One for The Watchers

This idea that I’ve done a 180 on postmodernism? Complete bullshit. I don’t know where you get this stuff, unless it’s just a turd drawn up from the bottomless well of loathing. I’ve moved on to other subjects most of the time now, but I haven’t in the least changed my mind. I don’t suddenly disagree with anything I wrote in Why Truth Matters.

Are you thinking that feminism is somehow postmodernist? Again, complete bullshit. There are postmodernism-flavored brands of feminism, but I’m no more a fan of them than I ever was. I haven’t morphed into a fan of Sandra Harding or “women’s ways of knowing.”

You don’t know what you’re talking about.


  1. Silentbob says

    @ 3 NateHevens

    I’ve seen this trope, in one of Nugent’s slimy comment threads. Apparently criticizing Dawkins’ clumsy tweets about rape, abortion, child abuse, and so on, equates to rejecting the concept of objective reality.

    No, makes no fucking sense to me either.

  2. says

    Nate @ 3, yes. It’s as Silentbob says, and I’ve seen it other places too – I’ve seen it enough that I think it’s one of the Established Lies about me – as opposed to some random thing that a few different people say because they say so many things they’re bound to overlap with each other at times.

    It also seems to be a larger piece of Received Albeit False Wisdom, that feminism as such is postmodernist. I think the idea is something like…”Women are obviously inferior to men but they say they’re not so that’s postmodernism because it doesn’t care about truth.”

  3. johnthedrunkard says

    Not an impression I’ve ever gotten. But I don’t cruise the slime pits. This page is still subtitled: Fighting Fashionable Nonsense isn’t it?

    Sokal and others HAVE pointed out a strong streak of woo in some pomo pseudo-feminists. Do the creeps actually read enough to pick that up, or is the pomo claim just reflexive hatred?

  4. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    Well a fair amount of postmodernist work has been done under rubrics like Feminist Social Theory and what have you, but I would think that would be a subset of academic feminist theory, which is not fundamental to feminist activism, for as much as it may motivate or inform some activists.

    It’s affirming the consequent: postmodernism and the theorists who produce postmodernist texts are (generally) feminist (because generally leftist); therefore, feminism is postmodernism. Logic!

  5. says


    Apparently criticizing Dawkins’ clumsy tweets about rape, abortion, child abuse, and so on, equates to rejecting the concept of objective reality.

    … well, of course. Since whatever the hell Dawkins blurts out on Twitter is objective reality.

    … this being, in fact, I sadly suspect, not entirely an inaccurate portrayal of the mindset. The more complete description being: what Dawkins blurts out and which is in general accordance with rather a lot of popular misconceptions about feminism and social justice must be reality; if you’re in disagreement, obviously you’re some pomo airhead.

    (Well, that or a social scientist. Or something equally dodgy.)

    It’s the consequence, sadly, I suspect, of a lot of people learning the rhetoric of critical thinking without picking up any of the actual self-discipline. See also the endless equating of any actually progressive stance on gender politics as somehow ‘religious’ or merely ‘ideological’, and so on; it’s the same essential cause. Until you learn critically to assess your own possibly quite cracked notions–until you’ve learned to inspect what you may have picked without much reflection from your steady diet of cable TV and science fiction pulp novels (in which, if you favour those whose covers feature a woman in a bikini carrying a laser pistol, we may be certain you are now ever so progressive, not to mention a Reliable Learned Scholar on workplace equity), you’re likely left prone to the same silliness.

    … yes, you’d think they’d get the hint, maybe notice how things line up, here, but, apparently, no. Notwithstanding that, seriously, what these muddleheads are selling of late is both about as a) fashionable and b) nonsensical as it gets.

  6. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    AJ Milne,

    whatever the hell Dawkins blurts out on Twitter is objective reality

    You’re ideological; I’m just right.

    This appears to be a big part of the mindset. And it’s so obviously bogus. Both the disavowal of any ideological motivation for their own stance, and the implication that any position motivated by ideology is merely in the service of it and not the product of considered thought within an ideological frame.

  7. John Horstman says

    Heh, you react to that word the way some people react to “trigger warning”. From my perspective, your view of “postmodernism” is and always has been much like the views of people who think “feminism” is synonymous with hatred of men or #Gamergate is about ethical journalism, treating fraudulent hucksters as though they are representative of a broad philosophical perspective because they self-identify with a particular label. Still, I haven’t noted any changes in your attitude toward bullshit woo recently, whatever you or anyone else wants to call it.

  8. says

    This is part of their larger pattern of, every time we say something they agree with, no matter how long we’ve been saying it, claiming we’ve been forced to concede their point of view. They have so few ways to convince each other that they’re self-marginalizing, you see.

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