PARIS - World-renowned thinker Jacques Derrida, a charismatic philosopher who founded the school known as deconstructionism, has died, the French president's office said Saturday. He was 74.
Derrida died at a Paris hospital of pancreatic cancer, French media reported, quoting friends and admirers.
"With him, France has given the world one of its greatest contemporary philosophers, one of the major figures of intellectual life of our time," President Jacques Chirac said in a statement, calling Derrida a "citizen of the world."
Love his ideas or hate them (and most of my profs at university hated them), you have to admire the influence he had on the intellectual world the last 40 years.
When even a magazine like Entertainment Weekly casually drops the catchphrase "deconstruct" when they are reviewing a particularly important movie, you know his ideas have spread beyond the ivory towers. Only a chosen few are as influential as he was.
If I could fix me up a week of twilight hours we'd sit on the point and watch the sun continually flounder. Bathed in gold we'd plug into some kind of power and connect with those days back before all of this went sour.
I thought I'd felt a great disturbance in the force, like millions of undergraduate postmodernist philosophy students crying out, then suddenly silenced... then bursting forth in a wave of insipid chatter until about 4:00 in the morning, when they passed out over their bottles of fake absinthe.
It's a pity someone as intelligent and insightful as Derrida had to go, especially when there are so many people still around who won't stop parroting him when they don't even understand him.
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