Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Some of them want to use you, some of them want to be used by you

In the last thread liliha said I've begun to assume that an idea is bogus until proven true, at least with authors who don't appear to be making any effort to make themselves clear. I don't mind difficult ideas or even difficult language--there is usually something to be learned from trying to decipher the obscure--but I've had it with people who hide bad ideas, or even good ones, behind unnecessarily big words and complex sentences.

I'd be interested whether you agree with me about the meaning and clarity of an example by your friend and mine, queen of the complex sentence - Judith Butler.

A bit of context. I was thinking about why religious leaders (popes, puritans, mullahs and televangelists) spend so much energy on attacking sexual expression. Yesterday I read a blog by a biologist who said it was typical primate dominance behaviour: the leading male in a group tries to repress and control reproduction among other members of the group. It's possible that's the explanation, but I think it's more to do with power relations. The control of sex is a very strong expression of control, so it emphasises and strengthens political dominance relationships, up to a point of repression at which it collapses.

Back to the academic nonsense. Ophelia Benson writes a sharply sceptical blog, and she's ripping into academic writing here. There are some great examples of bullshit, including, cited in the comments, this one from Judith Butler.

The object of repression is not the desire it takes to be its ostensible object, but the multiple configurations of power itself, the very plurality of which would displace the seeming universality and necessity of the juridical or repressive law. In other words, desire and its repression are an occasion for the consolidation of juridical structures; desire is manufactured and forbidden as a ritual symbolic gesture whereby the juridical model exercises and consolidates its own power."

I think she's thinking what I was thinking, and I don't think the language is incomprehensible, but I think it's unnecessarily difficult. What do you think?
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