Replying to malicious, resentful carping is surely wasted time, and this particular tempest in a subfield teapot played out long ago, to boot, but (or as we evil, confused, jargonizing posties like to say, "I know very well but all the same . . .) if you thought Nussbaum's was a spot-on takedown of Butler, consider the following. Here is Nussbaum:
"Last year Butler won the first prize in the annual Bad Writing Contest sponsored by the journal Philosophy and Literature, for the following sentence:
The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.
Now, Butler might have written: 'Marxist accounts, focusing on capital as the central force structuring social relations, depicted the operations of that force as everywhere uniform. By contrast, Althusserian accounts, focusing on power, see the operations of that force as variegated and as shifting over time.'"
Read it? Good. If you are a theorist, and can read, you should have noticed this: Nussbaum wildly misunderstands--inverts--Butler's point. B. charts a move beyond standard Althusserian Marxism, while Nussbaum takes her to be advocating a move from classical Marxism to (an unreconstructed version of) Althusser. Is Butler's passage poorly written? Certainly. Is her position persuasive? I am, for a variety of reasons, critical. But for the present purposes, my interest is rather in this question: is her point ascertainable by someone with competence in contemporary continental theory? Yes. My upper-level undergraduates could parse Butler pretty accurately. Indeed--I have put this to the empirical test--they can read Nussbaum and, on their own, identify where and how she fundamentally misreads Butler. If you can't, I hope you won't be applying for a job in my department any time soon.