The Fellowship of the Text

A Tale of Philosophy

In the lightless land of France, the doors to the Dark Lord’s tower opened, and the undead minions of Jacques Derrida, dressed as riders in black, went forth into the Continental Realms in search of the One Text that had been lost to him.

Dread and despondency overtook the land with their passing. Frightful tales of murder and butchery and deconstruction were whispered from trembling lips of both philosophers and normal folk throughout the land. Even those residing in the most remote regions heard traces and hints and spied startling shadows under the night sky.

As fear choked the continent, the philosophers of the free peoples gathered for council at a university well-known for its devotion to Tradition and Truth. There they were to discuss the growing threat and what was to be done with the One Text, now in the possession of an unlikely hero: an ABD philosophy student named Rose Woodhouse.

Mere minutes before the council began, Logician, the head of the university marked by his elfish ears, calculating stare, and dyed comb-over, met privately in his office with his old wizardly friend, the Aristotelian.

The Logician spoke: “The Text of Derrida cannot stay here. It is pure evil, a construction made only to deconstruct and destroy Tradition and Truth. We have not the power to use it—its usage would destroy our very souls—nor can we survive a fight against Derrida’s forces. And now, you tell me Kyle Cupp has betrayed us. Our list of allies grows thin.”

“His treachery is worse than you know,” the Aristotelian. “He’s crossed deconstructionists with realists in the caverns of Isengard; he’s breeding an army of postmodern phenomenologists.”

Logician looked even grimmer, if that was possible, and shook his head in dismay. “We analytic philosophers are leaving this Continental Realm. Who will you look to when we are gone? The Platonists? They hide in their caves and care nothing for the problems of others.”

“It is in hermeneutists that we must trust.”

“Hermeneutists are weak,” Logician retorted. “It is because of the hermeneutists that the Text survives. I was there, you know. I was there when their interpretations failed.”

“There is one who could unite their interpretations and reclaim the throne of philosophy,” the Aristotelian offered.

“He turned from that academic path a long time ago,” Logician sighed. “He has chosen blogging.”


As the council began, Rose took her seat. To her right and left sat Logician and Aristotelian respectively. Also in attendance were Thomist, Phenomenological Realist, Hermeneutist, Pragmatist, Existentialist, Ethicist and many others.

“Bring forth the Text!” Logician commanded.

Slowly, Rose stood up and brought the Text before them, laying it upon the dean’s desk. “Here it is,” said Rose, “the one Text to deconstruct them all.”

“So it is true!” exclaimed Pragmatist. “It is a gift! A gift to philosophers, indeed to all thinkers of good heart who know their limits. And a gift to the foes of our enemies! Let us use it against them.”

“No! You cannot use it. The only gifts of Derrida are différance and death,” the Aristotlean warned. “The Text answers to Derrida alone; it must be destroyed!”

“Existence precedes essence, my friend,” piped the Existentialist. “Perhaps the Text would possess you, but some of us, masters of the nothingness that we are, would not allow the Text to assimilate us into its projects.

The members of the council each gave him the Sartrean look.

“On the contrary,” said Thomist, “I answer that the Aristotelian is right. The Text must be destroyed.”

“And I suppose you think you’re the one to do it!” Phenomenological Realist growled. “But I’ll be a stinking relativist before I see the Text in the hands of a Thomist. Never trust a Thomist!”

The council erupted in shouts and quarrels, with Ethicist calmly asking what each philosopher meant by “must,” but in the midst of the chaos, Rose stood amidst the fray and said with fortitude: “I will take it! As long as I can stop by the Louvre, I will take the Text to France, and there I will toss it back into the fires of Mount Doom from which it came.”

The confusion subsided, and the wizard Aristotelian bowed before Rose. “I will help you bear this burden, as long as it is yours to carry.”

“You have my interpretations,” proclaimed Hermeneutist.

“And my Forms,” asserted the Platonist.

One by one, the others joined in, with the Alteritist finally agreeing to participate, but obviously apprehensive about being reduced to the same.

From behind a chair, Russell Saunders emerged.

“Rose isn’t going anywhere without me!”

“No,” said the Logician. “It is hardly possible to separate you two when she is invited to a secret council and you are not.”

“What!” shouted the voices of Erik and Tod. “We’re coming too!” Seemingly out of the woodwork, Patrick, Jaybird, Ethan and all the other ordinary gentlemen flooded into the dean’s office.

“So be it,” said Logician. “You shall be the Fellowship of the Text.”

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    “I will take the Text to le École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales”, said Rose, “though I do not know the way.”

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Derrida, Derrida!’ said Quine, still laughing. ‘Derrida, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his linguists. Ah me!’ he paused, getting the better of his mirth. ‘Understand one another? I fear I am beyond your comprehension. But you, Derrida, I understand now too well. I keep a clearer memory of your arguments, and deeds, than you suppose. When last I visited you, you were the jailor of the Metaphysicians, and there I was to be sent. Nay, the guest who escaped from the roof, will think twice before he comes back in by the door.

  3. Eric M. says:

    Kyle, I’m looking forward to the future sequels, like “The Two Texts” and “The Return of the Text.” I also have a (new) hope that we might someday see the Text Saga: “The Phantom Text,” “The Attack of the Text,” “The Revenge of the Text,” and “The Text Strikes Back.”