Re: the arrogance of postmodern mumbo jumbo

Thomas L. Billings (
Mon, 16 Sep 1996 11:41:41 -0800

In article <>, wrote:

> Bryant wrote:
> >
> > Stephen Barnard <> wrote:
> > >
> > >>In May, 1996 Alan Sokal, a physicist at NYU, published a paper in
> > >>_Social_Text_, a leading journal of cultural studies. The title of this
> > >>paper was "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative
> > >>Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity."
> >
> > I've wondered if the collapse of socialism played a role in the
> > development of nihilistic postmodern deconstructionism in the academic
> > left. Is the timing of this school's emergence right for that explanation?
> >
> > Bryant
> I don't really think so, Bryant. Postmodernism predates the collapse of
> socialism. My own take on its popularity in academia is that it
> provides a virtually inexhaustible source of publishable (though largely
> unread) papers. That's the absurd thing about academia these days:
> Everyone is writing papers and no one is reading them.
> Another irresistable feature of the postmodern view of science is that
> every math-disabled humanities professor who can't even balance his
> checkbook can be skeptical and comtemptuous of the most abstruse
> technical subjects, because, after all, they are just arbitrary social
> constructs.
> Steve Barnard

I believe that we should also note that Postmodernism has been a wonderful
hook for building power within the academic hierarchies, as has the
extreme section of the multicult groups. The excuse, that social science,
history, etc., was previously used for political purposes, and was
affected by the political currents of various times is seen as justifying
this, somehow. To me this has always seemed like using a leaky roof to
justify blowing the roof off the house.


Tom Billings

Institute for Teleoperated Space Development Billings)
ITSD's web site is at,