Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Conceptual Penis As Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax On Gender Studies?

Eh...not so much.
   Don't get me wrong--gender studies is probably even more full of shit than the stuff Social Text published. But this hoax doesn't prove it, since the legit (by the standards of gender studies, anyway) journal they sent it to rejected it, and then they were enticed into publishing it in an open-access pay-to-publish "journal" (though, to be fair--a Taylor and Francis joint...so...).
   Actually, they talk the talk pretty well, and I'll bet if they'd have kept with it, they might have got a real acceptance--but now we'll never know. Though they had to use pseudonyms and a fake affiliation...so they didn't have the mojo that Sokal had as a physicist when he pulled off the "Hermeneutics Of Quantum Gravity" thing.

   Honestly, however, here's my opinion on all this, and one of the first things I thought of when I saw this thing, before I found out that the journal was pay-to-publish: what we really need to get over is the idea that hoaxes like this show anything more than what is shown by the day-to-day (or month-to-month) publishing of bullshit in such (pseudo-?)disciplines. When you've got a cavalcade of bullshit, why should it matter whether or not the authors realized that they were writing bullshit when they wrote it? (And...why should the PC / PoMos care? Whatever happened to the "death of the author"? Why don't we hear about that anymore?)
   So, anyway, seems to me that this shows (or "shows") something we already knew about pay-to-publish, and doesn't show that much about gender studies--though we already know about that outfit as well.But (and, again, this is not an ad hoc move to assuage my disappointment--it's, for better or worse, a position I've held for awhile) I really think we've got to reflect more on the fact that bullshit is bullshit whether or not it aims to be. Don't get me wrong--I reveled in the Sokal affair as much as anybody and twice as much as most. But I just think we've got to stop tacitly waiting for the gender studies Sokal, and the critical race theory Sokal, and the feminist philosophy Sokal. We just don't need them.
   (Same goes for, e.g., Kelly Anne Conway and the rest of that bunch. I thought it was, in a way, gratifying to hear that Morning Joe thing about Conway admitting that she knew that what she was doing was bullshit...but...honestly...did you really need that? I didn't. I don't care if she's the most sincere person in the country, she's still spouting bullshit. Doesn't matter that much to me whether she realizes it or not. If you wait around to hear confirmation of bullshitting from bullshitters themselves, then you let the most despicable ones, the ones who never admit it, get away with it.)

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