Re: text and links some might like to see

From: Jim Rovira <>
Date: Sun Feb 02 2003 - 10:51:53 EST

Yeah, Robbie, I really need to run over there and read the Chomsky link as you
suggest before I reply again. I'm pretty sure I saved your e-mail. If I
deleted it, please bear with me when I e-mail you again asking for it.

I have the time for that.

I will say the "obscurity" of Derrida's writing (I'm putting the word
"obscurity" in quotation marks to identify it as someone else's idea. I'm not
questioning that Derrida can indeed be obscure) is part of Derrida's project. I
think this has come up before...some time ago. I don't recall if I mentioned
that in my last reply to you.

Derrida's work is a critique of language and its support of ethnocentrism in
western thinking. But, in order to make this critique, he has to use the same
language -- be guilty of playing the same game, so to speak. He knows that and
has said so himself, and in Of Grammatology he anticipates a future criticism
that will deconstruct him because his deconstruction of the western tradition
exists within the western tradition.

So I think he's obscure partially because he's trying to write differently, to
write using a decentered language rather than the rational, phallologcentric
(deep down, I want to apologize for using this word :) ) western discourse we're
all used to.

His obscurity, like his lack of "scholarship," is part of the point, in other

I think Derrida needs to be critiqued on his own terms to be critiqued
properly. The little bit I've heard makes it sound as if he is being critiqued
in terms of the critics' prior commitments, and not on Derrida's own terms.
Critiques along these lines are essentially saying, "I don't like him because he
disagrees with me." Well, of course, but why is he obligated to? I need to
read the link you provided to see if Chomsky did that. I already know to expect
it to be shooting from the hip -- I'll try to focus on the content of his


PS Yeah, I know you weren't using the letter as "points against" Derrida. In
the article in which it was first cited on this list, it certainly was being
used that way.

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Received on Sun Feb 2 10:51:47 2003

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