Re: Hurrier I Go, Behinder I Get

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Tue, 29 Oct 1996 08:58:13 -0500

On Mon, 28 Oct 1996, Annie Armentrout wrote:

> >On Fri, 18 Oct 1996, Bob King wrote:
> < S N I P >
> >> Some of this "play" is not encouraging to me, and I do think it speaks of
> >> serious misunderstandings of the situation we're all in (a situation not
> >> well described by cereal-box or common sense versions of postmodernism).

> And just what situation is it that we're all in? How is it being
> misunderstood? And what do you mean 'we'?

Annie, I'm playing/working with the idea that the situation
we're all in is one in which we are very suspicious of statements like
"the situation we're all in," very suspicious of the idea that
"misunderstandings" are still possible even in conditions of pluralism,
and very suspicious that there is in any sense a "we!"

In other words I'm interested in how an era may be defined by its
questions rather than its answers -- particularly an era (our own time in
history) which lays claim to the paradoxical "answer" that there are no
answers. So, knowing I'm out on a limb, the "we" I refer to is the we
that seems to easily and naturally generate questions about the invalidity
of the category of "we." I realize I'm presenting my own point of view on
this. I also realize it may not be a topic others are all that interested
in! -- and in part I'm interested because I looked pretty hard at the
topic of ethics and pomo (being a product of my times, you know) when I
wrote doctoral exams, so I drift into "authorial voice," (another category
of suspicion!) at times.

By all means (in reference to your following words), I do think we should
talk and debate these things (i.e., is there a "we?"), and I do think
the debate can be done in common sense language. In my last post, I tried
to do just that -- putting/stating my perception that the bugaboo or
"problem" with postmodernism is that it has not found a way to acknowledge
"the given" (i.e., the spiritual dimension of humans, our ties to our
planet, our we-ness and wee-ness, etc.). Although the last I heard
Derrida was reading and talking about the Bible (a friend of mine was
lucky enough to be in a seminar he did a few years back at UC Irvine),
for the most part I don't associate postmodern theory with anything other
than the idea that we construct our world from scratch, in some sense.
Maybe others have read some passages in pomo theory about spirituality or
what not. I haven't.

I have, however, seen much of such discussion in feminist theory (i.e.,
eco-feminism), so in part I'm also wondering why (me being suspicious) the
attention to postmodern theorists more than feminist theorists (part of
the much noted backlash? -- I'm not sure, but I'm curious).

> Moreover, if that situation is
> such that it can't be/shouldn't be talked about/explained/debated in clear,
> concise and coherent language and have some tie to common sense (which can
> be damnably uncommon), then doesn't that exempt a great many of us from
> that 'we'?

I agree with what you are saying/asking here. I am seeking ordinary
conversation, coherent language use, and common sense about our present!
I'll look forward to reading what you think. I'm trying to be disciplined
because I (obviously) like the topic -- this is my email time allotment
for the next couple of days as far as writing goes! :)