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  • Writer's pictureSophie

Day 312

My homework response to Dutton vs Butler argument...


A good piece of writing doesn’t necessarily have to be meant for everybody. Besides, if writing were catered towards everyone in the entire world, it would likely be extremely vague and impersonal, never making any sort of mark on the reader. Can Judith Butler's work be convoluted and frankly impossible for the average reader to understand? Definitely. Even though Butler’s work is not an easy read, it serves a distinct purpose. For linguists and English professors, Butler’s work is comprehensible, so I disagree with Dutton’s notion that just because she uses language to appeal to a certain group of people, it is wrong. Grasping Butler’s work takes some work, as demonstrated in class, but Dutton’s opinion that Butler “beats readers into submission,” is taking the wrong view of her work out of his fear of being knowledgeable. Half of Dutton’ argument against Butler revolves around her supposed attempt to sound scholarly and philosophical, as if that is an inherently bad thing to aim for. In an attempt to prove her pretentiousness, Button proves his own pretentiousness in asserting that he is somehow above Butler based on her word choice and topic of writing, using her almost as an example to show how he is “better than that”. Just as Dutton bashes Butler, he simultaneously proves his own ignorance to the diverse vocabulary that Butler employs, while accusing her of essentially trying too hard. Knocking down the walls of literary elitism and celebrating diverse forms of writing is essential for a booming literary field, but that is not what Dutton is trying to achieve. Literary fields don’t and shouldn’t subscribe to familiar vernacular and jargon, which Butler follows perfectly. Making her own rules, which great writers are able to understand, while leaving the most of humanity in the dark, is shown deeply in Butler’s writing. Nearly no one I’m assuming seeks out this specific body of work, making Dutton’s criticism even more jarring, considering the work wasn’t initially created to broadcast all over the world.

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