Obscurantisme Terroriste

With Derrida, you can hardly misread him, because he’s so obscure.
Every time you say, “He says so and so,” he always says, “You misunderstood
me.” But if you try to figure out the correct interpretation, then that’s not
so easy. I once said this to Michel Foucault, who was more hostile to Derrida
even than I am, and Foucault said that Derrida practiced the method of
obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism). We were speaking
French. And I said, “What the hell do you mean by that?” And he said, “He
writes so obscurely you can’t tell what he’s saying, that’s the obscurantism
part, and then when you criticize him, he can always say, ‘You didn’t
understand me; you’re an idiot.’ That’s the terrorism part.” And I like that.
So I wrote an article about Derrida. I asked Michel if it was OK if I quoted
that passage, and he said yes.

From an interview with John Searle

7 thoughts on “Obscurantisme Terroriste

  1. He’s just mad about Ltd Inc ABC. Now that Derrida is dead he can engage directly.
    One could say similar things about John “the mind is conscious in the same way water is wet” Searle. He’s vague and suggestive where Derrida is complex and elusive, but both can be ascribed wildly divergent interpretations. Except Searle’s Construction of Social Reality, which has no meaning that I was able to discover.
    But I’m more mad at him for being such an evil revanchist during the Berkeley canon wars.

  2. I loves me some John Searle. This tidbit from the interview is why I always wanted to hide behind the shrubs and throw crabapples at the back of Derrida’s head when he passed by. God, he was such snarly bastard.
    Mmm. I’m having warm fuzzy flashbacks to university, before law school made me stupid. Thank you for posting this.

  3. God, theorists are CAMP
    Was Foucault stroking a tiny weeny microscopic handbag when he said ‘That’s the terrorism part’? And then with the other hand pointing like Mick Jagger?

  4. Foucault was dead-on.
    Chomsky knew it, Searle knew it, Foucault knew it; Derrida is full of…


    “himself,” let’s say, to be nice.
    I myself admit to being an ivory tower academic, but Derrida is just the kind of pissant who likes to count how many angels can fit on the tip of a needle, using the most obscure terminology that he can muster.
    Obscurantisme terroriste.

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