Yet another article about how sick everyone in the humanities is of theory. It's funny. I thought that Foucault and Derrida and the rest were both pretty boring when I read them, and so I stopped. But, apparently, the 70s generation just loved that stuff.
But, where can you go once you've adopted their ideas? Apparently, straight into a rut.
"For, while Theory has become a humdrum intellectual matter within the humanities and a nonexistent or frivolous one without, it has indeed acquired a professional prestige that is as strong as ever. This is the paradox of its success, and failure."
The paradox of the the success and failure of humanities departments in general is that we have achieved a "professional prestige" that is totally suitable for the corporate world, but which makes no sense whatsoever in the intellectual world. Theories are like blue chip stocks- everyone wants them, but nobody can explain just why. They're yuppie prestige items for the sort of people who scoff at yuppie prestige items.
“What are they talking about?” she asked.
“Is there any new theory?”
“Yeah, in a way,” he answered. “It’s called ‘erudition.’”
“What’s that?” she wondered.
“Well, you read and read, and you get your languages, and you go into politics, religion, law, contemporary events, and just about everything else.” (He’s a 16th-century French literature scholar who comes alive in archives.)
She was puzzled. “But what’s the theory?”
“To be honest, there isn’t any theory,” he said.
“That’s impossible.” He shrugged. “Okay, then, give me the names, the people heading it.”
“There aren’t any names. Nobody’s heading it.”