March 21st, 2007


the department of redundant orifices

Lioness Soonee and Jindo dog Tangchil
at a South Korean zoo in Chinhae
(REUTERS/You Sung-Ho)

As men fail to live up to the manners of beasts, a living dog tears a dead lion a new one:
The back cover of History of Madness contains a series of hyperbolic hymns of praise to its virtues. Paul Rabinow calls the book “one of the major works of the twentieth century”; Ronnie Laing hails it as “intellectually rigorous”; and Nikolas Rose rejoices that “Now, at last, English-speaking readers can have access to the depth of scholarship that underpins Foucault’s analysis”. Indeed they can, and one hopes that they will read the text attentively and intelligently, and will learn some salutary lessons. One of those lessons might be amusing, if it had no effect on people’s lives: the ease with which history can be distorted, facts ignored, the claims of human reason disparaged and dismissed, by someone sufficiently cynical and shameless, and willing to trust in the ignorance and the credulity of his customers.
Andrew Scull, The fictions of Foucault’s scholarship, The Times Literary Supplement, March 21, 2007
Fortunately, surgical solutions are on hand.