YAH, What Tom Said!

Christine Boese (boesec@rpi.edu)
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 14:19:56 EDT

This stuff is piling up in my mailbox, mostly to the point of redundant
boredom, keeping my delete finger in shape, etc. However, I saw some things
that bear repeating just because they were so well said. So read an edited
version of Tom Maddox again, people. And Tom, thank you!

And I quote: "BUTT UGLY!!!"

(I wanted to make that the subject line, but decided it was too rude.)

>>On Sat, 12 Oct 1996, Tom Maddox wrote:
>>> The pomo theory stuff I often find ugly, pretentious, and deluded, to tell
>>> the truth. Words such as problematize, hegemony, aporia; goofball
>>> constructions on the order of con/pre/de/teXtualization re/con/inversion
>>> (cha cha cha); labored puns; brain-boggling syntax; ritual invocation of
>>> sacred names; generally, a sense that one is being addressed by a Master of
>>> Major Arcana--oh well, I do go on, and I'm being cheerfully unfair, but the
>>> hell with it; I began struggling with with this stuff in the late '70s, and
>>> I feel I've earned a little attitude.

>If that works for you, fine, but a great many people with considerable
>influence would have us believe that these theories are more than useful to
>some folks some of the time--they are essential. I should also note, in
>fairness, that much of what I despise comes not from the Big Hitters
>(though I do believe Lacan was a bit of a charlatan, and Baudrillard is
>just silly much of the time) but from their acolytes, who manipulate the
>language borrowed from the B.H.s like novice magicians mimicking the
>master's incantations, complete with nasal whine, cigarette cough, and
>Kentucky accent.
>>a day will come when Faulkner will make some important sense to me.
>And maybe not. Gustibus non est disputandum. But as *artists* I find the
>theorists a sad lot, for reasons mentioned above. Even when I grow
>severely impatient with Faulkner or, say, Joyce, I never feel that their
>efforts are bogus, which I quite often do with the theorists. I sometimes
>feel that all theory aspires to the condition of gibberish.

***Stuff Cut***

>True enough--I just wonder why their writing has to be so often labored and
>butt ugly.

***Stuff Cut***

>I don't follow you here. I understand the coercion well enough, but I do
>not see how that ties to difficulty for its own sake. My feeling is that
>things are quite difficult and strange enough on their own terms without
>adding difficulty. I much prefer simplicity and elegance and do my
>damndest to get there (all right, I confess I have a weakness for humor,
>too, but Monty Python's more than Derrida's).

Christine Boese, Adm. Ass't
Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication
at Rensselaer