Consummate dilettantism!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's History!

But in spite of Said's insistence on a reading of Michael Foucault that situates discursive formations in historical processes of institutional domination and hegemony, much recent critical theory has merely gestured toward history -- no sooner completing the gesture than appropriating history to support ahistorical -- and even antihistorical -- readings of texts.
What is this shit? Nonsense Marxist poststructuralist garbage, that's what; I'm so tired of this pseudo-intellectual "historiography" business. Such readings go on endlessly about these ridiculous theories that are so evidently irrelevant to objective history -- shut up already! Study history, not historiography! Study society, not sociology! Of course bias exists -- it's hardly news. The best we can do is to try to surmount it as far as we are able, not to write ceaseless diatribes about how it renders any proper study of history impossible. And don't you dare tell me there is no such thing as history: Things happen in the past. Your task as a historian is to record them as best you can. Do feel free to add a little flavor, though. Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days of flagrantly racist and gleefully partisan history books; they're a blast to read! This trash? Not only is it completely unrelated to history or anything else, it's also extremely tedious and not worth anyone's time. I'd take Nicolás Monardes over Foucalt any day of the week:
[...when they wished to] make themselves drunk and [...] out of judgment [they chewed a mixture of tobacco and coca leaves which ...] make them go as they were out of their wittes [...]
Fun, fun, fun! See why people did history once? There was no "history" -- history was a doctor writing about coca chewing, a missionary writing about his travels. I think a good bit of contemporary drivel of the type above can be traced to the academization of history, for when your job is contingent on how seriously you take yourself and how much you publish (and how many "novel theories" you can come up with), the incentives to create pretentious noise greatly multiply.

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