Re: unusual language [postmodernism]

Jeffrey R Galin (galin+@PITT.EDU)
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 16:54:13 -0400


Ok, perhaps I have overstated my case, but I make a very simple
claim which goes back to discussions we have been having about grades,
evauation, instituional requirements etc. Higher education is an elitist
form of training. I think Nick was trying to say that this is not all
bad. We need ways of limiting, judging, and earning cultural capital.
None of this upsets me. I take it as part of the institutional structure.
But, when we start attemeting to lay out the specifics: Lyotard is
secondary to Derrida if you want to gain the real meaning of pomo, we are
engaging in what seems to me a silly game of hats. If you have read all
my books then you get a hat. If you don't have a hat, you don't have a
voice. If you don't have a voice in academia, you don't exist because you
must publish or perish. This club mentality is what I am arguing against.
As Mike suggested earlier to day, in our arrogance and self-interested
ways we academics often fall into this trap. It is a paradox of pomo

Certainly I realize that there are community values that dictate a
certain degree shared cultural currency. This point, at least, E.D.
Hirsch got right. But, again, the point at which intentional boundaries
get errected to maintain the club of hats is the point at which postmodern
(or any thory for that matter) theory has ceased to function in the world
of things. As you might have noticed, I'm fundamentally a realist.

Perhaps because I know that $$$ drives this culture of ours, I try
to keep questioning how I impose my standards and values on others. I
ain't in academia for the bucks. I have to understand my students who
come to me because they think I can help them better get those bucks.
Giving them fixed reading lists is not likely to serve them or me very

Hope this clarifies. I have this feeling though that I have
muddied the waters even worse.


> Jeff, I really do not understand this statement/claim, perhaps because I
> know of not a single language (or symbolic) that does not make meaning by
> way of excluding. This is the predisposition from which I work and play.
> What is your predisposition that warrants your claim? (This is all very
> relevant to the CFP.)
> I understand what you mean in terms of intentionality, but not in terms of
> the previous condition of language itelf. It sounds as if you are making a
> moral judgment about good intentions. If so, then, Is language basically
> immoral since finally deceptive (cf. Burke, *Attitudes...* and Nietzsche,
> "Truth and Lying in the Extramoral....")
> Cents and $$$ are earned always at some other's expense and at all of our
> indebtedness. Particular modernists and postmodernists are aware of
> this expense and try to write in such a variety of ways/waves so
> as to bring as much to view as possible.
> Would you please explain what your predisposition is in order to make
> such a claim?
> Victor

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