October 14, 2004

In Breaking News, Jacques Derrida is still dead.

Leonard Blast has a nifty essay on being a college English major in the midst of the deconstructionist craze which is considerably more thoughtful than my own recent joking about it. I particularly take his point about the difference between Derrida the philosopher and Derrida the literary critic. As a Brit Lit guy myself, I'm not competent to comment much on the former. But I do feel comfortable opining on the latter.

I still believe that, as a literary tool, Derrida's ideas were at best useless, adding absolutely nothing to my understanding of the texts I studied. At worst, they gave socio-political zealots of various "ism" stripes any amount of room for mischief. All in all, I'd have been far better off having never come across him.

Yips! to Terry Teachout's Girl in Chicago.

Posted by Robert at October 14, 2004 12:52 PM | TrackBack

The funniest deconstruction I ever read was by some French female grad student at a French Univ who deconstructed the longest connected set of limericks known. The limericks deal with a groom's failed attempts at defloration of his bride on her wedding night. There are about 45-50 limericks making up the cycle. The grad student deconstructed it to a complaint about the advent of canned food as opposed to fresh vegetables, as I remember. Anyway, a plaint against modern culinary choices. Maybe the single funniest serious sounding attempt at litcrit I ever read.

On the other hand, the latest or so Journal of Policy Studies has an article titled "How Can I Tell You Goodbye If You Won't Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth?" in which the author claims that all US policy issues are both presaged by and the eventual solutions offered by country music. As one example, the author offers the early intimation of death penalty issues from "Dang me, dang me, they oughta take a rope and hang me" by Roger Miller and the rebuttal offered by Willie Nelson in his Redheaded Stranger album "They can't hang you for shooting a woman who's stealing your horse." (Can't vouch for the accuracy of these titles as I'm working from memory, but they're close.)

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at October 16, 2004 01:34 AM
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