Re: unusual language [postmodernism]

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 17:16:53 -0400

On Thu, 10 Oct 1996, Jeffrey R Galin wrote:
> 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.

I think many people born before the 1950's (thoughtful modernists, I'd
call them) would object to a characterization of them as people "who did
not stop to notice there is such a thing" as a regime of truth!" and there
are perhaps people who consider themselves to be dyed in the wool pomos
who nonetheless don't seem to notice that every regime of truth has its
blind spots.

Awhile back Marcy and I wrote a bit about everyone having a "little
Hampshire" and a "little citadel" in them, so we could add a "little
modernist" and a "little postmodernist."

> In fact, a pomo theorist who tries to
> practice what she preaches would work hard to undermine the center which
> you take as natural.

I take it as empirical, and in that sense "evidently natural" (like the
proposition "humans are social critters") -- we've never seen it
otherwise, so it's a pretty safe statement! For example, in saying that
"a pomo theorist who tries to practice what she preaches would work hard
to undermine the center" -- you mark out a center (by which I mean an
organizing field of concepts and/or practices). A different kind of
center? Yes. A center that structures behavior (linguistic and
otherwise) differently? Yes. But still a center? Yes! I'll appeal
to the Missouri state motto: "Show me" otherwise! Try writing without

For me, a regime of truth implies some notion of centrality, however
flexible and complex. The notion of decenteredness is paradoxical as an
organizing principle, but that doesn't make it any less central, imo.
Enjoying the exchange. . .