Tuesday, 31 January 2006

The International Journal of Boundless Idiocy

If, as some persons maintain, there is an infinity of universes, in the totality of which every possibility is an actuality, then we ought to think ourselves unfortunate that in our universe there is such a thing as the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, that world-wide bib for academic dribble. If we were to take this multiverse theory seriously, then we might believe that in at least one universe, this journal does not exist, and as such there is a person rather like me who enjoys a greater serenity, owing to his never having perused it. But all esoteric theories aside, here I am nevertheless in a state of having read therein the following words:
What I propose, in a nutshell, is that insofar as the quantum universe is “the more fundamental” and cartoons are fundamentally quantum in nature – providing singular exemplification that quantum mechanics operates everywhere – cartoons singularly exemplify and perform that “more fundamental” universe, the quantum universe – the universe “as such”. The nutty universe of animation is (isomorphic with) the nutty animation of the universe. [1]
Dr Cholodenko, the author of those words, may well wonder why physicists spend so much time fiddling around with complex mathematics, when an afternoon spent watching Bugs Bunny and friends can provide the “singular exemplification that quantum mechanics operates everywhere”. But Dr Cholodenko, Honorary Associate in the Department of Art History and Theory at The University of Sydney, is so confident in his understanding of quantum mechanics, an understanding that is no doubt deepened by watching Daffy Duck getting his bill blown round to the back of his head for the umpteenth time by Elmer Fudd’s shotgun, that he has seen fit to enlighten Professor Stephen Hawking on the true relevance of black holes:
I [have] proposed that [Prof. Hawking’s] formulation of the implosive effect of the black hole on Einstein’s general theory of relativity as it applies to the singularity of the Big Bang can be read in terms of Derridean deconstruction – the black hole deconstructs that theory – and in terms of Baudrillard’s notions of Seduction, Objective Irony, fatality – not only is the black hole fatal to itself and to the theory predicting it but the theory is itself fatal, fatal to what it describes, fatal to twentieth century physics, fatal even to itself, making the theory for me itself black hole, paradoxically, ironically, fulfilling itself in annihilating itself, and vice versa, suggesting that all theory is so – fatal theory – that not only seduces what it produces but seduces itself, such systematic desystematizing by systems of themselves a fatality for Baudrillard integral to all systems. These formulations and notions of Derrida and Baudrillard I posed in my letter to Hawking as key analogues of his, and his and [James] Hartle’s, formulations and notions. Alas, I got no letter back from Hawking; but I did get a nice note from his assistant. I guess Hawking regarded me as a “civilian”, which is itself telling in terms of my thesis. [2]
Anyone in the vicinity of Professor Hawking’s rooms in Cambridge on the day that letter arrived may have heard what sounded like a washing-machine on spin-cycle. That, however, was the sound of Professor Hawking laughing.
.....
[1] Alan Cholodenko, “The Nutty Universe of Animation, The “Discipline” of All “Disciplines”, And That’s Not All, Folks!International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Vol: 3:1, January 2006.
[2] Ibid.

9 comments:

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

I smell Harry Hutton.

This cannot be anything other than a spoof.

Deogolwulf said...

Sadly, it is not a spoof. Your incredulity at the sheer idiocy of some "scholars" may speak well of your character!

Dr Alan Cholodenko is a committed Baudrillardian. Have a look at his profile at the University of Sidney's website:

http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/departs/arthistory/index.php?page=staff&id=alacholo

Paul Cossins said...

This fellow from Sydney strikes me as an academic Elmer Fudd, confusedly blasting away with his double-barreled Theorygun, ever failing to hit any useful target.

PS My spam filter won't allow me to access the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. Either it is a very intelligent spam filter, or it is so deranged that it thinks we live in an alternate universe!

Deogolwulf said...

You'll have to let me know where you bought this discerning spam filter -- every computer should have one.

The Moai said...

I'm linking directly to this, henceforth. Reminds me of the Sokal Affair; a physicist sent a load of cliched post-modern bobbins to a similar journal and they published the whole lot. Just wonderful.

Deogolwulf said...

Maoi, thanks for the link. In such matters, it is indeed difficult to tell the difference between parody and earnestness - which is why Sokal could get his article published in the journal "Social Text" in the first place - because it was no more outrageous than many other articles in the postmodern publications. The only way we could tell it was parody was because the author himself revealed it to be such. Unlike Alan Sokal, however, Alan Cholodenko means it (as much as he can mean anything!).

Wyndham said...

I am liking this blog.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this....but sharing the same corridors as Alan at the University this past year has proven to be quite a physical workout. I find myself constantly ducking and weaving through out-of-the-way rooms and exits to avoid being pulled in by the gravity of his solipsistic monologues.

Alan's honourary position within Sydney University serves as a living reminder to all academic staff to practice, in conjunction with the pursuit of intellectual excellence, some humility. Alan's theorization of the black hole holds for himself: being lodged within his own arsehole has proven to be his fatal flaw. Such egocentricism tends to produce severe myopia...or maybe that's just the distortion caused by something else deconstructing itself...

Deogolwulf said...

That must be quite a chore. Cholodenko moans about me here. By the way, have you read Stove’s A Farewell to Arts?