When Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay published their recent hoax article “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, they clearly thought they had just majorly dunked on those Foucault-fellating nerds over in the Gender Studies department. “Ha-ha,” they no doubt said, in sing-song Nelson style, while pointing at the silly feminists who–fingers cramped and worn from their years of clutching both their pearls and their dog-eared copies of Gender Trouble fast to their keffiyeh-draped breasts–would no doubt now finally be forced to acknowledge the total vacuity and intellectual bankruptcy of their entire discipline. A Second Coming of Sokal, truly.
Michael Shermer was suitably breathless in his praise of the authors, writing as an introduction to their revelation of the hoax in Skeptic magazine:
Every once in awhile it is necessary and desirable to expose extreme ideologies for what they are by carrying out their arguments and rhetoric to their logical and absurd conclusion, which is why we are proud to publish this expose [sic] of a hoaxed article published in a peer-reviewed article [sic] today. It’s [sic] ramifications are unknown but one hopes it will help reign [sic] in extremism in this and related areas.
Of course, what Boghossian and Lindsay actually proved with their little stunt was something entirely unrelated and unsurprising to anyone working in academia today: scammy, exploitative, pay-to-play academic journals will publish literally anything in return for cold, hard cash.