Re: unusual language [postmodernism]

Jeffrey R Galin (galin+@PITT.EDU)
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 14:15:23 -0400

Bob said:

> 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. . .

Sure there is always a regime of truth. This was the point I was
making in the 2nd issue I raised of the three--that pomo values
decentering, contradition, violation, disruption, etc. and yet functions
in relation to a regime of truth. the difference between a modernist
understanding of this relationship and the post modern one is that the
latter works to shift the regime of truth, while the former does not stop
to notice there is such a thing because it is the natural order of things.

To say there is always a regime of truth, however, is not to say
there should always be A canon. In fact, a pomo theorist who tries to
practice what she preaches would work hard to undermine the center which
you take as natural. Again, I return to my original response to Beth. I
know she never claimed to be a postmodern theorist. Honestly, I'm not
sure I can call myself this thing. But, my orginal post asked her to look
at the apparent contradiction embedded in her claim about categorizing
pomo theorists.

Nick, elitism is a derrogatory term as I use it, yes.
Exclusionary prose, standards, and other practices, when they are
intentional, are generally elitist. I dont' value elitism because it
breeds contempt, classification, and self-agrandizement, all traps we
academics too often fall into at times. Again I turn to the culture wars
of the 1990s to demonstrate. The defensive posturing and finger pointing
that went on among intellectuals at that time was appalling. Take a look
at a book called PC Wars: Politics and Theory in the Academy_ and Roger
Kimball's _Tenured Radicals_ for starters.


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