3 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2022
    1. What if explanations resorting automatically to power, society, discourse had outlived their usefulness and deteriorated to the point of now feeding the most gullible sort of critique?8 Maybe I am taking conspiracy theories too seriously, but it worries me to detect, in those mad mixtures of knee‐jerk disbelief, punctilious demands for proofs, and free use of powerful explanation from the social neverland many of the weapons of social critique. Of course conspiracy theories are an absurd deformation of our own arguments, but, like weapons smuggled through a fuzzy border to the wrong party, these are our weapons nonetheless. In spite of all the deformations, it is easy to recognize, still burnt in the steel, our trademark: Made in Criticalland.

      Are earlier tools of critiqueing obsolete, and now misused by conspiracyfantasists? Criticism as instrument vs criticism as rejection/avoiding change? The first is part of a theory of change, so what's the other, theory of stasis? Sounds too neutral, it's more destructive than that. Not moving is also a move, in the face or urgencies, usually in the wrong direction. Note this paper is from 2004! Since the early pandemic this is more pertinent in our everyday lives

    2. What’s the real difference between conspiracists and a popularized, that is a teachable version of social critique inspired by a too quick reading of, let’s say, a sociologist as eminent as Pierre Bourdieu (to be polite I will stick with the French field commanders)? In both cases, you have to learn to become suspicious of everything people say because of course we all know that they live in the thralls of a complete illusio of their real motives. Then, after disbelief has struck and an explanation is requested for what is really going on, in both cases again it is the same appeal to powerful agents hidden in the dark acting always consistently, continuously, relentlessly. Of course, we in the academy like to use more elevated causes—society, discourse, knowledge‐slash‐power, fields of forces, empires, capitalism—while conspiracists like to portray a miserable bunch of greedy people with dark intents, but I find something troublingly similar in the structure of the explanation, in the first movement of disbelief and, then, in the wheeling of causal explanations coming out of the deep dark below.

      How to make the difference between the doubting academics do and the conspiracyfantasists do clear?

  2. Apr 2017
    1. We would be left floundering in conflicting nonsensical schemes if we accepted all the views that we can't really disprove.

      Booth quotes Russell a lot, so I'll link Russell's teapot here. Basically, maybe there's a teapot orbiting the Earth? But if a believer in that teapot was trying to persuade someone to believe in the teapot, the burden of proof is to prove it, not disprove it.