Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mourier Introduced

For those who don't understand the context of this post, you can read more about the Mourier hoax here.

Below is the first e-mail in which a colleague referenced the fictional Mourier. He was responding to a post by "Joe," who was in on the joke. The "JD" here is Jacques Derrida. The "GW" stands for "George W. Bush," since the whole exchange started as a reading of picture of Bush with a target on him in the English office. As I continue to post these in the coming days (or until I get sick of them), see if you can guess who is in on the joke, and who is simply faking knowledge they don't have.

Sorry to say, Joe has lost his way. His post quite clearly shows this with his last line: "perhaps it would be fruitful to read it relationally."Earlier he cites a more rational age, the pre-J.D. era, so that he can lead us to the promised land of clear thinking. As most know, however, those earlier eras were not as critically simple as we latter-day romantics tend to think. In fact, the great J.D.'s own teacher, Pierre Mourier, became famous for his early rejection of this wishful thinking in his book *The Rational Irrational* (1913). "Rationality is a stray path, a forgotten toy, a stale loaf. While once it may have held glory, it now only leads to dissolution" (243). We can go back further to the very romantics who, on the surface, would seem to lead us to the text as such (Keats' urn) and see that true reading is found only in spiritual epiphany (Coleridge's Khan; Wordsworth's Tintern). Irrationality is the only avenue in which to encounter the text. It's apparent then that Joe has lost his way in regards to the whole GW issue (and, perhaps, his own dissertation): reading only elicits meaning if we can follow the spirals of the text to their own fruitless and irrational ends.

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