Foucault is…

…a demi-god

a hallucination

a truth-denier

…a “Franco-phoney

regrettably a dominant figure in law schools (along with Marx)

…a pseudo-scientific sophist transmitted by relics

besotting the French chattering classes

and finally:

is responsible for the Virginia-Tech killings


I think I have in fact been situated in most of the squares on the political checkerboard, one after another and sometimes simultaneously: as anarchist, leftist, ostentatious or disguised Marxist, nihilist, explicit or secret anti-Marxist, technocrat in the service of Gaullism, new liberal and so on. An American professor complained that a crypto-Marxist like me was invited in the USA, and I was denounced by the press in Eastern European countries for being an accomplice of the dissidents. None of these descriptions is important by itself; taken together, on the other hand, they mean something. And I must admit that I rather like what they mean.

“Polemics, Politics and Problematizations”

Update: The Nation weighs in on Phyllis Schlafley’s claim (above) that the Virginia Tech shootings were caused by reading Foucault and other “fringe” writers.

6 Responses

  1. This is one of the weirdest denunciations of Foucault: According to the German Historian Hans Ulrich Wehler Foucault is “an intellectual dishonest, empirically absolutely unreliable, crytonormativist ‘pied piper’ for postmodernism” (“ein intellektuell unredlicher, empirisch absolut unzuverlässiger, kryptonormativistischer ‘Rattenfänger’ für die Postmoderne”) (Hans Ulrich Wehler, Die Herausforderung der Kulturgeschichte, Munich 1998, p.91) – Fortunately not all historians are so stupid.

  2. Pied Piper!

    That indeed is a good one (but not as good as “Franco-phoney”!).

    Any other denunciations in other languages?

  3. […] it puzzling to assert that Foucault “touted” political defeatism. This of course is an old canard. Rorty often engaged with Foucault, (although in his own idiosyncratic manner, for his own […]

  4. […] 22nd, 2007 by Jeremy One of the things one occasionally has to deal with are people’s prejudices and misperceptions, bordering on hatred, of anything that seems to threaten the scientific […]

  5. “Franco phoney” is not bad. What about something like “AIDS- infected, froggy, communist cocksucker”? I’m sure the hicks have said worse things about Uncle Foocault. That said, part of the problem is that many people don’t realize MF was as much psychologist (or pathopsychologist) as filosophe–Madness and Civilization follows from Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, at least to some degree, more than it does from metaphysics or marxism. OK, it’s a bit conceptual, verbose, and not so empirically-oriented (and has other issues), but one might say the same about Civ. and its Discontents. Freud then might be the Vienna phoney…

  6. […] already posted and have sometimes linked back to a list of claims about Foucault that taken as whole are deeply contradictory (he is both a total […]

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