Near the dark windswept mountains of Mordor the battle was afoot. Hoards of literary Orcs known as The Vandals rushed from the Temple of Doom to assault the peoples of the valleys below.

The assault’s chief Vandal, Jackie Élie Derrida, many decades ago, gathered around himself a group of rascal sabatouers who conspired to find a backdoor way to scale the walls of clear meaning (known in Mordor as Christian civilization) as reflected in the received canon of Western literature. These Vandals sought to overtake the institutions which by means of that canon, as they saw it, sought to perpetuate such meanings. But since previous attempts to bring down all such institutions only met with partial success during the Revolution of 1789, leaving far too many residual traces of what they called the “old world,” the Vandals renewed their aggression after the Second World War (which, like WWI, likewise failed the revolutionary task), this time to attack the very idea of meaning itself found in the texts of that Western Canon and traditional philosophy.

To that end, the sabatouers launched a more precise assault on the structural unity of the texts of the Western canon, practically every line, positing that all such texts hid intolerable Oppression which buttressed the ideas and institutions which existed to pass on and perpetuate this Oppression.

In time, since victims of this so-called oppression were not easy to find because the civilization which the Vandals hated allowed people to happily prosper from generation to generation, new victims had to be constructed in their media. And so schools, churches, the family, women, sexual minorities, children, adherents of foreign religions, etc., were all declared to be the exploited vassals of The Enemy with no regard for the blessings these people enjoyed.

So for the first time all texts (except their own, of course) were reconstructed in the Orc media as being irreducibly complex, unstable, hidden most of all from the authors themselves, and then “unmasked” as being outright dangerous to the whole world. “No authors, No texts!” the banners exclaimed, “Only Your Oppressors!”

People scratched their heads.

But little by little all resisters to this Jibber Jabber were identified as likewise on the side of the Oppressors and publicly shamed, paraded in the streets, and finally banned in all “respectable” Orc media, until very many relented.

And the battle continues….

(Derrida caricature courtesy New York Review of Books)


“You ape, you assent to get the better of me. Hold your tongue; you won’t understand anything. If there is no God, then I am God.” — Fyodor Doestoevsky, Demons


Along somewhat related derivative lines, see also Won’t Someone Think of the Pronouns?

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