Re: unusual language [postmodernism]

Michael S. Allen (allen.181@OSU.EDU)
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 09:33:29 -0400

(Sorry, Eric, I'm gonna hit the reply button anyway!)

Bob wrote:

"But we don't have any trouble figuring that Einstein wrote some primary
texts! Are we elitists in this? I'm wondering whether elitism is a
misdirect, in other words, either way: when Beth figures the authors of
that CFP as elitists, but not herself, or when you figure Beth is an
elitist. Let's face it, we all make these sorts of decisions and

Bob, I'd say we are elitists *if we're unaware of our own limited
perspectives*. This is a fine but important point: it's the difference,
for example, between what English departments say they are (open minded,
interested in ideas) and how they act (turf-protecting, linear/print
obsessed, puritan/p.c.). Or another, more salient example closer to home
for this list: it's like English departments who get excited about
"critical theory" but have real *big* problems even trying to make a space
for thinking about how close pomo theory and rhetoric are (as Steve K.
said). Modernism is about correctness, elitism, canonical lists--it's
heavily influenced by print, linearity, priesthoods, "the sacred"
(Lyotard's nostalgia for the "all and one"); literature professors are
obsessed by such list-making, canonicity--it's part of their modernist
turf-protecting. Pomo opens things up--and the priesthood instinctively
recoils from pomo in action, wanting to make a list of the "best of pomo"
rather than a hypertext of links.

Mike Allen