What the hell is this?
The eye-catching title sort of makes sense; if there did indeed exist a conceptual form of the penis (one residing in the realm of thought, as opposed to the real thing residing in underwear), then it would be fair to describe the imaginary shlong as a social construct.
After that, the article is nonsense. In fact, that was by design. They created much of the text using a postmodernism generator, which spits out a new academic-sounding paper every time you refresh the page. (All college students running into deadlines, take note.) Then they carefully read it over—I’ve got to admire the patience of these jokers—and obfuscated anything that accidentally made sense.
It begins with typical cringe-worthy gender studies drivel:
The androcentric scientific and meta-scientific evidence that the penis is the male reproductive organ is considered overwhelming and largely uncontroversial. It is true that nearly all male-gendered persons who were also male at birth have a genital organ that, among other purposes, carries the duct for the transfer of sperm during copulation. This organ is usually identified as the penis, and for many “males” it serves the role of their reproductive organ. There are, however, many examples of persons with penises who will not reproduce, including those who have sustained injury, are unable to coerce a mate, are uninterested in producing offspring, are medically infertile, or identify as asexual. While these examples may still constitute “males,” it is distinctly fallacious to identify their penises as reproductive organs. Furthermore, there are many women who have penises.
Just imagine—when you were a baby, the first time you peeked under your diaper, you though you saw something real. When you got the “birds and the bees” talk, you learned what else you could do with it besides take a leak. Or so you thought!
As these academics just showed, the wiener isn’t necessarily a reproductive organ after all, and it’s kinda sorta not real to begin with. Indeed, these wiseacres did a pretty good send-up of how lefty academics use obscurantist language to make something rigidly definable and pointing to the highest form of truth seem like a limp and squishy abstraction that does nothing.
After erecting a description of the fallacy that the phallus is anything real, the thrust is to prove the point with the “conceptual penis” concept. Following that, it slides into a discussion of “machismo braggadocio”, coupling it with the feminist concept of (you guessed it) “toxic hypermasculinity”. As for the global warming angle, I’ll let the opening paragraph of section 2.2 drive into the meat of the argument:
Nowhere are the consequences of hypermasculine machismo braggadocio isomorphic identification with the conceptual penis more problematic than concerning the issue of climate change. Climate change is driven by nothing more than it is by certain damaging themes in hypermasculinity that can be best understood via the dominant rapacious approach to climate ecology identifiable with the conceptual penis. Our planet is rapidly approaching the much-warned-about 2°C climate change threshold, and due to patriarchal power dynamics that maintain present capitalist structures, especially with regard to the fossil fuel industry, the connection between hypermasculine dominance of scientific, political, and economic discourses and the irreparable damage to our ecosystem is made clear.
A few more paragraphs of penetrating prose follow, indicating that—yes indeed—your dick causes global warming. You already knew you’re personally responsible for all the world’s problems; now we can conclude your conceptual cock is confirmed as the cause.
So what the hell does this really mean?
They didn’t really prove that tallywhackers (conceptual or otherwise) cause global warming, of course. What they did prove was that postmodernism is mental masturbation by the types who George Wallace described as “pointy-headed intellectuals who can’t park their bicycles straight”. As their website’s blurb says:
Cogent Social Sciences is a multidisciplinary open access journal offering high quality peer review across the social sciences: from law to sociology, politics to geography, and sport to communication studies. Connect your research with a global audience for maximum readership and impact.
In that case, one or more academic types gave the “conceptual penis” article the high quality peer review, and then they thought it was an important enough contribution to human knowledge to publish it.
The fact that the references were fake didn’t bother them (which they would’ve discovered if they’d done a little checking), though they did ask for a few more scholarly citations before it went to press. The provocative language didn’t dissuade them. The premise being entirely ridiculous didn’t cause them to reject the paper either, of course.
And what the hell is postmodernism?
This isn’t the first time that someone hoaxed the academic establishment like this. As Breitbart’s writeup indicates:
They were hoping to emulate probably the most famous academic hoax in recent years: the Sokal Hoax—named after NYU and UCL physics professor Alan Sokal—who in 1996 persuaded an academic journal called Social Text to accept a paper titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”.
Sokal’s paper—comprising pages of impressive-sounding but meaningless pseudo-academic jargon—was written in part to demonstrate that humanities journals will publish pretty much anything so long as it sounds like “proper leftist thought;” and partly in order to send up the absurdity of so much post-modernist social science.
Alan Sokal is an honest liberal who felt that postmodernism was a distraction from real issues. As he put it, you can’t talk about pollution if you can’t agree that air exists. So, he wrote a paper basically stating that (if I follow the argument correctly) the constants of physics could adjust themselves as needed in pursuit of social justice. That, of course, is baloney, but they published it anyway. Rather than learning a lesson about the virtues of relevance (and clarity of writing), the academic community squealed like a piglet when they got punked. Seriously, I’d buy the guy a beer.
I first encountered this kind of crap in an English class. Much of the required reading included glowing references to people like Comrade Lukacs, the leading lights of the Frankfurt School (then, I had no idea who they were), and postmodern drips like Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault. Worse was trying to wade through a pile of leftist jargon, mostly Greek-based, in which I had no experience. I tried very hard, but the texts brushed off my every effort to penetrate them. Actually, my required readings made the “conceptual penis” article seem like Hemingway. It was one of the last two classes I had to finish in order to graduate, so it was particularly frustrating. Since deciphering their floating abstractions was the final hurdle between me and a diploma, I think I’d buy Professor Sokal two beers. I’ll buy a couple rounds for the “conceptual penis” jokers too.
Somehow I passed and graduated, though for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the hell the stuff I was required to read actually meant. Now I know a little better. The whole point of postmodernism (and its bastard child, deconstructionism) is basically that nothing is real and nothing makes sense. They write this way in the attempt to prove these points. It’s all about saying nothing using a large pile of words.
This is what happens when mediocre minds are educated far beyond their capability of understanding. The “conceptual penis” article was a joke on them, but really the joke is on the public for paying the big salaries of these professors for playing pretentious word games.