Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Arguing With Geeks 8

Argument by Insignification — For any given argument where an overwhelmingly sufficient number of points of evidence is advanced to justify an assertion as to theme or subtext, and where these points of evidence are undeniably manifest in the text, a rejection of significance for each notable element of a work, large or small, recurrent or isolated, may be employed to uncouple the link between evidence and interpretation on each count. Sometimes, the Argument by Insignification will assert, a cigar is just a cigar, a car is just a car, a gun is just a gun, a sword is just a sword, a rocket ship is just a rocket ship, a train going into a tunnel is just a train going into a tunnel, and a swarthy, hook-nosed, child-stealing, gold-loving, subhuman race is just a swarthy, hook-nosed, child-stealing, gold-loving, subhuman race. As with the IDSISINT Fallacy, this argument will often be advanced to defend a work of dubious subtext on the grounds that it is “just a story”. Since the binding of signifier to signified is non-essential — such that a cigar may just be a cigar — and is often even idiolectic and idiosyncratic — such that what is significant to the advocate, A, may be significant only to them — the conventionality of semantic associations must be taken as a standard of approximate objectivity in order to distinguish the uncoupling of conventionally-accepted pairings (as, say, where the advocate is highlighting a well-established symbolism of anti-Semitism) from the rejection of idiosyncratically-asserted couplings (as, say, where the advocate is reading a pepper mill as a phallic symbol); the former constitutes insignification while the latter is simply a denial of significance. An Argument by Insignification thus reveals itself through contradictions of conventional semantics. It should be noted however that judgements of what constitutes “conventional” may be politically argued on grounds of an Ideological Significance Mandate (or ISM), which can lead to essentialism and loss of objectivity.


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