Wednesday, October 8, 2008

$70 Worth of Five Dollar Words

I ran across this charming passage on a section of the ACLA website titled Diasporan Ecofeminisms: Towards a Nomadology of Eco-Ethical Resistance:

As contemporary ecofeminist scholarship asserts, the trajectory of globalization is predicated on an inherently patriarchal ethos that creates environmentally racist and misogynistic geopolitical spaces, spaces that systematically divide the population according to racial and gendered hierarchies. Consequently, it is essential we expose the corporate geopolitical hegemonies that are causal to the worldwide spread of human suffering and environmental destruction.

This isn't just bad writing, it's also untrue. The global emergence of free markets is probably the most efficacious antiracist, antimisogynist phenomenon on the planet right now. If "contemporary ecofeminists" did any serious, competent field work, they would find that the vast majority of indigenous populations have the same kinds of racial and gendered hierarchies as the rest of us. Environmental pollution and destruction of biodiversity are indeed worrisome, but history has shown that non-market systems (e.g. Chinese and European socialism) tend to be even worse for the environment--at least in market economies efficiency is profitable. Regardless, such a opaque, jargon-heavy style virtually guarantees that no one but "contemporary ecofeminist scholar[s]" will take this gobbledygook seriously.

John Brockman, in short piece titled Edge: The Third Culture, predicts that the traditional literary intellectual will soon become marginalized to the point of irrelevancy. Given the current state of affairs in literary theory and criticism, it's not hard to see why.

(Image from

No comments: