You must go and read this - I guarantee you will get a few laughs! (And go give your fave fanfic authors some love while you're at it - thank goodness we have them!)
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What concerns me is the proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking: one that denies the existence of objective realities, or (when challenged) admits their existence but downplays their practical relevance.There are volumes more about both articles and the experiment itself, but these will get you started.
Social Text's acceptance of my article exemplifies the intellectual arrogance of Theory — meaning postmodernist literary theory — carried to its logical extreme. No wonder they didn't bother to consult a physicist. If all is discourse and "text," then knowledge of the real world is superfluous; even physics becomes just another branch of Cultural Studies. If, moreover, all is rhetoric and "language games," then internal logical consistency is superfluous too: a patina of theoretical sophistication serves equally well. Incomprehensibility becomes a virtue; allusions, metaphors and puns substitute for evidence and logic. My own article is, if anything, an extremely modest example of this well-established genre.
True story: One day the infant school teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to her class. She came to the part of the story where the first pig was trying to accumulate the building materials for his home.25. 60% of men who read this will try mixing the bleach and brake fluid.
She read,"..And so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said, "Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?'" The teacher paused then asked the class,"And what do you think that man said?"
One little boy raised his hand and said, "I think he said...'Holy moly! A talking pig!'"
The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.
Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.
Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities