A great and resonant thinker dies, and a great and resonant newspaper publishes an obituary dismissing his work as destructive and “abstruse”. It is an unjustifiable communicative travesty. When Jacques Derrida passed away, in October of this year, the New York Times wrote that his work was an attempt to undermine Western culture, despite his work being one of the most successful and persistent efforts of the last century to revive, clarify, enliven and apply Western thought to the problems of meaning, justice, creative work and political order.
The obituary was full of factual errors and infected with a hard-line bias against complex and rigorous thought. The facile and mistaken point of view that to distinguish between meaning and truth is to call for nihilist or morally bankrupt agendas in thought and politics… it failed to look at the work itself or the man himself and instead paraphrased poorly wrought critiques and conceptual gossip to try to discredit a monumental life of study in Western philosophy.