Saturday, February 12, 2005

The nonsense generator

So there I am, suitably puzzled by the definition of 'deconstruction' on It's that time of the year when I want to educate myself in an accelerated burst rather than the slow learning that is so much more comfortable. So I ask Amit Varma, once-boss now-friend, what the heck it means. With a dismissive wave of the hand and that squinty look (he doesn't know his nose does this strange compression thing where it becomes all wrinkled when he doesn't like something), he says, "all nonsense", which breaks my heart. I had spent half an hour trying to figure out this sentence:
The central move of a deconstructive analysis is to look at binary oppositions within a text (for instance, maleness and femaleness, or homosexuality and heterosexuality) and to show how, instead of describing a rigid set of categories, the two opposing terms are actually fluid and impossible to separate fully. The conclusion from this, generally, is that the categories do not actually exist in any rigid or absolute sense.
So basically, what I 'understood' was that deconstructionism was supposed to make things grey purposely. It sounded profound, and I wondered if I had missed a trick somewhere. You know, like, perhaps I hadn't matured enough as a thinker to understand this deep thought. But then Amit - may the god of atheists bless him - introduces me to this writer who makes sense of all this rubbish by saying that a lot of this stuff is unintelligble because it's basically all fluff; there's nothing concrete behind these big words and confusing language. Which kind of makes sense to me. I used that ploy in advertising to sell an idea I thought would clearly not work.

While reading all this, I came across something called 'The Postmodern Generator'. It's this nonsense machine that creates a nonsense essay everytime you hit the 'reload' button. I love it. Here's something it threw up on - I love this - ' Subtextual cultural theory in the works of Gaiman':
It could be said that the characteristic theme of the works of Gaiman is the bridge between class and society. The subject is contextualised into a subtextual cultural theory that includes consciousness as a whole.
But my subconscious being conflicted with external internalities implying a malfunction of confident behavioural patterns.

An inner voice pleads with its possessor to halt this immediately.

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