I’m a couple of weeks late to the party, but I couldn’t let this site go without any tip o’ the hat to that remarkable philosopher and cultural _provocateur_ Jacques Derrida, who died on October 8th aged 74.
It goes without saying that Derrida’s name will forever be linked with deconstruction, the frustratingly enigmatic (and yet deceptively simple) philosophical process that his writings helped to popularise.
The Independent, The Guardian (especially so) and even The New York Times offered fitting tributes and made a fair stab at explaining the barely explainable.
Others, like James Heartfield at spiked online, have predictably failed to grasp what deconstruction actually does and what it represented for Derrida (something for which he was and always will be unfairly criticised), while the likes of this dangerous gibberish show that some people can’t even grasp the basics.
As Terry Eagleton states in his Guardian comment, most of Derrida’s critics “gave a set of bemused, bone-headed responses” to his death:
Either they hadn’t read him, or they believed his work was to do with words not meaning what you think they do. Or it was just a pile of garbage.
Hopefully one day, more people will understand — like Steven Johnson does. Although I’m sure Derrida himself would be pleased with the furore he’s caused; after all, in the words of the great Tim Mooney: _”Philosophy is bullshit.”_