Saturday, December 03, 2005

Straw Dogs - a Straw Man

I have finally got round to reading John Gray's Straw Dogs. Well, when I say "read", I mean I scrabbled through the first few chapters in a packed cafe over a pannini and crisps, whilst I should have been doing the Christmas shopping, but that, sadly, is generally what I mean by the verb "to read" nowadays.

I was extremely relieved to get back home to find that Norm had coincidentally, reassuringly and devastatingly blogged here on some other pronouncements by the same author, since I was beginning to wonder if it was me or the author who had taken leave of our senses. Prof. Gray is after all some sort of a bigwig at the LSE and, well you know, I didn't get past a BA.

Generally I am getting the feeling that it isn't me who is losing it after all. The book really is packed with non-sequiturs, false analogies, straightforward denials of what appear to be more truth-like theories, together with a consistent, cheap and dialectically redundant propensity to attack his pet-hate theories in their poorest forms. Given that he apparently now directs his fiercest scorn "to the disciples of rationalism and of science", I suppose these kinds of irrational criticism shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, but it does rather beg the question of why he bothered to write and publish a book if he hadn't assumed that others out there might involve themselves in a rational and truth seeking exercise called reading?"

Will come back to this, am sure.


Anonymous said...

Mmm... Just by browsing it on Amazon I can see the Unabomber was more fun than this. Is it supposed to be a serious book?

Carlotta said...

It certainly shouldn't be mistaken for one, whatever the intent!

It would be just wonderful if this Prof. of European Thought were to get up and admit that it was all a giant hoax, particularly after all the public eulogies from so-called serious commentators...
Andrew Marr
Joan Bakewell
Bryan Appleyard
Will Self
amongst many others :(

David said...

Perhaps obviously, I enjoyed it. I don't think he'd quite grasped what he was up to at this point - 'Al-Qaeda And What It Means To Be Modern' is a more precise work. My reading of his work is that he hasn't set out to destroy Reason or Science, but (blind, irrational) faith in Reason or Science.