Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Dec 25 20:30:20 PST 1998

Hence the willed "ugliness" of modern music in general, as if, in this state of pathological hebetude and insensibility, only the painful remained as a spur to perception.

The parallel with language is only too clear, and it is enough to evoke the fad for rapid reading and the habitual conscious or unconscious skimming of newspaper and advertising slogans, for us to understand the deeper social reasons for the stubborn insistence of modem poetry on the materiality and density of language, on words felt not as transparency but rather as things in themselves. So also in the realm of philosophy the bristling jargon of seemingly private languages is to be evaluated against the advertising copybook recommendations of "clarity" as the essence of "good writing": whereas the latter seeks to hurry the reader past his own received ideas, difficulty is inscribed in the former as the sign of the effort which must be made to think real thoughts.

- Fredric Jameson, Marxism & Form, p. 24

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