Flashback

Fashionable nonsense has been with us since the time that prehistoric man first transcribed Of Grammatology on to the walls of the Lascaux caves. Here we cast an eye back at some historical highlights.


A Moral Argument for Atheism *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Slaughter of innocents, human sacrifice, eternal torture – it’s all there.… Read the rest



Norman Levitt on Kennewick Man. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

NAGPRA is a well-intentioned piece of legislation that has grown into a monster of anti-scientific bias.… Read the rest



Stanley Fish Defends Postmodernism *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Terrorists, freedom fighters, fundamentalists, postcolonialism, the Enlightenment – all contested, as usual. … Read the rest



Frank Lentricchia takes it all back. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘When I grew up and became a literary critic, I learned to keep silent about the reading experiences of liberation that I’d enjoyed since childhood.’… Read the rest



You Mean Movie Characters Aren’t Real People? *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

No it’s not just an accident that the character who gets Tom Hanks killed in Saving Private Ryan is both an intellectual and a coward. Spielberg is making a point, a bad point, and we need to pay attention.… Read the rest



Melvin Konner takes on the opponents of sociobiology. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Biologists who had done no primary research in human sciences nevertheless issued anathemas on it.… Read the rest



The Great Convergence *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Beware of neo-Deistic pseudoreligion.… Read the rest



Polly Toynbee on Religious Hatred Laws *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Confusing religion and race is a clever trap the religious have laid for a worried government rightly anxious about race. … Read the rest



Hitchens on Contrarianism *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘Among his many weapons are a forensic curiosity, a vast learning, a savage wit, a commanding intellect, an international perspective and a moral authority that is built on something sturdier than cheap moralising.’… Read the rest



NAGPRA and the Demon-haunted World *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

NAGPRA proceeds from an antievolutionary perspective grounded in fundamentalist religious belief.… Read the rest



Katha Pollitt on Multiculturalism and Women. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘A Russian, an Italian, could not justify beating his wife to death by referring to the customs of dear old Moscow or Calabria’… Read the rest



Scott McLemee on Orwell *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Prose as a window-pane opens onto a reality that is solidly and visibly ‘out there.’… Read the rest



Richard Dawkins’ review of Not in Our Genes *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

In their ‘paranoiac and demonological theology of science’ Lewontin, Kamin and Rose fire both barrels with equal monotony and imprecision: ‘determinism’ and ‘reductionism’. But the gallant little fire brigade has perpetrated a fatuous little book.… Read the rest



Urvashi Butalia on ‘honour’ killing. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Women’s groups demand that murderers be treated according to laws of the land and not be allowed to find shelter behind the curtain of ‘culture’. … Read the rest



Dwight Macdonald *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘…all but a fraction of his own writing molders unattended in America’s used bookstores. Like the New York Intellectuals with whom he was associated…he is referenced more often than read, a sad fate for a critic who wrote so much, so well and with such wit and insight.’… Read the rest



Paul Boghossian on the Sokal Hoax. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘To concede that no one ever believes something solely because it’s true is not to deny that anything is objectively true.’… Read the rest



So Sylvia Plath was a Poet? *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

‘Death and marriage may have fed and fuelled her writing, but – posthumously at least – they cramp her style.’… Read the rest



Norman Geras on Minimum Utopia *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

The facts of widespread human privation and those of political oppression and atrocity are available to all who want them.… Read the rest



Why Lit-crits want economists to sound more like lit-crits. *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Paul Krugman draws an interesting parallel with Stephen Jay Gould.… Read the rest



Yale as a Place Where Language Goes to Die *

Apr 10th, 2010 | Filed by

Helena Echlin on the misery of being a PhD candidate in English and American literature at Yale. She has to stifle her urge to write ‘eh?’ in the margins, discovers that obfuscation is de rigeur, and that people who talk nonsense are now looked upon not as sloppy thinkers, but as sages.… Read the rest