A deconstructionist joke

[Note: I may turn this into an actual post later on. After all, Edward Said, the National Spelling Bee, the brain-eating Hitler zombie, and deconstructionist gangsters could be the basis of quite an entertaining posting. This, however, is at present not it.]

It may not be all that funny, but it's late at night, and I have just spent too much time on a Google search, having decided on a whim that I would now try to find out a thing I had wondered for some time: just what Edward Said really said about "Aryan" languages.

I should say at the outset that I still don't have it quite clear. But I can now be quite sure that nearly everyone who addresses any question having to do with Said from either side, is an insufferable fanatic who is plainly incapable of saying anything that one could take at face value, at least on this subject. Alas, I pretty much knew that beforehand.

In the process I finally found a piece of good sober academic prose, which included an instance of a word I'd never heard of before this week (and confirmed my opinion about that word, on which I may manage to write more trivialities later), along with a quite unexpected sighting of a corpse that may turn out to be the brain-eating Hitler zombie. But that's not the paper I'm speaking of.

Then I came to another piece of non-nonsense, which I found worth reading through while skipping dense discussions of the author's specialized work (rather than invest my time in a long course of instruction to be able to assess the details of his argument, it being easier to stipulate that what he says does support his main point). And toward the end I was further rewarded by a joke:

We now know, thanks to the decontructionists, that not only is objectivity impossible, it seems it is even impossible to convey intended meaning. It seems that there is an unbridgeable gulf between the writer and the reader as well. No matter what the writer intends when he writes, the reader will bring his separate set of experiences and understanding to the writer's text. This is truly pathological. This means that the very enterprise of writing is unlikely to convey the meaning intended by the writer. This is a view that I find truly tiresome (and for those of you who have attempted to read deconstructionist theory you know, at least, what the word tiresome means. The impenetrability of the writing about this theory has given rise to much derision on American campuses--my favorite is the story of the Boss of a Mafia family who decided he would study deconstructionist theory. As a result, he was eventually replaced as the Boss because instead of giving orders that no one could refuse, he found himself giving orders that no one could understand.)
Actually, it's not all that hilarious, but anything that disses the desconstructionists is a good start, and as I said, it's late. If you were still reading, you might ask, 'Do you mean that is the best you found in a long search on <"edward said" aryan> ?' Yes.


Sylvia said...


You've been punctuating like a Founding Father, though--

But I can now be quite sure that nearly everyone who addresses any question having to do with Said from either side, is an insufferable fanatic

Unless the comma is there to give them time to stand up from the table and defend themselves.

Porlock Junior said...

Got me, twice. (Giving you time to gloat over the first one before conceding the second.)

BTW after another long session of quite pointless persistence I finally submitted my query to the Wikipedia reference desk. We'll see. But the strain of continuing is too much, even when a sudden hit of Daniel Pipes is countered by seeing a page on which an activist organization responds to a very strongly worded complaint by withdrawing an offensive comment! And in effect thanking the complainer!!

If I could just run down 23 more of those, we'd have the two dozen just [persons] of Jewish tradition and could be sure the Flood wasn't about to hit. One can only hope G-d has more patience and a stronger stomach than I.