Caliban’s weary wanderings in search of the haven of Monster Island throw him upon the shore of a puzzling simulacrum, Monsterist Island, where he falls into conversation with a decidedly unmonsterish native.
Caliban: So you don’t believe in monsters?
Monsterist: I didn’t say that. How could I, with you shambling before me as proof? We do know there are monsters, but we also know that this is a rather simplistic way of saying that we don’t know that there aren’t any monsters.
Caliban: What about your proof?
Monsterist: Well, a lot of interesting work has been done challenging what we can possibly mean by the idea of proof.
Caliban: I’m sure. But in this case, given that I’m shambling right here in front of you, don’t you mean the evidence of your senses?
Monsterist: Don’t you see that you’re merely substituting the equally problematic terms ‘case’, ‘evidence’ and ‘senses’?
Caliban: What if I forego casuistry and rip your head off?
Monsterist: Then you would merely be conforming to your mythic stereotype – an easy category my colleagues and I have devoted years to critiquing in the most robust manner.
Caliban: Would that be as robust as having your head ripped off?
Monsterist: Now, you see, this goes to the heart of the debate: this argument was very elegantly resolved some years ago. It is not the case that robust argument need be compared to head-ripping, rather that head-ripping should be understood as a primitivist type of robust argument.
Caliban: Are you suggesting that monsterists evolved from monsters?
Monsterist: We don’t think evolution, with its assumptions of amelioration imposed merely by the introduction of succession, is a very useful concept. It’s rather that the style of robust argument allegedly favoured by monsters, should they exist, is problematically caught up with what appears to be an ill-thought through association between a fetishisation of violence and an attempt to attach aesthetic values (whatever they may be) to what must be understood as a strictly theoretical discourse. A discourse, I should add, with a venerable, recorded history, rather than some indistinct, fabulous genesis.
Caliban: Discourse with this. [rips head off monsterist]
Monsterist: Scientific estimates of up to thirty seconds of consciousness following decapitation suggest I have just enough time to suggest your action is more emulation of past monsters than arguable proof that you yourself are a… [expires]