Rules for the (Mis)Interpretation of Nietzsche

Following is a ‘Nietzsche for dummies’ crash course. It offers guidelines how to interpret his writings. The original set of rules stems from the 90’s internet. If anyone knows more  please let me know.  In honour of the original anonymus writer.

Note: these rules may be used by the vacuous and mendacious alike.

Rule #1:
Don’t read anything Nietzsche wrote, but feel free to offer an interpretation on what you think he might have/should have said in order to support your argument.

Rule #2:
If you must read something Nietzsche said, never read it in order, in series, and certainly never, never in context. Your illusion of understanding what he said will only get in the way of ‘creating’ your interpretation of what you think he might have/should have said in order to support your argument.

Rule #3:
When actually reading Nietzsche (if you really, really must–but you’ve been forewarned! What you think he said is clearly much more important than what he actually said) never, never, never! imagine he is describing the ways things are or were; always interpret his thoughts as being the way he thinks things should be! (Unless, of course, he’s actually describing the way he thinks things could be. However, this is a very difficult area of discernment, sometimes taking even longer than ten minutes to acquire, so that it’s best to leave these passages alone and let the ‘professional’ ‘scholars’ handle them.)

Rule #4:
Always consider Nietzsche to be vicious and stupid–don’t let anecdotal snippets of his life and actions mislead you into the truth!

Rule #5:
In conjunction with Rule #4 above: Never, never read any books about Nietzsche by authors (read: ‘scholars’) who have not adhered to these rules!!! They will only confuse reality with what you think Nietzsche might have/should have said in order to support your argument.

Rule #6:
Always remember that what you think Nietzsche said is more important than what he really said. History is on your side! But beware! Although the majority of editions in German are poorly edited; although the majority of (mis)translations into other languages are of the most abominable and atrocious ‘scholarship’; although the majority of books written about Nietzsche, or containing chapters devoted to Nietzsche, are mere fabrications adhering to these rules–there are sadly some bad apples of sterling scholarship and meticulous, considered, and understanding translation, exegesis, and thought. These must be avoided at all costs! (Avoid everything with the name Kaufmann attached to it, and if you dare read anything with the name Hollingdale–beware: only tiny fragments will be useful to you in any way! On second thought… skip Hollingdale as well; you’d have to violate the above rules in order to figure out where he was right and wrong.)

Rule #7:
If you must include actual quotations, we recommend the following procedure: Rip all the pages out of his books, keeping every third one and throwing the rest away (unless it’s Tuesday and there’s a full moon, in which case, by all means, throw out five, keep one!), tape them to a wall, and use a dart to pick an appropriate page. Then flip a coin to determine which side of the page to use for the needed quotation. Also bear in mind it is perfectly permissible within the boundaries of ‘good scholarship’, if necessary, to leave words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs out of the quotation (without, of course, any notation implying the gap–unless it’s useful to you) in order to blur the context beyond use and recognition. Do be sure to footnote the reference, however (at least within a page or two–of some edition. Actually, the German editions work best.)

Concluding note:
If you use these methods we can guarantee that you’ll be in the mainstream of Nietzschean scholarship the world over! Remember: Nietzsche is scum; everybody says so (but, after all, you already knew that!), and the majority of people that read what you’ve written about him will never actually read Nietzsche–so what’s really important is what you say he said, not what he really said. Be creative! Be sloppy! Be mendacious! Be vapid and insipid! Who cares? Who’ll know?–not even you!