.''

Of course, translations are sometimes crucial, especially when scholars teach. A student for whom a word such as ''hegemony'' appears strange might find that it denotes a dominance so entrenched that we take it for granted, and even appear to consent to it -- a power that's strengthened by its invisibility.

One may have doubts that ''hegemony'' is needed to describe how power haunts the common-sense world, or one may believe that students have nothing to learn from European social theory in the present academy. But then we are no longer debating the question of good and bad writing, or of whether ''hegemony'' is an unlovely word. Rather, we have an intellectual disagreement about what kind of world we want to live in, and what intellectual resources we must preserve as we make our way toward the politically new."

I think this is a powerful statement, because such Ryan Brunos of the world rarely speak a language that can discuss politics beyond the culture war (it's good/bad in point b/a). Should attempts to develop such languages be forbidden for all? Isn't it better to complain whenever we meet unfamiliar words when we go out to look for unfamiliar word users to complain about?

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She managed to write several paragraphs defending the overly complex writing style of academics, while getting sidetracked over the use of "hegemony" and admitting she couldn't write radically if it wasn't dressed up in academic speak.

You don't see this bullshit published in the Hard Sciences.

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