"Give people a new word and they think they have a new fact." - Willa Cather
I knew I was in for it when I arrived and likely it's not as bad here are elsewhere. The theory, I mean. The kind of pseudo-philosophical talk--arguments made by referring to concepts or thinkers, where the concept or thinker himself is the justification of the argument. "It's what Foucault calls..." "Oh, yes, I agree with you now." Names become ways of hedging positions, defining communities, validating intelligence. I don't think I say anything here that isn't obvious...
I think what bothers me most is the idea that you can't say no to it. (There are gods you can't deny.) I don't know how best to describe it--though I think it happens in other fields as well. If you feel like these theoretical contortions are nonsense, you only banish yourself to Ignorance and Bad Taste (the way some look down on Billy Collins--me included). So, if you don't want to be one of those you must keep burning the incense, building the altars, even if you don't believe in it. In the end, somehow you must justify yourself. It is the unavoidable question because to avoid it is to answer it. And your validation as a Poet depends on your theories about Poetry (which sometimes eclipse the work, or make the work a kind of argument-by-example for a theory).
Worst of all, the whole thing is invisible. If you talk to any one person, you won't find it. You won't feel it. It's all around you--but you can't identify it. And sometimes you think it's just you and your hair-brained conspiracy theory because you're too cowardly and not confident enough to play with the big dogs. Like I said, you can't escape. You can't step out of it and walk around it.
Perhaps I mean something else altogether... maybe I'm talking about Language, or maybe Community. Or, to briefly list, the gods you can't deny: Money, Technology, Health, the Political, Sex, Work, Morality.
Guy de Maupassant
10 hours ago