Self-reflexiveness (a.k.a. DJ feedback loops)

I recently posted this on the Derrida list but thought it might be relevant to
our DJ-feedbackitis. . . .

Is talking about reading actually reading? What is the function (political,
social, intellectual, otherwise) of such activity?

Is a discussion of the preconditions necessary to read Derrida [DJ] an effective way
of avoiding the difficulty of reading and interpreting Derrida[ Foucault] (since our own
discourse is so much more satisfying, in a narcissistic sense, and lucid)?

What is the relation between such discussions and the anxiety generated by the
perceived difficulty of the subject at hand, a difficulty which might force us
to acknowledge our own insecurities about intellectual "mastery," insecurities
that the veryact of reading Derrida (because of his subject) exacerbates?

If Derrida [DJ] shows us that intellectual "mastery" is an impossible (and
politically suspect) goal, how do we demonstrate (i.e. perform) our own
intellectual compentence so that others will take us seriously enough to let us
join in the discussion?

Is there any correlation between the compulsion to defend one's position (over
the issue on how to read Derrida [DJ] properly) and the recognition (which is being
deferred) that Derrida's writing [DJ's feedback loops] destabilizes the idea of the "proper"?

Is there a connection between the need to establish one's own position toward
the reading of Derrida [DJ], a position associated with the positing of a proper name
(a signature), and the perceived notion that Derrida [DJ] challenges the very notions
of a stable identity, proper name, and signature--thus undercutting our claims
to intellectual authority?

In other words, there are no more effective ways to postpone reading Derrida [Foucault] and
to defend oneself against the subversive potential of his insights than to
establish a discourse modelled on the lines we have been pursuing!!

Jeffrey Steele, UW-Madison

Partial thread listing: