Are all texts equal?

In Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis, Louis Markos writes about how our age has “lost its faith in the ability of language to embody truth.” One of his examples is relevant to my academic discipline:

Nearly all students who come out of academia these days have been brainwashed into using the word “text” to refer to all written forms of expression (and often non-written ones as well). The reason behind this academic brainwashing (carefully obscured by those promoting the postmodern agenda) is to nudge students away from traditional ranking of genres into a radically egalitarian view that treats all forms of expression as possessing equal value. No text is to be privileged over (or granted more inherent, lasting worth than) any other text. A novel by Dickens, an issue of the New York Times, a piece of pornography from the Internet, the lyrics of a rap song, the Illiad of Homer, a TV sitcom – all are to be accorded the same worth (which means, in the end, that all are equally worthless). None of the works listed in the preceding sentence lies closer to “Truth” or “Beauty”; none is to be criticized for violating standards of decency or morality. They are all just . . . well . . . texts.  

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One thought on “Are all texts equal?

  1. I will use one of my favorite words in responding to this blog. This IRKS me. While I do think that there are musicians writing great lyrics, and while I think that there are great TV show and movie screen-writers, that does entail that all works of “art” are equally worthy (or worthless). Thanks for sharing this!

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