Here's Why Leftists Use Made-Up Words Like 'Intersectionality'

Chris Menahan
Oct. 09, 2018

Yale literary theorist Paul de Man was renowned by academics at the time of death in 1983 before later being exposed as a fraud who "lied about every part of his life."

"de Man," whose real last name was just Deman, made up a bunch of gobbledygook which sounded smart to bamboozle his audience and academics at Yale and elsewhere ate it up.

This article from The New Republic in 2014 going over Deman's life explains how he pulled the scam off:
De Man became famous for his "rigor," but in fact his treatment of concepts is often highly dubious and the terms he conjures are decidedly questionable. It is also now widely recognized that he frequently played fast and loose with the texts he discussed, misquoting, inventing quotations, and mistranslating. The British Renaissance scholar Brian Vickers has demonstrated in a trenchant article that de Man, discussing Rousseau, at one point inserts a ne absent in the French, thus converting a positive assertion by Rousseau into a negative one that suits his own purposes. Again, as Vickers shows, de Man emphatically claims that "rhetoric" in Nietzsche has nothing to do with persuasion whereas Nietzsche repeatedly says the opposite. In fact, de Man uses such terms as "rhetoric," "allegory," "metaphor," and "trope" in ways that no one before him had used them, for good reasons, and in this way he conveys to his readers the illusory sense that they are somehow participating in an intellectual breakthrough. This strategy is combined with an inclination to aphoristic formulations that have the ring of authoritative truth but not its content. Thus, in an essay on Proust and reading, he instructs us that "narrative is the metaphor of the moment, as reading is the metaphor of writing." This might at first sound profound, but the more you think about it, the more it dissolves into nonsense, with "metaphor" proving to be meaningless. And from the same essay: "This connection between metaphor and guilt is one of the recurrent themes of autobiographical fiction." When you contemplate all the autobiographical fictions that are neither driven by guilt nor much concerned with metaphor, the resonant proclamation about "one of the great themes of autobiographical fiction" collapses.
Last week, a "trio of concerned academics" managed to get seven "intentionally absurd papers" published in leading scholarly journals using similar tactics.

One paper they got accepted was about "canine rape culture in dog parks in Portland, Oregon."

As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, the paper "gained special recognition for excellence from its journal, Gender, Place, and Culture ... as one of 12 leading pieces in feminist geography as a part of the journal's 25th anniversary celebration."

George Orwell described how the communists ran the same scam in his 1946 essay, "Politics and the English Language."
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so". Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics". All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.
Leftists come up with new fake words and redefine old words to sound smart and bamboozle their readers. They use the same trick over and over again.

As a general rule: any time someone comes up with a new definition for an old word, you can safely assume they're a fraud.

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