Everyone Knows that 20th Century French Philosophy has Utterly No Value Whatsoever Except as a Scheme to Pick Up Chicks, So Why is Pope Francis So Into It?

Everyone Knows that 20th Century French Philosophy has Utterly No Value Whatsoever Except as a Scheme to Pick Up Chicks, So Why is Pope Francis So Into It?

Posted by Oakes Spalding on 3/2/16 at MahoundsParadise.blogspot.com/2016/03/everyone-knows-that-20th-century-french.html

I’m referring to a recent interview Pope Francis gave to a leftist French newspaper where he name drops not one, not two but five 20th century French philosophers.

The Pope also said that the “Arab invasion” (his term) of Europe is a good thing, and France should become more secular in order to be more attuned to the transcendent. Or this and that or some such.

But I digress.

Despite the post title, this is not a criticism of France or the French or even 20th century France or the French.

20th century Analytical Philosophy (mainly English) was about applying logical techniques to analyze words or concepts in order to clarify their meanings.

20th century Continental Philosophy (largely French but also German) was about talking or writing pretentious bull in order to pick up chicks.

Okay, scruples on sexual morality aside, it’s pretty obvious to me that one of those two above is clearly superior in, you know, a practical sense. See, I’m not being critical of the French.

Now some guys don’t have to talk or write pretentious bull to pick up chicks. But if you look like John Paul Sartre, then you do what you can…

I’m not judging.

What is truly moronic, however, is taking that pretentious bull seriously as anything other than a scheme to pick up chicks. I assume that Pope Francis is not at this point interested in picking up chicks. Therefore, Pope Francis is…well, you know.

Here are some of the names the Pope cited in that interview:

Emmanuel Lévinas
Emmanuel Mounier
Henri de Lubac (Yeah, I know Ignatius published him. They were wrong.)
Paul Ricœur
Michel de Certeau
Plato (not French, but a proto-20th century bullsh*tter if there ever was one)

And here are some of their most renowned works:

From Existence to Existents
Time and the Other
Alterity and Transcendence
The Personalist and Communitarian Revolution
The Awakening of Black Africa (okay, that’s not strictly philosophy but still)
Time and Narrative
Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning
Aspects of Buddhism, Vol. 2 (Vol. 1 was a bust)
Teilhard de Chardin: the Man and His Meaning
Culture in the Plural
Heterologies: Discourse on the Other

Man, it’s enough to make you want to drink a six-pack of Pabst and vote for Donald Trump.


Hannah Arendt coined the term “banality of evil.” And it so richly fits. It wasn’t just about mediocre clerk types who became Nazis. It was also about 1960’s Jesuit intellectuals. Or so it seems to me. And Arendt currently isn’t in any position to disagree. But I hope she went to Heaven solely for that definition.

Would you like to come upstairs and see my Hannah Arendt collection?

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10 comments on “Everyone Knows that 20th Century French Philosophy has Utterly No Value Whatsoever Except as a Scheme to Pick Up Chicks, So Why is Pope Francis So Into It?

  1. Captain Kirk: Mister Spock! The liberal pseudo-intellectual routine with French existentialism mystification just to pick up chicks… analyze using your superior Vulcan logic!

    Spock: Fascinating, Captain. There are a variety of liberal pseudo-intellectual routines involving different layers of mystification which have been reported to work in such endeavors. Of course, an authentic French beret and dark sunglasses are required for the Beatnik coffee house variety.

    Ward Cleaver: We caught Eddie Haskell using the Jean-Paul Sartre Beatnik existentialism routine on girls at the Junior Prom.

    Fred Rutherford: I’ve been concerned ever since Pope Francis gave the nod to condoms in his recent airplane interview. Ward, if you don’t mind my asking, you don’t think Clarence and Wally could be involved in this, do you?

    Eddie Haskell: Sure, they’ve got ’em down at the drug store!

    Lumpy Rutherford: Oh, boy! This is gonna be GREAT!

    Opie: Paw! Paw! I’m gonna run down to the drug store right now to get me some rubbers now that the Pope says they’re OK with the genetically-modified Zika virus coming that Bill Gates and the UN’s World Health Organization have cooked up for population control!

    Barney Fife: Rubbers???!!!

    Dr. Jacques Lacan: We should examine the existential dilemma that Barney Fife is facing here as his decentered ego struggles with the slippery slope of Situation Ethics in postmodern bourgeois subcultures beset by commodity fetishism, alienation, and self-estrangement from Cartesian dualism are subverting patriarchal authority structures.

    Robin: Gosh, Batman, the chicks dig French existentialism. I was wondering if maybe you could show me a few pointers.

    Batman: Of course, Robin. Part of the reason for this is that pseudo-intellectual mystification sounds filthier with a French accent.

    Professor Sartre: That’s an interesting point.

    Pepé Le Pew: Really? I have never heard that before.

    Sir Lancelot: No! That can’t be true!

    Bogart: Along with all those Frenchy tricks!

    Descartes: I have never heard that!

    Professor Hegel: I have.

    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: Of course, Thomas Aquinas spent some time at the University of Paris and many issues in Catholic philosophy and theology have had some connections with that venue.

    Spock: I was going to get around to that.

    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: But we haven’t been able to get many women interested in our courses on Henri de Lubac, not to mention Cardinal Mercier, Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges, or Father Garrigou-Lagrange since Strict Observance Thomism has fallen out of fashion and the Lonergan industry and phenomenology got started.
    Teilhard, on the other hand…

    Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.: Archbishop Lefebvre spoke with a French accent.

    Captain Kirk: That’s right….

    Father Sarducci< S.J.: I think Hilaire Belloc’s mother did too. And Joan of Arc.
    It’s like a conspiracy or something.
    Incidentally, we have a course at the Gregorian on the Avignon Papacy and what is known as Gallicanism. I kid you not!

    Professor Sartre: It goes back to when the first Neo-Platonists reached the shores of the South of France, bearing what Professor Eric Havelock in the Preface to Plato describes as a cultural shift from 5th-century Greece and Plato’s Republic away from poetic mimesis to…

    Eddie Haskell: And when Louis Jourdan plays the rascaly bourgeois swain wooing Leslie Caron in Gigi.

    Mrs. Cleaver: You and Wally took the girls to see that at the Drive-In??? Eddie!!! You know I don’t like Wally seeing decadent European movies!

  2. Professor Sartre: But I’m Professor Sartre!

    Professor Derrida: That’s right! My decentered ego must have gotten confused when I passed through the neo-Kantian vortex in the midst of all of our deconstruction!

    Woody: It happens to me all the time whenever I pass through neo-Kantian vortex!

    Dr. Jacques Lacan: But loss of identity and verbal confusion are key elements of existential self-estrangement in the commodity fetishism and alienation from Cartesian dualism in postmodern bourgeois suburban cultures preceding the necessary subversion of patriarchal authority structures which will bring about the liberation of the subconscious self.

    Ted Baxter: Lou didn’t mention that. He only explained about the dolphins and baby seals choking on the soda can tabs and…you know…about what Pope Francis said….

    The Professor: OK, smart guys! Let’s appeal to the moderator for a photo check and we’ll get this straightened out!

    The Professor: Oh, yes, Gilligan. When the decentered ego in postmodern bourgeois subcultures passes through a neo-Kantian vortex it can be very disorienting and confusing. Woody was lucky to have Professor Marshall McLuhan on hand to explain the semiotics and psycholinguistics of this process.

    Ginger: Oh, Gilligan is getting ready to take the neo-Kantian Transcendental turn.

    Mary Ann: I just hope he can remember the directions to Louvain!

    Ginger: It’s somewhere between France and Amsterdam. I hear they have good beer there….

    Ted Baxter: Come on, Mary! What’s a Lacanian decentered ego in postmodern bourgeois subcultures? It’s for Georgette. She’s taking a postmodern writing course over at the University of St. Thomas….

    Sheriff Andy Taylor: Now, Opie, I don’t care what kind of neo-Kantian vortex they have you passing through at school. I don’t want to hear any more talk about Jean-Paul Sartre or rubbers and the Pope. If I do hear you talking about rubbers and the Pope one more time, you’re gonna be in a heap of trouble, young man! A heap of trouble!

  3. Reverend Neuhaus: That’s my opening. I don’t mean to interrupt, Sheriff Taylor, as pushy and aggressive professional Protestant converts sometimes do, but this might be a good time to discuss the Naked Public Square in modernity and Professor Charles Taylor’s secularization theories in light of the crisis of values which follows from disenchantment in the sense in which Max Weber explained when…

    Shelley: Gee, I don’t know. What did you have in mind?

    Elvis: I was thinking we could pick up some milkshakes and go back to your place to read some Jean-Paul Sartre….

    Chrissy: I don’t think I’ve heard of that before.

    Jack: Well, Chrissy, Albert Camus is one of the most important writers in modern existentialism. So, I thought we should go down and catch this lecture on L’Homme révolté and utopian rebellion in modernity at UCLA…

    Chrissy: What are we going to do after the lecture?

    Mr. Roper: I’d love to hear this!

    Ann: Jean-Paul who?

    Elvis: Sartre. I’ve got a rrrrreally cool collection of paperbacks on French existentialism.

    Elvis: If we work really hard and you have enough concentration we can proceed from the analysis of être-en-soi and être-pour-soi right on through Sartre’s critique of Freud to Husserlian phenomenology and still have enough time to review Kierkegaardian Angst and Heideggerian Geworfenheit.

    Ann: How far did you say this place is?

    Elvis: Memphis, Tennessee? Not too far. If we leave Vegas now….

    Professor Lyotard: OK, so, if we can get back to the metanarrative….

    Professor Kojève: And the Dialectic….

    Ginger: Say that again, Gilligan! I just LOVE the way that sounds!

    Gilligan: être-pour-soi?

    Ginger: He’s going to read some more Sartre out loud tonight!

    • Gilligan: … and in the dream, Professor, all I said was Sartre.

      • Gilligan: I had the strangest dream, Ginger. I dreamt that I was a crazy hipster Beatnik existentialist on a TV show!

        Dobie: That wasn’t a dream, Gilligan.

        Ginger: This will help you to experience the existential prison of existence, Gilligan.

        Dobie: What we have here is an existential dilemma…

        Maynard: That’s funny because I had a dream that I was stuck on an island in the Pacific Ocean with the Skipper, the Professor, Ginger, Mary Ann, Mr. and Mrs. Howell.

        The Skipper: But we are stuck on an island in the Pacific Ocean, Gilligan! That’s why you’re going to fly this jetpack to go get help back in Hawaii!

        Ginger: How would you describe your primary existential dilemma?

        Don Rickles: It all started when Dean Martin introduced me to Frank Sinatra….

        Professor Lyotard: Right. This would be a good point to address the metanarrative ….

  4. Ann: There is something I’ve been wondering about that I wanted to ask, Elvis.

    Elvis: What’s that, Sugar Baby?

    Ann: What does Geworfenheit mean?

    Woody: Well, it’s a good thing that I happen to have the man who can answer that question, a man who not only taught at Saint Louis University but who has a lecture named after him at Fordham….

    Professor Lyotard: I would like to discuss the metanarrative of romanticism, Protestant millenarianism, the theory of progress, the Enlightenment, vulgar musicals, and popular romantic folk comedy which surrounds this…

    Dean Wormer: You’ll get your chance, Smart Guy!

    The Professor: Gentlemen, please! There will plenty of time to parse and break this down, providing a full analysis of modernity and discontents if you all wait your turn calmly….

  5. Gomez Addams: Elvis reading Sartrean existentialism! Why, if we can set it to music, we could sell tickets!

    Gomez Addams: Maybe we should read Camus’ The Rebel tonight, my darling!

    Inspector Clouseau: And what, may I ask, is so funny about a French accent?

    Professor Balls: Does it sound funny?

    Hercule Poirot: That’s ridiculous!

    Sean Connery: Frankly, it does sometimes.

    Hercule Poirot: Aha! You admit that you heard someone speaking French on this train!

    Professor Henry Jones: We were discussing modern French philosophy and things went downhill from there.

    Richard Thorn: Damien’s just going through a phase which is normal for teenage boys. He’s been reading some French existentialism he picked up in the school library. He’ll grow out of it.

    Sergeant Neff : What do you think you’re doing, Damien?

    Damien: It’s just something I read about in Jean-Paul Sartre. All the kids are into it and chicks dig it.

    Sergeant Neff : OK. Just try to tone it down and stop showing off in class.
    It might seem strange and people might notice that.

    Damien: I really enjoyed Being and Nothingness and No Exit. I also like Nietzsche. But when I come into my full power as world dictator for the Illuminati during the reign of the Antichrist you’ll see some really absurd things I have planned!

    Max Rockatansky: I can explain. I got a little lost. I turned left at the neo-Kantian vortex, like they told me, and I ended up in this post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland with these rabid leather-clad skinheads running around like maniacs. I think it started when Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut read Bertolt Brecht and Theodor Adorno , but if you’ll just stop pointing that arrow at me, we can discuss this calmly and find a way to escape from this absurd eschatological dilemma…

  6. Elvis: That’s right!

    Ann: I’m so glad to hear that.

    Elvis: Well, this Professor Max Weber feller, he’s got it all figured out. He calls it
    Entzauberung or Disenchantment.

    Ann: Entzauberung?

    Professor Jürgen Habermas: Max Weber?

    Elvis: Right. Disenchantment. The main problem in modernity that’s messing up our values, cultural vision, and ontological direction ever since Cartesian dualism and alienation took over. But Colonel Tom Parker says that a revival of Rockabilly music will cure all that, see….by returning us to a more primordial level of participation mystique, communal ritualism, and tribalization. He’s been reading Lévy-Bruhl , Émile Durkheim , Sir James George Frazer, and stuff like that. When the mystical re-enchantment connects our subconscious back to the numinous, well, then….

    Professor Lévi-Strauss: I would like to jump in here and say something….

  7. Elvis: See, the numinous is all tied up with the phenomenology of the sacred which is being suppressed by the Entzauberung or disenchantment of modernity with all of the alienation, scientism, and mechanistic materialism that’s holding higher states of consciousness down….

    Ann: That’s fascinating! Do you think we could stop at a Hardee’s or 7-Eleven to get something to drink. I’m getting a little thirsty…

    Elvis: Sure thing! Just hold on ’cause we might burn rubber when I peal out!

  8. Professor Jones: But all cultures and civilizations pass through periods of greater and lesser religious influence and spiritual development. Some people view Elvis as a faith healer or even a semi-messianic figure.

    Professor Jones: At least, Toynbee thought so…

    Professor Jennings: Perhaps Milton was aware of this and that was the motivating force for writing Paradise Lost, hmmm….

    Professor Jones: But Elvis as an existentialist hero for French and European existential phenomenologists could be a whole new ballgame, Marcus….

    Nick Rivers: You know, the professor may have something there, Hillary.

    Frank Drebin: That’s mostly true, Ed. But Priscilla would probably be better for the role we had in mind.

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