July 26, 2007
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Kenneth Rufo over at Ghost in the Wire has coined a perfect phrase for one of my pet peeves:
Baudrillard is one of those people who routinely suffer from what I call “drive-by parentheticals,” wherein an article wants to assert some commonly “assumed” fact that Baudrillard might commonly be “assumed” to provide, and so randomly inserts Baudrillard into a footnote or parenthetical citation. In effect, we see comments like, “given the proliferation of simulacra (Baudrillard 1994), yada yada.” That’s the drive-by – academic style.
I’ve tended to refer to this on the blog as the “we all know” phenomenon – I’m not sure if this allows me to claim joint credit for what Ken is proposing we call Rufo’s Law:
When it comes to theoretical work of any type, the more widely “assumed” a certain argument, concept, or thinker is, the less that argument, concept, or thinker is actually understood.