Discourse About Discourse and “No Means No”

Deconstruction (although past its sell-by date these days) in its most radical version asserts that any speaking or writing can mean anything, and all interpretations are equally valid. All communication is self-undercutting. Feminists— a group which has significant overlap with deconstructionists— also maintain that “No” Means “No.”

Which is it?

Rapists should love deconstruction. “Sure, she said ‘No,’ but I interpreted that as sarcasm, which is just as good as the interpretation that she meant it literally.” Or, “Sure, her lips were saying ‘No,’ but that tight, short little skirt was saying ‘Yes’.” Or, “Sure, she said ‘No,’ but I interpreted that as ‘Bend me over and slam me hard, stud!’” Or, for a serious deconstructionist: “Sure, she said ‘No,’ but I interpreted that as critical commentary on Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica.

Deconstruction and No Means No are mutually exclusive.

There’s something else funny about the whole “No Means No” thing: If a man were not inclined to accept No as meaning No, why would he accept the statement “No Means No” as meaning “No Means No”? Doesn’t that statement itself also require a meta-statement to reveal its meaning? Maybe feminists should put up posters saying

“No Means No” means “No Means No.”

Hmm, just to be safe, better do posters saying,

No Means No means No Means No

means

No Means No means No Means No

Actually, that’s probably not clear enough. What is actually needed, just to be sure the point is getting across, is… (etc.)

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2 thoughts on “Discourse About Discourse and “No Means No””

  1. > no means no means no..
    another classic, along with that netflix quote.
    Btw, I saw you were second in jim’s blogroll, good stuff.

    Like

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