Will truth (re)set us free?
Political empires create their own realities. Likewise the empires of mind. Emperors can be naked. Likewise the empires of mind. In 1996 “Social Text” published a peer reviewed paper “Transgressing the boundaries: towards a transformable hermeneutics of quantum gravity”. The limits of parody seemed within our reach. In 2018 “Gender, Place and Culture” published “Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon” and demonstrated that the sky is the limit. The sky, which reveals a new universe of hoaxes expanding in a post-truth vacuum. Are hoaxes unavoidable in normal science? Should we get used to them as we got used to exploding super-nova stars, imploding black holes and disappearing cats?
Perhaps they are. A literary scholar, a mathematician and a philosopher decided to have fun at the expense of their fellow professionals. They have invented feminist researchers and pretended to report their silly studies. Some politically correct reviewers and editors of academic publications swallowed the bait. They were positively amused. Were we? Are we? Should we?
We should not. Experts are not kings, but academic expertise deserves better. Solidarity with truth will (re)set us free, irony and dry mock won’t.