Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Explaining--even explaining in detail--what other people have said on a subject is all well and good, but you can indeed figure things out without first becoming familiar with the Lindarin and/or Qenya pseudo-latinate terms referring to the 21st century groundbreaking reevaluations of what 20th century critics of 19th century scholars wrote about something Nietzsche wrote. When you can't treat an idea seriously unless it has twenty-four citations, the conversation becomes a moonlit trip through the radioactive graveyard, where every step attaches a new bony hand around your ankle, and you're not admitted to the after-party unless you're dragging an undead train that includes, at minimum, a New Animist's ribcage and five contiguous percent of Kierkegaard's spinal column.

A bibliography is nice, but it's not necessary. Professors with their heads entrenched in their proverbial backsides use lengthy historiographies to conceal the inanity of their current inquiries, as though it means something that your paper traces its lineage through the fourth tertiary branch formation of the tree that sprang from an acorn dropped by someone who lived across the street from the guy who used to trim Freud's hedge. Case histories are the bandwagon that justify prescribing someone poison just because everyone else is doing it; abey your judgment, set aside your humanity, obey the inexorable pull of official history, and order that prozac be imbibed and a guy with arthritis and his third joint possession get life in Pelican Bay.

Marx might've had something to say on the subject, but it doesn't matter if he was right. It's funny trivia if he was, but so too with Nostradamus, and equally irrelevant to the case at hand, unless he was in fact the Son of God or otherwise imbued with the spiritual power to return to the now and begin busting the heads of management. And I think that's a point that Marx would agree with about himself--his personal irrelevance to the issues at hand--except that it would be hypocritical to explain why, because the point is the point and not whether or not I correctly interpreted the revised translated passage which may potentially affirm my point of view about his take on the point.

The intellectual trend of citing to authority was the seed planted by the Torah and Aristotle, which attempted to control future thought. Writing allowed the words of dead men to live on beyond the willingness of living men to tell and remember their stories. "Civilization" is built upon the first computer scientists to program, in cuneiform v. 2.0, the mass neural code that created, and still maintains at heart, our caste systems. Why do we keep going back to it? Presented with quantity of natural gas X, quantity of guns Y, and the population's desire for Z quantity of chicken stew, do we really need to review our Plato before appointing a city manager, and zoning in the farms, the gas plant, and the grocery store? (Let alone asking whether there should be such a manager, farm, plant, or store?) No, not really, but for thousands of years, we've believed we had to. If all accepted thinkers are required to first recite what they know about what dead men said before being taken seriously, then like zombies, those old viewpoints can never be recycled, and new ideas will be forever chained to them. We shouldn't discard history; we should, though, divorce the boundaries of our imaginations from anything anyone ever wrote.

It isn't that a non-white person couldn't write something about zombies taking over the world. It's not like that. It's not like it couldn't spring from a female mind, either. If you strapped into a few billion chairs every single human on the planet who both didn't have a phallus and couldn't be considered white, rolled them into an ageless zone, and ordered them to type on typewriters until the end of time, at some point around 4,700 C.E., you might get a few of the wealthier Asian American girls to generate something like a zombie apocalypse story.

Barring that, what is the obsession white men have with zombie stories? Is it that sense that, deep down, everyone else is unable to communicate with them except via killing? Is it that they never really understood Mary Shelley, so when it comes time to describe the villain, they fill in the square next to "drools/comatose" and cross out the rest of the lines? Official policy is we don't negotiate with the undead.

(If we'd only built the walls higher, and killed more sand niggers ahead of time, the One True Zion would've been spared desecration by the subhumans who were already trying to destroy it anyway. Or, take anything you like at the mall, don't pay for it, but realize that dry goods aren't spiritually fulfilling anyway? I really could have survived in the jungle if I'd wanted to, since look at me outlast the zombies using canned food. Also, dating has gotten easier with less competition, yada yada.)

The noble dance of the pampered, proving that they'll rule and solve the wasteland they created. Aren't you glad you have our patronage? Without our power grid, this is what life looks like. The Crips zombies are raiding the liquor store.

The Hobbesian bullshit fantasy is directly contradicted by the equilibrium that grass, droppings, herbivores and carnivores come to without the interference of homo sapiens--that's a strong fantasy. See? See how glad you are I'm in charge? Without me, it's just eat and die! So go make me a sandwich.


  1. Yeah, that was painful to read. I could easily publish another 7-8 papers just within a few months, on top of the 20+ I already have (very good by any measure in my field). All it would take is some 'discipline' and the very thought of this makes me to want to puke. Going through the formula to say something mostly trivial. I'm also going through regular fits of rage against my colleagues, who have also mastered the art/formula of writing mind-numbingly inane shit in exceedingly sophisticated (and very well-referenced, of course, manner), without a trace of self-consciousness.

    Fuck my life. Well, it is not bad, actually, but I increasingly find myself like the old professors I used to make fun of. Not anymore - more and more, I mostly just want to read good old books and talk to my students about them. (And I do somewhat, but taking this too far will result in unemployment. Gotta keep cranking that peer reviewed garbage, yo. Two per year to be 'outstanding', but fuck this struggle shit - I'm doing 4. Ya feelz me?)

    1. The requirements that you extensively cite old stuff before being allowed to suggest new ideas is rather an intellectual serfdom, where you're not allowed the fruits of the land without paying rents of some kind to an owner.

    2. "Pay your dues son. We all did, now it's your turn." Elitism is a natural human trait.

  2. I strongly disagree with your general point though: we need to go to the old books not because we are chained to them, but because we don't have anything better. Most human problems are permanent problems, and a lot of what Plato or Aristotle thought is, in fact, relevant and better thought through by most current reincarnations. This in no way impedes future creativity. Not knowing the old "great books" simply means that each new generation will ask the same questions, and will provide answers that have already been provided - except much more poorly. It is a sad way to spend your life citing without even being aware that you are citing.

    Besides, forget about 'the great books' - what about the enormous wealth of different human arrangements that has already existed and has been documented by history and anthropology?

    1. We should go to the old books because we don't have anything better? I disagree. As the first exhibit to prove my case I submit Pied Cow Blog!

      Indeed, we can see a progression: pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, St. Thomas, Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel, Sartre, Pied Cow.

      In fact we can skip most of the details and point to the three basic milestones in the development of so-called Western thought: Plato, Hobbes, Pied Cow.

      Armed with these tools, the student is more than well-equipped to deal with any of the existential questions that both public and private life presents.

    2. Lol :-*
      good thing we also have Nietzsche to blow up 'the progression' with five million billion tons of dynamite :)

    3. We certainly don't want to be the cliche brash young man who screams, "Destroy the idols of the past! We have nothing to learn from them!" We shouldn't chain ourselves to those idols, though--if an "uneducated" person comes to us with a moral dilemma, it may be fun to say, "Oh, Plato faced this same question," but we should be able to help them consider the issue without first mentioning Plato. That kind of mysticism is what rightly offends many people about education, making them feel that their lack of command of classical trivia has turned them into lepers. And really, if we'd learned our Plato well enough, we wouldn't feel the need to constantly mention, "Plato." The name-dropping can be indicative of an insecure command of information, or nervousness over not being able to generate something novel oneself.