AGAINST ACADEMIC SIMONY: is “social network” an oxymoron?

Here are my analytics on My page is regularly in the top 0,5%. This is quite an achievement as I have never been “recommended”. Further, there is a small but vocal network of blogs, twitter accounts, and facebook pages that have decided to proceed as if I do not exist.

When I first began this blog, five and a half years ago, I wanted to participate in the many conversations concerning Continental Philosophy that seemed to be proliferating at that time. After all, that is my area of expertise, it is what I spend most of my free time reading and thinking about. I thought that I had a unique point of view to express, and that my long experience of studying and living in France (35 years) would give me at least some legitimity.

However, I was not welcomed with open arms, but most often treated as persona non grata. I was to a surprisingly large extent ignored, condescended to, browbeaten, or blocked by those who feign commitment to discussion and democracy. Little by little I began to see who cited or discussed with whom, and a pattern began to emerge. These were no merely individual slights and oversights, but a concerted division and distribution of intellectual territories and niche-monopolies.

Slowly I became involved in a different, more diffuse and less vocal assembly. A gestalt-switch took place, reversing foreground and background. The “background” is composed to a large extent of free-floating un-affiliated non-dogmatic elements, who are not intent on seeking membership or status-symbols, but are genuinely open and curious.

I write for them.

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4 Responses to AGAINST ACADEMIC SIMONY: is “social network” an oxymoron?

  1. Tim Howles says:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ari says:

    Leave! And remember the saying of the long circuits of the old ones, “don’t look back”. This from Serres:

    Depart, take the plunge. After having left the shore behind, for
    awhile you stay much closer to it than to the one on the other side,
    at least just enough so that the body starts reckoning and says to
    itself, silently, that it can always go back. Up to a certain threshold,
    you hold on to this feeling of security: in other words, you have not
    really left. On this side of the adventure, your foot, once it has
    crossed a second threshold, waits expectantly for the approach:
    you find yourself close enough to the steep bank to say you have
    arrived. Right bank or left bank, what does it matter, in both cases
    it is land or ground. You do not swim, you wait to walk, like someone
    who jumps, takes off, and then lands, but does not remain in
    The swimmer, on the contrary, knows that a second river runs in
    the one that everyone sees, a river between the two thresholds,
    after or before which all security has vanished: there he abandons
    all reference points. (Troubadour of Knowledge, pg. 5)

    Liked by 1 person

    • terenceblake says:

      Yes, this is good advice. But it is good to attempt dialogue with everyone. I am neither a marginal nor a professional in philosophy, those are fixed reference points to maintain a false sense of security.


      • Ari says:

        Yes, good point. I don’t intend to make a sharp distinction, or an either/or. I am for and… and… if it can be put it this way without thinking of any kind of reference. This points to the chiaroscuro of the in-between,,, “threshold” or that hybridizing patchwork Serres calls the Harlequin, an old sad Italian clown in my memory. I mean movement into a non-standard foreign field where the rough ones are pioneering something new as they descend into the underworld involves the wound of letting go of a precious attachment from which we looked for recognition but now we know there is only the cold back of the gone but in a way this standard practice in the borderline where the Stranger-subjects hang out, no? Sad clown… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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