Cryptology

So, just for fun, give your best deciphering of the following sentence. Yes, it's one sentence.
The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

--Judith Butler, a Guggenheim Fellowship-winning professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley
Via D29. If you want to check your answer against mine, read the comments there.

14 comments:

Cass said...

Good lord. That reminds me of the Chomsky translator I linked to many moons ago. We had a lot of fun with that.

MikeD said...

I got it:

"I am paid a great deal of money to express thoughts in as obfuscatory a manner as possible. Preferably without actually producing anything of value."

(Nailed it!)

E Hines said...

"The move from a sound dollar to a Julia Set conceptualization of nationally fiscal expenditures raises the concept of the multi-dimensionality of the ordered set and range of money, thus marking a shift from Malthusian determinism of econometric behaviors to a more Rogerian, if not Skinnerian, view of the flows of value as these impact the policies of the various nodes of politics potestatis in a restatement of the authoritarianism of the imperium.

Quite simple and straightforward, really.

Eric Hines

battleblue1 said...

And here I thought I was going to have some fun with a substitution cipher or translating something from Swahili...

Sounds like a economo-politic zombie to me - break contact and call for fire.

Gringo said...

I do not have the intestinal fortitude to try to decipher such a passage. I am reminded of what one of my professors said: "Be brief, concise, and to the point." If it isn't, I won't bother.

Which reminds me of a strategy I employed in taking the GRE, some 15 years after having taken the SAT. When faced with such sociology-speak in a passage, I chose the answer written in the most obfuscatory manner possible.

It must have been a winning strategy, because my GRE Verbal was slightly above my SAT Verbal- and I was a STEM major.

Eric Blair said...

...break contact and call for fire...

I am still laughing at that.

Eric Blair said...

Ok, I think she's saying "we thought it was this, but it may have been that".

Texan99 said...

I'm sorry, there's not a single word in that sentence that conveys anything to me.

bthun said...

Gringo's first paragraph summed the matter up for me.

Alright, I confess. I napped through years of superfluous strategery meetings in Corporate 'Merica. Lots of wind blowing absent any tree leaves shaking. IOW, I'm fairly well conditioned and immune to the pomposity of Bovine Scatology, as it were. And neither my dearest Walkin' Boss nor my drinkin' buddy, the Walkin' Hoss have any tolerance for such verbose compost.

MikeD said...

Business-speak has nothing on college-speak when it comes to "lots of wind blowing absent any tree leaves shaking". At least in business, those middle managers playing BS bingo actually have to show SOME results. One of the benefits of being in the Ivory Tower is that once you reach the heights, no one actually expects you to produce anything EXCEPT the wind.

Grim said...

Ah, but ladies and gentlemen, there is something important being said here. The reason for the phrasing is not that she has nothing to say, and wants to hide the fact.

The reason for the phrasing is to make sure no one who doesn't understand the code understands the admission, or confession, that is being made.

RonF said...

I was a junior at MIT. I had managed to not yet complete my humanities requirement - i.e., I had yet to take two courses whose text books did not contain equations. So I signed up for "Fantasy and Science Fiction." The curricula was basically "Read an assigned science fiction or fantasy book each week, write 3 pages about it, and then actively participate in class discussion." Right up my alley.

The second week into the class, Prof. Janet Anderson popped into the classroom dramatically late, held up the papers we had turned in, and said "I have your papers right here." Then with a grand sweep she hurled them into the room, scattering paper all over.

"They're crap. You all go to the finest school in the world, but you all think that the bigger the words you use and the longer the sentences you write the better your writing is."

"We're turning the next six weeks of this course into a writing course. At the end you will all know how to write a simple declarative sentence."

She was right. She did. And we did. And while the technical skills I learned at MIT 40 years ago are all useless in my present job, I use the skills Prof. Anderson taught me every day.

The job of writing is to communicate. If this woman is an award-winning professor of rhetoric, I can only hope that the award was for "Best Parody".

Gringo said...

RonF
"We're turning the next six weeks of this course into a writing course. At the end you will all know how to write a simple declarative sentence."
She was right. She did. And we did. And while the technical skills I learned at MIT 40 years ago are all useless in my present job, I use the skills Prof. Anderson taught me every day.


One reason I chose a STEM major was an aversion to writing, the result of some unfortunate experiences in high school.

I found out that every professional needs to be able to write clearly and concisely. Bosses don't want to waste time wading through verbiage,

Grim said...

It's certainly good advice.