Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What do we want? More Russian structuralism! When do we want it? Now!

Lawyers. Doctors. Politicians. Have you ever noticed, these people are hogging all the news? And the occasional atomic physicist and potato farmer, but mostly the first three, because yes, if you break the law you go to jail, if you get sick it's probably a doctor who will stop you from dying, and it's going to be a politician who is in charge of the multinational missile defence strategy that could end in us all horribly dying if he makes the wrong decision. But I mean, seriously, we've heard all this stuff before.

You know what I want to see more of on the news? Literature academics with an expertise in structuralist narrative theory! Epistemological philosophers with a groundbreaking interpretation of Kant! Piccolo players specialising in obscure 12-tone works by Schoenberg and Boulez! The exclamation marks are coming after their names because these are all exciting people with exciting things to say but most of all because the lawyers, doctors, politicians and other boring experts in boring expert fields are taking up all the air time and it's just not FAIR.

Think about it: "There are reports of a shattering new historiographical analysis of Vladimir Propp's structural theories about fairytale narrative, and to find out more about this we'll cross live to...." There would be riots in the street if this news got out! There would be broken windows and angry men burning cars and calling on the government to do something about it somehow, or at least they would if anybody knew what "a historiographical analysis of Vladimir Propp's structural theories" actually meant, that is, apart from the academic about to be interviewed. And what about poor old piccolo players with a love for mid-20th century atonal works? When do they get their riots? Where are the tabloid stories breaking the latest news about epistemological analysis into the works of Immanuel Kant, the top-level international talks held to resolve the ensuing philosophical crisis, the simmering tensions threatening to break out into an all out philosophical disagreement, the continuing negotiations between conflicting parties while the world watches biting its nails and there are interviews with Kantians, neo-Kantians, post-Kantians, and all manner of philosophical cogitators, ponderers, meditators, and what not.

I really think the news media is missing out on the big story here. I'll bet there's a riot any day now to sort this all out....

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