notmonster (notmonster) wrote in theoryisnotcrew,
notmonster
notmonster
theoryisnotcrew

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Hater hating is ignorant.

This is a response to a post in another community about theory hating, which I thought was worth reposting here. http://community.livejournal.com/academics_anon/1309530.html?view=23383642#t23383642
In it,fountaingirl begins with  "I never understand when people say they hate "theory." I generally hear this from my undergaduate students (I have taught theory, I regularly teach social psychology, and so on). When I hear that someone hates theory, I take this as resistance based on either fear or misunderstanding." 

She then goes on to draw a telling analogy: "For someone to write off "theory" out of a distaste for a given theorist or group of theorists is like someone saying they "hate food" because they cannot stand cruciferous vegetables. It reminds me of my son, and his distaste for all foods green. To me, it is no more reasoned an aversion." 

I think she is right that she doesn't understand what she hears! Her example of Food is a case in point. If an adult  told me that he or she hated "food," I would assume one of four things:

1. He or she has learned a different definition of the word "food" from somewhere and therefore the sentence is internally consistent with his or her dislikes.

2. He or she is using the term "food" to mean a specific type of food and has reason to believe you understand what is meant by it. This is rational and consistent.

3. He or she has a genuine and rational dislike of food, perhaps on principle. 

4. He or she has developed an irrational phobia of food for some reason.

Fountaingirl, on the other hand, assumes it has to be 4, an irrational aversion - and that any material cause of such an aversion must be dismissed out of hand.

By using the example of her son (a child), she also implies that resistance to theory is infantile.

Both these factors suggest that she speaks from a position of relative privilege and power. Her claim to Know Best replicates one of the very things many people dislike about grand Theory, as does the suggestion that anyone who doesn't agree with her is somehow "ignorant". 

My point is that people like fountaingirl can not imagine a world in which 3. [He or she has a genuine and rational dislike of food, perhaps on principle.] could occur. That there are groups of people who hate Theory for rational and educated reasons, is literally outside the realm of her imagination, despite the vocal existance of such groups in many disciplines.

Her assertion that "You do not hate a hammer because your neighbor used it to bash in your windshield. That is ignorant." also demonstrates this point. If your neighbour put time, effort and resources into the process of constructing a hammer with the intention of attacking you, then disliking the neighbour and wanting that hammer to be confiscated would be a perfectly normal response.

 

 

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