Himanshu at Doxic Shock shares a couple of great Latourisms… The details may be past their expiry dates (the generalities less so), but they’re still pretty funny.*

For a French person, saying that facts are constructed is a banality. Relativism is like an infantile disease: for us, who contract it in our high school philosophy class when we are 18, it is harmless. Yet, when it is transferred to the US, it can infect entire departments of philosophy and literature.

[France is a] new Columbia, a land of dealers producing hard drugs (‘derridium’, ‘lacanium’) to which graduate students on American campuses cannot resist any better than crack.

(The first is apparently a quote from Nathalie Levisalles, “Le Canular du Profesor Sokal,” Liberation, December 3, 1996; the second from Latour’s “Y a-t-il une Science apres la Guerre Froide?”)

Now if only actor-network theory had spread as quickly as the others… But it’s a Franco-Anglo hybrid – do they reproduce? And what happens when its pushers keep changing its street name and the color of the pill? (Latour keeps modifying his; John Law has completely shed ANT in favor of heterogeneities and other such things; and now this transmogrification by Harman…) Ah, but then it’s that much harder to resist!

(For the record, I’m a user… Been one for a long time :-)

*Originally this post was titled “those good French drugs,” then “those sweet French drugs.” They are more like potions, love potions… Potent potions.

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