OK, try this:-
"Jantjie's performance was not meaningless – precisely because it delivered no particular meaning (the gestures were meaningless), it directly rendered meaning as such – the pretence of meaning."
Jantjie was the chap doing the sign language at the Mandelafest. It's emerging now that his skills lean more towards killing people by hanging petrol-filled burning tyres around their necks, but that's by the way. The sentence above is from Slavoj Žižek's comment piece in the Guardian today. The peculiar thing is, I know what he's saying.
There's an asian corner shop down the road that's installed a short concrete wheelchair ramp from the 6" high doorstep. The trouble is, it's only 14" wide - too narrow to be of any practical use whatsoever. Just as the gorget was the remnant of a shrunken ceremonial breastplate, so this ramp lays claim to the heritage of disabled access without actually providing it. Slavoj is hypothecating that the SA authorities were doing the same - it didn't matter that the sign language wasn't real, it was the gesture of having a signer that was important.
It's an interesting theory. We could scrap IDS' welfare system entirely and rely on the Sovereign's distribution of the Maundy purses to symbolise our commitment to welfare benefits, do away with the NHS and distribute healing crystals instead to symbolise our commitment to healthcare and send a single Beefeater in full ceremonial fig to Cameron's next war. Or perhaps not.