Friday, July 29, 2005

"Never let the facts...

... get in the way of a good theory" is one of my favorite catchphrases to pull out in academic settings, generally reserved for when someone is confronted with a fact in conflict with their theory and, rather than explain it away, they simply ignore it. The amount of irony with which I imbue the phrase depends largely on how much I like the person or the theory.

I've been reading Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving, and it is rather like the girl in the nursery rhyme: "When she was good, she was very, very good; when she was bad, she was awful." I found this bold application of my catchphrase:

"According to the great and decisive discoveries of Bachofen and Morgan in the middle of the nineteenth century, and in spite of the rejection their findings have found in most academic circles, there can be little doubt that there was a matriarchal phase of religion preceding the patriarchal one, at least in many cultures" (54, emphasis mine).

Heh heh ... I love it. First he acknowledges that what he is about to state has been nearly universally rejected, then he audaciously claims that there can be "little doubt," without even making overtures at presenting evidence in support of his claim. It might be poor scholarship, but he gets an A+ in chutzpah.

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