Roger Kimball, at PJM, has proposed a summer’s end contest
The Challenge: Name the silliest argument to be offered by a serious academic in the last 25 years and to be taken up and be gravely masticated by the larger world of intellectual debate.
Examples given include Global Warming, and Kimball’s current favorite, Francis Fukuyama’a “End of History.”
It’s not going to be easy to top those very deserving entries. Off the cuff, the best I can do to compete is to offer the obvious choice: Martin Bernal’s 1987 Black Athena contention that Ancient Greece cribbed Western Civilization from Afroasiatic and Semitic sources.
My proposed runner-up would have to be the late John Boswell’s 1994 thesis in The Marriage of Likeness that the early Christian Church blessed Gay unions via brotherhood ceremonies, a thesis equal in both creativity and impertinence.
Interestingly, both of my choices are theories emanating from, and central to, bogus academic departments created essentially as compensation to victim groups.