quick thoughts on usual and unusual languages

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 08:08:51 -0400

If the word 'pomo' represents a change in episteme or "overall picture of
truth and knowledge" then languages will emerge which enable different
communities to understand and enact the change.

Donna Haraway, Scott Bukatman and others argue that the language of cyborg
movies and cyber-sci-fi gets the message of pomo to particular audiences.

Sherry Turkle argues in _Life on the Screen_ that the use of computers as
a material practice immerses yet another audience in the meaning of pomo
(her argument is interesting in particular to our discussion, because she
states right out that computer-use = French pomo brought down to earth).

I've read a good case that rap music, particularly it's construction
technigues, brings the message of pomo to yet another audience.

If you add all these audiences up -- then throw in the folks who
listen/watch to David Letterman to get a dose of pomo, or as someone
suggested, acuately I think, those who get their pomo instruction from
watching the Clinton presidency. . .

If you add all these languages up, there may be no need for academic pomo
to trickle down at all. Maybe part of the task just becomes making
"links" to the other languages already very developed, and then we
continue our talk just like other communities continue their talk. To
assume that theoretical language needs to trickle down maybe doesn't give
the people in other language communities enough credit for being theorists
themselves, or enough recognition to the scale and pervasiveness of an
epistemic change such as we're in. Again, maybe a relevant metaphor is
"link" rather than "translation."

What the above "multilingual and multicultural" model allows for is the
overall inclusion of language's inherent exclusionary aspect as well as
language's inherent inclusive aspect (we use language to "exclude all
meanings except the one we are trying to convey -- that's the inherent
exclusionary principle -- and we use language to communicate/share
meanings -- that's the inclusive principle).

Main point here is that people theorize from available local materials,
and, because it does seem we're in an epochal shift, there are some
striking similarities to the theories being arrived at in many different
localities. . .