the Foucauldian in the Leather Jacket

This little aside in Scott McLemee’s column made me laugh.

For better and for worse, the American reception of contemporary French thought has often followed a script that frames everything in terms of generational shifts. Lately, that has usually meant baby-boomer narcissism – as if the youngsters of ‘68 don’t have enough cultural mirrors already. Someone like Bernard-Henri Lévy, the roving playboy philosopher, lends himself to such branding without reserve. Most of his thinking is adequately summed up by a thumbnail biography – something like, “BHL was a young Maoist radical in 1968, but then he denounced totalitarianism, and started wearing his shirts unbuttoned, and the French left has never recovered.” Nor are American academics altogether immune to such prepackaged blendings of theory and lifestyle. Hey, you – the Foucauldian with the leather jacket that doesn’t fit anymore….Yeah, well, you’re complicit too.

Snicker, snort. I love that. ‘You’re complicit too.’ In fact I’d like a sweatshirt or bumper sticker with that on it.

Speaking of bumper stickers, a kind reader of B&W who is connected with the Bioliteracy Project at the University of Colorado at Boulder sent me a couple of bumper stickers that say: ‘Leave No Child Behind: TEACH EVOLUTION’. Life is good.

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