Readability

Narrative Treatment

by baldilocks

I’m read­ing many pieces writ­ten by those who explain things much bet­ter than I can. So, I’m just going to pass one of these essays along. This one, Why I No Longer Iden­tify as a Fem­i­nist, demon­strates the Coconut Treat­ment in action.

Peo­ple are often con­fused about what post­mod­ernism is and what it has to do with fem­i­nism. Very sim­plis­ti­cally, it was an aca­d­e­mic shift pio­neered by Jean-​Francois Lyotard and Jean Bau­drillard which denied that reli­able knowl­edge could ever be attained and claimed that mean­ing and real­ity them­selves had bro­ken down. It rejected large, over­ar­ch­ing expla­na­tions (meta-​narratives) which included reli­gion but also sci­ence, and replaced them with sub­jec­tive, rel­a­tive accounts (mini-​narratives) of the expe­ri­ences of an indi­vid­ual or sub-​cultural group. These ideas gained great cur­rency in the human­i­ties and social sci­ences and so became both an artis­tic move­ment and a social “the­ory.” They rejected the val­ues of uni­ver­sal lib­er­al­ism, the meth­ods of sci­ence and the use of rea­son and crit­i­cal think­ing as the way to deter­mine truth and form ethics. Indi­vid­u­als could now have not only their own moral truths but their own epis­te­mo­log­i­cal ones. The expres­sion “It’s true for me” encap­su­lates the ethos of post­mod­ernism. To claim to know any­thing to be objec­tively true (no mat­ter how well-​evidenced) is to assert a meta-​narrative and to “dis­re­spect” the con­trary views of oth­ers which is oppres­sive (even if those views are clearly non­sense.) The word “sci­en­tism” was cre­ated for the view that evi­dence and test­ing are the best way to estab­lish truths.

At its height, post­mod­ernism as an artis­tic move­ment pro­duced non-​chronological, plot­less lit­er­a­ture and pre­sented uri­nals as art. In social the­ory, post­mod­ernists “decon­structed” every­thing con­sid­ered true and pre­sented all as mean­ing­less. How­ever, hav­ing done this, there was nowhere else to go and noth­ing more to say. In the realm of social jus­tice, noth­ing can be accom­plished unless we accept that cer­tain peo­ple in a cer­tain place expe­ri­ence cer­tain dis­ad­van­tages. For this, a sys­tem of real­ity needs to exist, and so new the­o­ries of gen­der and race and sex­u­al­ity began to emerge com­prised of mini-​narratives. These cat­e­gories were held to be cul­tur­ally con­structed and con­structed hier­ar­chi­cally to the detri­ment of women, peo­ple of color and LGBTs. Iden­tity was paramount.

Read the whole thing and real­ize that this treat­ment – this hol­low­ing out of objec­tive truth – is a long game and can be likened to build­ing a tower, one con­structed of lies. We are all the pawns.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

I’m reading many pieces written by those who explain things much better than I can. So, I’m just going to pass one of these essays along. This one, Why I No Longer Identify as a Feminist, demonstrates the Coconut Treatment in action.

People are often confused about what postmodernism is and what it has to do with feminism. Very simplistically, it was an academic shift pioneered by Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard which denied that reliable knowledge could ever be attained and claimed that meaning and reality themselves had broken down. It rejected large, overarching explanations (meta-narratives) which included religion but also science, and replaced them with subjective, relative accounts (mini-narratives) of the experiences of an individual or sub-cultural group. These ideas gained great currency in the humanities and social sciences and so became both an artistic movement and a social “theory.” They rejected the values of universal liberalism, the methods of science and the use of reason and critical thinking as the way to determine truth and form ethics. Individuals could now have not only their own moral truths but their own epistemological ones. The expression “It’s true for me” encapsulates the ethos of postmodernism. To claim to know anything to be objectively true (no matter how well-evidenced) is to assert a meta-narrative and to “disrespect” the contrary views of others which is oppressive (even if those views are clearly nonsense.) The word “scientism” was created for the view that evidence and testing are the best way to establish truths.

At its height, postmodernism as an artistic movement produced non-chronological, plotless literature and presented urinals as art. In social theory, postmodernists “deconstructed” everything considered true and presented all as meaningless. However, having done this, there was nowhere else to go and nothing more to say. In the realm of social justice, nothing can be accomplished unless we accept that certain people in a certain place experience certain disadvantages. For this, a system of reality needs to exist, and so new theories of gender and race and sexuality began to emerge comprised of mini-narratives. These categories were held to be culturally constructed and constructed hierarchically to the detriment of women, people of color and LGBTs. Identity was paramount.

Read the whole thing and realize that this treatment–this hollowing out of objective truth–is a long game and can be likened to building a tower, one constructed of lies. We are all the pawns.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!