It is no secret that the French are—ahem, how shall I put this—difficult. In that regard, twentieth-century French thinkers are extremely French.
And Jacques Derrida is the most extremely twentieth-century French thinker of them all.
(As far as philosophers go, Derrida was the closest thing to a celebrity. He had a documentary made about him. It was kind of boring. It had lots of shots of Derrida buttering his toast. Sometimes he put marmalade on his toast.)
Derrida is the father of deconstructionism. Deconstructionism is not for the faint of brain.
Derrida obtusely wrote and spoke about a wide variety of subjects, including, but far from limited to, language, Hegel, speaking, writing, literature, sociology, touching, hermeneutics, Walter Benjamin, death, friendship, Abraham, music, philosophy, pointing, Freud, mourning, America, postcards, psychology, ethics, Plato’s Phaedrus, hauntology, Paul de Man, anthropology and ghosts. He even went so far as spelling difference differance because he believed it made no difference, saying, "one can tell the differance between difference and differance only in writing."
My favorite philosophy professor, Ken Clatterbaugh, no slouch in the brains department himself, once told me, "I have no idea what Derrida is talking about."
See if you can figure out what this Derrida ditty means: "That philosophy died yesterday, since Hegel or Marx, Nietzsche or Heidegger—and philosophy should wander toward the meaning of its death—or that it has always lived knowing itself to be dying (as silently confessed in the shadow of the very discourse which declared philosophia pernnis); that philosophy died one day, within history, or that it has always fed on its own agony, on the violent way it opens history by opposing itself to nonphilosophy, which is its past and its concern, its death and wellspring: that beyond death, or dying nature, of philosophy, perhaps even because of it, thought still has a future, or even as said today, is still entirely to come because of what philosophy has held in store; or, more strangely still, that the future has a future—all these are unanswerable questions."
(Yes, that was one sentence.)
However, near the end of his life in 2007, Derrida said, "I have never given in to the temptation to be difficult for the sake of being difficult."
("Nobody Gets Derrida" is dedicated to my pal, David Terry. David wrote his master's thesis on Derrida at ASU. This is the academic equivalent of a sixth-grade book report on Derrida.)
2012 | Digital Print | Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl | 30" x 36" | Edition of 5