George Carless wrote:
> All of this talk of the "Eliot Distraction League" and its like becomes quickly tiresome. What of the Eliot
> Sycophancy League?
I hadn't bread very many of his posts and had not known that we have
here a true version, within literary criticism, of Conspiracy Theory. It
seems to be the case, however, and I have found over the years in
respect to such theorists in politics that dicussion is wholly useless.
We have two 9/11 Conspiracy theorists in the local anti-war group. I
argued with them briefly back in 2i002 or so, but since then have just
smiled and changed the subject whenever it is brought up. Both of them,
when not focusing on conspiracy are quite rational people, and one in
partciular contributes a good deal to the group's work.
Incidentally, there may have been instances to the contrary, but in my
experience, no one, once entangled by Conspiracy Theory, can ever be
weaned away from it. Every argument is seen eithr as evidence of being
duped, or that the person making it is himself part of the conspiracy.
(Popular Mechancis, for example, is part of the 9/11 Conspiracy!!!!)
A few years ago I spent a couple months on the Austen e-list. One man on
that list has "decoded" the secret narratives hidden behind the open
narratives of Austen's novels. In this case, it seems, the author
herself is the creator of the Conspiracy. One of my friends at Michigan
when I was a grad student collected "bad" books; not just oridnary
run-of-the-mill bad books but superlatively, transcndentally bad books.
He had one jewel -- a book on "secret societies." It was 300 pages long,
and so heroically general that there was not a single clue in the entire
work of what "society" specifically he was writing about. It was
probably an anti-Maconic text, but it could have been anti-social
fraternity, anti-boy's clubs with secret handshakes, absolutely
anything. He just found ifferent ways to write the same sentence over
and over again for 300 pages withut ever giving a hing as to what
specifically the sentence was about.
We seem to have a similar case here, that combines both the Austen-code
theorist and the secret-society exposer.