21 feb. 2007

Adam Robert identifies what he calls a "weasel idiom" in Terry Eagleton:

"Ulster Protestants are not by and large dandyish aesthetes notable for their extravagant wordplay and surreal sense of humour. The English middle classes are for the most part less physically and emotionally expressive than Neapolitan dockers. It is unusual to meet a working-class Liverpudlian who dresses for dinner, other than in the sense of putting on a shirt."
Eagleton is trying to demonstrate that, well, stereotypes can actually be true. But to do so, he has rely on the reader's sense of the inherent rightness of certain stereotypes. Thus we get the demonstrative Southern Italian and the the stodgy Ulsterman as examples! Leave it to a washed-up Marxist theorist to make such weak arguments. But then again, washed-up Marxist theorists, "by and large," are not known for their ability to fashion cogent arguments. See how easy it is to be weasely? Eagleton was always pretty glib, I'd say.