When Shakespeare described philosophy as “adversity’s sweet milk,” I believe he must have had a premonition of an upcoming “mini-conference” in our Department of Philosophy.
This will showcase Dr. Calvin Warren of the program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory College, and Dr. T. Hasan Johnson of the Africana Studies Program at Fresno State. Dr. Warren is a recognized expert in “the metaphysical foundations of black sexuality,” whereas Dr. Johnson achieved his notoriety by proposing “new theoretical frameworks” with which to understand the “development of Hip-Hop culture.”
Bear with me! Do not be seduced by Pascal’s gloomy reflection that “not to care for philosophy is to be a true philosopher.”
The title of Dr. Warren’s lecture will be, “There is no Relation, Sexual or Otherwise: Black Men, Ontology, and the Anti-black Phallus.” This promises to extend Dr. Warren’s life work of “rethinking of sexuality without the human, sexual difference, or coherent bodies.” Dr. Warren proposes to overcome the human, sexual difference by collapsing the “intransigent binary” of “those who ‘have the phallus’ (masculine position) and those ‘who are the phallus’ (feminine position),” and he will do this by “suggesting” that the “‘phallic relation’ is an alibi for ontology.”
He might have meant alias. Or maybe alibi is right, since I’ve known plenty of women who say they are the phallus to cover up for their disgraceful crime of being nothing at all (that’s where “coherent bodies” come in to it).
In any case, after illustrating this thesis with stories about lynching, Dr. Warren will propose that “the black penis . . . is the organ of non-being,” which is not to say that black penises do not exist, but actually that they do exist in a way that yours doesn’t (unless, of course, you (or yours) be black).
Dr. Johnson’s lecture is entitled “Brothers Gonna Work It Out!: Assessing the Implications of Black Masculinism and Black Male Studies On Institutional Anti-Black Misandry.” I think Dr. Johnson could have made his intentions clearer if he had specified that it was “Black Brothers” who were “Gonna Work it Out,” since a careless reader might on the present construction suppose that he means some other brothers. Say the Smith Brothers, who might work it out while taking a break from the manufacture of cough drops.
Dr. Johnson’s thesis is that the image of Black men is in desperate need of “a new paradigmatic foundation,” preferably one that is not riven with “popular misandrist trends” and “institutional anti-Black misandry.” This lecture will provide a preview of an “upcoming text” from Dr. Johnson, entitled: “She Hate Me: A Case for Black Masculinism, Black Male Studies, and A New Paradigm for Studying Black Males.”
So, now you see how very wrong Swift was when he described philosophy as “the lumber of the schools.”