Re: the arrogance of postmodern mumbo jumbo

Jay Bernstein (
Sat, 5 Oct 1996 16:03:27 GMT

I haven't been following this thread but I just want to say I think
postmodernism sucks. I was into Clifford before he hit the big time. I
think some of the stuff on authoriality was okay. By the time Geertz gave
his lectures at Stanford that eventually became "The Anthropologist as
Author" it had already been done. It was a valid, worthwile, point.
Let's go on to other business. Who could have guessed that it would
become a fixation, and that feminism and postmodernism would have combined
to be the hegemony to end all hegemonies in anthropology, so that they are
now about 30-40 percent of jobs in anthropology, and if you throw in
multiculturalism--ie being an entitled minority bitching about how bad
straight white males are--you've got 75-85 percent of all jobs in
anthropology. If you are not identifiable as a militant participant in
those movements, you are ineligible for 75-85 percent of jobs in
anthropology, and there aren't that many jobs to begin with. It is
bullshit. These people should be locked up. I was educated within the
interpretivist and culture-and-cognition as well as other contemporary
psychological paradigms in anthropology, not to mention geographical and
historical traditions of research. But the postmodernism sickens me so
that I feel a warmth for more scientific, materialistic and empiricist
paradigms in anthropology. Especially, I feel that we should be relating
cultural anthropology more to evolution and biological anthropology.

Not that postmodernist stuff is all wrong. I think they make a lot of
interesting points. But they deserve no more than 5 percent of the
anthropological pie.

Empiricists, interpretivists, micro-analysts, and ethnographers, unite and
take back our birthright of anthropology! The postmodernist scumbags
should be cut back, controlled like a disease or plague that is already
out of control.