Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Death of Post-modern theory?

My note on the so-called death of post-modern literary theory has brought in a few responses, both private and public. The following is on the "Comments" section of NLT, I put it out in case you are not in the habit of looking at the Comments section. It’s from Dan Weick, a student (a good student) at a nearby university.

"As one who is suffering through the second of two semesters of shoveling these equine feces while in pursuit of honors in my English degree (although I will be able to regain my equilibrium by writing a senior thesis on either G.M. Hopkins or Flannery O’Conner), I must say that the death of PoMO Theory is news to me. The problem is that these pseudo-intellectuals filter who is admitted to graduate programs in the humanities (and thereby who will teach the humanities in the future), so we can only expect worse from the academy, not better, because the new generation will only be made up of such people as did not realize that they were being taught by lunatics. Through their postitions, they have the power to ensure the indoctrination of all of our professionals, especially our lawyers. For example: in order to get into the "elite" English programs (Yale, Berkley, etc) one is almost required to state a research interest in "Queer Theory" (I will not give the readers of this forum nightmares about the contents of said theory). This means that the English courses that every future lawyer or journalist (at least such as attend universities with the sort of reputations that open the doors to high-level careers) will take will be indoctrination sessions (read the NYT editorial on "Career Girls" from last weekend to see how these people use their classrooms).
Our universities have become fora for the elaborate self-justifications of tremendously disturbed people (quite literally: how else to explain the fact that the most cutting-edge theory is interested in viewing the entire world from the perspective of a psycho-sexual disorder?). O Tempora! O Mores! However, there is hope if one can every so often take Fr. George William Rutler’s advice and quiet down with a good cigar and St. Francis de Sale’s Treatise on the Love of God. I recommend also G.K. Chesterton, Jacques Maritain, C.S. Lewis, and, above all, the Saints (esp: Paul, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Alphonsus di Liguori, Jean Marie Vianney, Robert Bellarmine Therese of the Child Jesus, and Gregory the Great) to counteract the adverse effects of exposure to contemporary academic drivel."

Discussions - 2 Comments

Having written extensively on the effects of PoMo lunacy on political thought, I share Mr. Weick’s frustration. However, I disagree with him when he writes:

"The problem is that these pseudo-intellectuals filter who is admitted to graduate programs in the humanities (and thereby who will teach the humanities in the future), so we can only expect worse from the academy, not better..."

The reason I must disagree is that Post-Modern academics are creatures of fashion and ambition no less than the rest of humanity. Having little sense of eternal truth they will, like teenage former-fans of Britney Spears, abandon the creaking hull of Post Modern theory as fashion turns against it. Reading the assorted regrets of many of the luminaries in the field, I cannot help but think that this process is already well underway.

The question is, what will the "theorists" come up with in place of "Queer Theory" or Feyerabendian relativism? Is it too much to hope that classical literary theory will make a rebound?

I certainly hope Dr. Brittingham is correct, but I fear that the move may be from Brittany Spears to Eminem rather than from Brittany Spears to Palestrina.

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