Last semester there was the seeming-eternal torture of The Class I Did Not Understand, this semester there is the weekly gauntlet of The Class That Is Technically Useful But Is As Much Fun As Having Sandpaper Rubbed Over Your Eyeballs. There’s always got to be one that sucks, I think it’s life’s way of including perspective in the day-to-day running of your existence. That, and finding the head of a cricket in your box of raspberries. You know, a gentle reminder that you might think you’re the big cheese on campus with your intellect and your having moved to America, and your Manhattan apartment that you talk about to everyone who will listen, to the point where they wish humans had never evolved speech… but you’re still not above having to pick disarticulated bug carcasses out of your fruit.
So here I sit, with a coffee the size of my right arm, and half a book about the history of thought between me and the latest episode of The Bridge. Yes, you read that right: the history of thought. At least, I think that’s what it’s about. Check it out.
“In the nineteenth century, philosophy was to reside in the gap between history and History, between events and the Origin, between evolution and the first rending open of the source, between oblivion and the Return. It will be Meta-physics, therefore, only in so far as it is Memory, and it will necessarily lead thought back to the question of knowing what it means for thought to have a history.”
… Um. What?
Now, I’m sure there are people lined up around the block to tell me Foucault is da Bomb, but I personally think capitalizing a word to give it a different meaning is the sneakiest form of cheating. And ‘between oblivion and the Return’ sounds like something out of T.S.Eliot. If you can’t find me, I’ll be firmly on the side of the fence with the people who think philosophy and modernist poetry don’t play well together. (Phew, how many metaphors can I cram into a sentence!?) That thing that he’s doing (prepare yourselves for a little showing off) where he starts every clause with ‘between,’ is called anaphora. It’s a rhetorical device designed to bring a sentence to a great big roaring crescendo of dramatic effect!… Unless of course you lose your reader somewhere around the idea of a ‘gap between history and History,’ when instead of crescendo you’ll get a kind of wet, feeble squeaking noise. It’s more like Foucault let go of a balloon he was blowing up and it went whizzing impotently around his head to land in a pointless latex heap on the carpet. Sorry Foucault.
What is with all this anthropomorphizing of concepts too? As if thought were a little old man and Meta-physics his dodgy sat nav, which he thinks is leading him to the greener grass, but actually just plonks him back on his own dismal doorstep at the nursing home for geriatric semantic movements. *Aaaand breathe* Here is why I’m still only on part I of the half we’ve been set after nesting in the library for about 4 hours. I find it so much more fun to articulate all the reasons I think Foucault is a booby, than to actually apply myself to figuring out what his point is. So many of my past teachers would roll their eyes until they could see their brain if they read this. Not to mention the professor who set the text in the first place! I’m pretty sure analogies about google maps and The Wasteland were not what she had in mind.
On that note, better get back to it. There’s a section on economics coming up… anyone who’s ever tried to calculate a restaurant bill with me will know how well I’m going to handle that. Can’t wait 🙂
Bye for now.