Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont (1998)

I was attempting to read some non-Kryptos material but it turns out this one was eminently relevant in several ways. Hard to resist the above jab at peer review when talking about a piece by Sokal.

#1 is the analysis of Jean Baudrillard in the context of a greater analysis of postmodern epistemic relativism publications.  After reading about the Gulf War and then reading this book about Parisian literary influences/trends, I’ve come to the conclusion that Baudrillard was right in my opinion about how sleazy the Gulf War (1.0) was and has a sort of literary genius but basically just re-imagined La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu, fused it with his own previous efforts on what is real and then coated it with a heavy dose of bullshittery and borrowed words.  It doesn’t negate that he said things that needed to be said but he hides his incisive criticisms behind a smokescreen of postmodern bullshit and concept-stealing that wows a crowd of philosopher sociologists for the wrong reasons and keeps most normal folks from enjoying it.

#2 Is how I was slowly brought in on the joke of postmodernism and how it has permeated our culture and thoughts.  Useful?  Yes.  Over-used and taken too far to the point where it fosters anti-intellectualism?  Yes.  Completely irrelevant for Kryptos?  Yes.  Now I understand why someone can reach the conclusion that John Wilson did that he had solved and that because it was true to him then it was a truth of Kryptos and that we can all reach our own, relative solutions of Kryptos.  This is in direct contrast to the notion that there is in fact only 1 true solution of the cipher.  I’m not saying that once someone has the complete, deciphered text in front of them that they are then entitled to their own exegesis.

#3  Be careful when mixing disciplines and borrowing terminology with the intent to borrow prestige and cover over a banal or false message with an overabundance of highly technical terms and concepts.  I thought this was a very valid warning to sociologists who are trying to import other fields into theirs and a decent indirect warning about folks who try to port sociology into another field (like intelligence although Gill and Phythian do a great job in their effort).

In the end, for anyone who reads my posts and pages, I am at times guilty of playing with the thesaurus but hopefully never in a malevolent or deceitful way.  If you see anything dubious please call me out on it and I’ll go back and fix it.

Kryptosfan

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