International Art English
Posted: 28 January 2013 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This is an account of a paper stirring up the art world, apparently. Extract:

Through Sketch Engine, Rule and Levine found that “the real” – used as a portentous, would-be philosophical abstract noun – occurred “179 times more often” in IAE than in standard English. In fact, in its declarative, multi-clause sentences, and in its odd combination of stiffness and swagger, they argued that IAE “sounds like inexpertly translated French”. This was no coincidence, they claimed, having traced the origins of IAE back to French post-structuralism and the introduction of its slippery ideas and prose style into American art writing via October, the New York critical journal founded in 1976. Since then, IAE had spread across the world so thoroughly that there was even, wrote Rule and Levine, an “IAE of the French press release ... written, we can only imagine, by French interns imitating American interns imitating American academics imitating French academics”.

Sketch Engine and collocation dictionaries, what’s it all about?

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Posted: 28 January 2013 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It sounds to me an awful lot like the language of literary criticism. (I know nothing about IAE, having never read much about modern art, but I had no trouble interpreting the samples in the article.)

The language of Lit Crit can be immensely powerful and economical in the hands of clear-thinking writers who have firm a grasp of their topic. Indeed, it’s almost impossible to engage in the dialogue of criticism while avoiding the jargon. But, in the hands of lesser academics, it can be used to obfuscate muddled thinking, hide nonsense, and make the banal sound profound.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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On the other hand, postmodernism-bashing is getting pretty old and tired by now.

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Posted: 28 January 2013 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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OTOOH, postmodernism is necessarily older and arguably just as tired (or more so).

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Posted: 28 January 2013 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Oh, absolutely, and I’m the last person to leap to its defense.  But even though I enjoy reading a good takedown by, say, Terry Eagleton, much postmodernism-bashing is based on precisely the same sort of smug ignorance that produces the “my five-year-old child could do better than that” response to modern art, and it makes me want to give Derrida another try.

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Posted: 01 February 2013 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Eventually the postmodern Theorists started to attract the attention of experts in the disciplines into which they had strayed. Linguists looked at their linguistics and found it littered with elementary errors. Derrida, for example, repeatedly confused the sign as a whole with the signifier and so have his many hundreds of thousands of obedient disciples. This error is one of the cornerstones of his work. Other linguists were amused by the Derrideans’ ignorance of linguistics outside of Saussure—this ignorance perhaps strengthening their confidence in their ability to pronounce on the whole of language.

from a review of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont’s
Intellectual Impostures: Postmodern Philosophers’ Abuse of Science.

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