Monday, November 06, 2006

Confusing Textbooks.

I could tell it was going to be a bad day when I opened my textbook to begin my required reading, to be confronted by the following introductory paragraph:

‘Unless we limit ourselves naively – or perhaps strategically – to some kind of limited or marginal issue, it is indeed precisely philosophical discourse that we have to challenge, and disrupt, inasmuch as this discourse sets forth the law for all others, inasmuch as it constitutes the discourse on discourse.’

Now. I do hope I can accurately and succinctly represent the thematic essence of yours and my own thoughts when I say WTF?

Perhaps the next paragraph will make everything clear.

‘Thus we have had to go back to it in order to try to find out what accounts for the power of it’s systemacity, the force of it’s cohesion, the resourcefulness of it’s strategies, the general applicability of its law and its value. That is, its position of mastery, and of potential reappropriation of the various productions of history.’

...

Third time lucky.

‘How can we introduce ourselves into such a tightly woven systematicity?’

Oh I hear you. I hear you.

Maybe not.

I am afraid. I am very afraid. I am meant to be reading rather a large number of pages on the application of feminism where the criticism of literature is concerned. All well and good. But the thing is, I don’t understand a bleeding word of it. Feminism has never been this scary. I’m tempted to make some joke in poor taste about this mere textbook that I hold before me being even more scary than large radical feminists with access to man-seeking weapons, but now I am just too scared.

I have read the first five pages, and been nicely baffled by sentences such as –

‘Re – semblance cannot do without red blood.’

‘That elsewhere of female pleasure might rather be sought first in the place where it sustains ek-stasy in the transcendental.’

‘We would have to ascertain whether “touching oneself” that (self) touching, the desire for the proximate rather than for (the) proper(ty), and so on, might not imply a mode of exchange irreducible to any centering, any centerism, given the way the “self touching” of female “self affection” comes into play as rebounding from one to the other without any possibility of interruption and given that, in this interplay, proximity confounds any adequation, any appropriation.'


Oh come now. I am utterly convinced that half of those words are not real. Sometimes, partway through a sentence, I get a brief, uplifting moment of what can only be described as sheer joy as I finally understand the sentiments of the sentence. But this is short lived, for as soon as I read a word such as ‘proper(ty)’ or ‘recto-verso’ or ‘irredicible’ (?) (and my personal favourite) ‘teleological’ (?!) then I sink once more into a thankfully metaphorical pit of confusion combined with feelings of educational inadequacy.

This textbook is bluddy confusing. I do hope that the next chapter is a little clearer.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Soapy said...

It's got to be a joke? I mean... that's like the textbook from hell.

Someone writing that must surely realise how ridiculous it sounds?

10:19 am  
Blogger Charlie said...

I bet they think they sound clever. Hah, says I. Hah!

7:50 pm  
Anonymous Lizzie said...

Wow, that's astonishingly poorly written! Are you reading this for your dissertation? I tried to read Mikhail Bakhtin's seminal work on Narrative for my dissertation 5 times, in the end I gave up and stuck it in the bibliography so they would believe I had read it. Didn't hold me back ;-)

7:11 pm  
Blogger The Raevyn said...

I am very grateful to say that I am not studying this here abuse of the English language for my dissertation, if I was I would not last five minutes!

It's good to stick random things into bibliographies that you haven't read to get credit! In some essays I have written, they wanted us to have five things in our bibliography, even if we did not use five sources. So naturally, the only sensible thing to do was to wander around the English section of the library, going 'Eeeny, meeny, miny, mo...' which of course we all did.

7:16 pm  
Anonymous DV said...

*aims shotgun*

...put it down...

...and step away from the Raevyn...

12:35 am  

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