This e-mail pops up in the listserv, in response to a flurry of posts about the somewhat shady personal life of the Marxist philosopher Althusser:
To the distinguished graduates of —–,
T—— K——- (’05) here. I will attempt brevity.
I enjoy our listserv. I like to know about job opportunities and other networking perks like sublets and homeless cats.
But, in this recent, obtuse thread of anti-intellectualism am I perhaps missing the, ahem, irony?
I have never before heard of Tony Lundt. However, I am now well appraised that he is notable for criticizing Althusser. Thanks for the email alerting me to the fact! It will no doubt provide a useful footnote for the future!
As far the ‘insane, wife-killer’ bit: my 24-year old compatriots and I chuckled about that too. At the pub. When we were over-worked and bemused. With the intellectual challenges of our chosen program of study. Not in any seriousness. Not when the evaluation of ideas was on the table.
I hope my snap interpretation isn’t true: that there are holes in the M—- pedagogy that make engagement with critical theory a matter of taste (a la Lore Siblerman) or a matter of contextually inappropriate demonization (a la T—– O—–; French Philosopher c. 1950 = Yugoslavia c. 1999???).
Even worse is the thought that the lumpenbourgeois pseudo-intellectuals with access to a fine program like M—- may have simply excepted the divine Fukyama (and his company of later-day saints) as their lord and savoir.
Whether or not you were dedicated enough to engage with his ideas in between bullshitting about the Magnetic Fields, updating your ipod playlist, and checking out that *new tapas restaurant you’ve heard so much about*, you cannot avoid the fact that Louis Althusser was a vastly influential thinker. His work cleared the way for countless other thinkers and lines of thought, to name a few: Foucault, ergo queer theory; Mulvey, ergo feminist film theory; the list could go on nearly endlessly in the fields of cultural studies, anthropology, and sociology.
Thanks for the quick tee-hee, guys, but I hope some of you out there join me in my disappointment.
~T—— K——-, ——-’05