Colin McGinn may be pompous and privileged, but he also writes philosophy papers. Philosophy papers that get reviewed. Philosophy papers that get scathingly hilarious reviews (pdf). An excerpt from Strohminger, in Emotion Review:
Another property of McGinn’s text, of which potential readers should be aware, is its unintentional hilarity. The humor derives less from the unblushing content than from the unblushing purpleness of his prose. Of the male genitalia, McGinn writes: “Life and death coexist in complex and subtle ways in the penis and testicles, telling a story of triumph and tragedy.” On feces: “I have no wish to romanticize the turd.” Pubic hair is referred to as “nature’s furry bounty.” Semen is a “pointless sticky daub once it is spilled on the ground, only to be consumed there by unfussy insects or whatever.” Or whatever. Unfussy cavemen, perhaps.
In pursuit of a grand unifying theory, Freud saw phalluses everywhere; McGinn sees only crap. Snakes, being dun-colored and slithery, are deemed unmistakably poop-like. The brain “resembles nothing so much as a mound of dung”, a proclamation that forces us to ask whether McGinn has ever actually seen a brain. “The rectum is a grave [obviously!]… but is the grave also a rectum, with corpses featuring as large turds?” These are the questions McGinn is not afraid to ask, not that the answers could be anything other than nonsense.
I almost want to read the original paper, except that it’s 200 pages long.
Pretentious philosophers, here’s another reason not to abuse your graduate students, besides the obvious one of basic human decency: it encourages deeper scrutiny of your work.