Orthodoxy, Chapter 8(b)

Please remember that this evening we are reading through Chapter 8, “The Romance of Orthodoxy.” Chesterton introduces the theme of this chapter by observing that modern intellectuals prefer to use long words and convoluted sentence structures because they are lazy and wish to avoid real thought. Chesterton’s critique reminded me of an article written by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at NYU, who likewise sought to prove the same observation Chesterton made. In his article entitled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” Sokal argues that gravity is merely a social and linguistic construct and the product of Eurocentric cultural values and power relations. The article was accepted and published by Duke University’s “Social Text” which holds itself out as an academic journal of post-modern studies. In other words, through the use of appropriate buzzwords, jargon, and complex sentences, the best and brightest sociologist published an article that argued gravity did not exist.  The article itself is HERE A few discussions of what this means are here, here, and here.  

Dinner is at 6. The menu is Southern ham and cornbread casserole with greens. If you haven’t read please come anyway. And remember, use short words during tonight’s discussion.

It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. . . . The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word “damn” than in the word “degeneration.”

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