We live in a world hemmed-in by PC rules. When I started this post about 5 tweets ago, it was about the latest “Sokal” prank poking satire at gender-based social-science research. Of course, being PC rules, they are broken ironically all the time, so the levels of irony – odd or even – become crucial to working out who the good guys are.
Apparently we have to respect dogs whilst inspecting their genitals. Moving on ….
Good grief, saying that a bacon roll is a better breakfast than an avocado is now forbidden?https://t.co/XOH3hBUzoa
Truly, we live in shrunken times.
— Timandra Harkness (@TimandraHarknes) October 3, 2018
in fact just 2 tweets after I started, the title of the post was:
“Truly, we live in shrunken times.”
Which has nothing to do with the Trumpian mushrooms bandied about by Jimmy Kimmel but, 3 tweets in, David Deutsch provided the alternative title.
It’s now illegal to mock fruit: https://t.co/i2WJVGJool
— David Deutsch (@DavidDeutschOxf) October 3, 2018
I liked Timandra’s line – which she had already stolen without attribution, so it’s already now officially an anonymous aphorism – because in form it rang with a T E Lawrence (of Arabia) line – conflating the “it is written” sentiment with the relative obesity of British and Arab culture at the time.
But notwithstanding it’s ring, the rhetorical content is clear. Objectivising everything and recognising the politics in identifying objects – choosing one identity in relation to others – is sorely cramping the space for human manouevres – if we let them.
McLuhan had it right. Confusing the medium with the message shrinks the global village available to operate in.
Truly we live in shrunken times.
And there’s more:
Jazz hands instead of applause, anyone?!?
And Haidt’s coddled mind?!
“Like Mark Lilla, Pinker and Francis Fukuyama, who have all condemned identity politics in recent books, they are careful to distinguish themselves from the unwashed masses – those who also hate identity politics and supposedly brought us Donald Trump.” https://t.co/whAAJahuym
— Melissa Gira Grant (@melissagira) September 20, 2018
— Ian Glendinning (@psybertron) October 3, 2018
[The original social-science prank has become tagged “Sokal-squared” which helps its circulation, but it doesn’t free it from its deficiencies:
A Venn diagram. pic.twitter.com/UapQZGCzfa
— Baboon Butt (@latenitenoah) October 4, 2018
Stephen Jay Gould’s brilliant, measured response to the Sokal Hoax applies even more to the stunt pulled by those three clowns, desperately and pathetically trying to imitate him and failing miserably pic.twitter.com/dAP2LrZLUv
— ☀️👀 (@zei_nabq) October 4, 2018
The key words in the Venn diagram are “prove” and “because” – clearly only divisive idiots would form those views, so the joke works. What’s needed is the measured approach to recognising what is the point of an ironic attack of the Sokal kind (And I’m no fan of S J Gould). The attackers derived plenty of amusement as can be seen in the early videos. Humour is the point. And the point of the humour is to make the target – and audience – think. Nothing about the content proves the cause of anything.
Fortunately, plenty of “measured” responses.]
[Oh my god, more forbidden fruit. When will it ever end. And now because Churchill wasn’t morally perfect apparently, it’s a no-no to quote anything positively inspiring he might have done or said. Even if you’re an astronaut.]
[No, it is never ending. Apparently everyone has to drop their interest in #Strictly to write about the latest climate change warnings.]
Also published on Medium.