Re: unusual language [postmodernism]

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 12:36:20 -0400

On Thu, 10 Oct 1996, Jeffrey R Galin wrote:
> Bob,
> I'll take issue with the way your read my post. I was not calling
> Beth elitist. Rather I am concerned about the practice of expecting
> others to read a designated bodies of texts that are priviledged as
> primary before allowing those others the authority to speak.

Okay, I stand corrected. I do think, though, going along with what Nick
wrote in his post which followed yours, that it's a whole lot easier to
try to construct a different text around the word "elite" -- we're
sensitive to that charge. I'm pissed for sure if someone suggests
to me that I need to do my reading before I'm entitled to speak -- but,
come to think on it, that's exactly what we tell students from the get-go
ain't it (looping back all the way to the conversations about the essay,
here in the interversity awhile back). No wonder we're sensitive to that
word! :) Early on in this discussion someone mentioned the "elite"
language that car mechanics use -- but they don't seem sensitive to that
issue, so it's kind of a matter of academic culture, I think, informing
our sensibilities in certain particular ways (via grading, etc.).

> The move to canonize a set of texts
> is a traditionally modernist move, centering the discourse.

This may be where we disagree in general. I'm with those who say there is
always a regime of truth, always a center, always a canon, as a matter of
human nature/fact. Again I'm with Nick on this one -- we're better off
just to sit down, move a little closer to the fire, and give our reasons
for including this or that in the canon rather than imagining a world
without a canon. It's like imagining a body without a structural skeleton
-- it's imaginable to us, but we wouldn't work too well! That's my read
anyway. . .