With due apologies to deadhorse palerider

rc-am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Sat Jan 29 04:10:13 PST 2000

At 01:24 am 2000-01-29 EST, you wrote:
>Angela hasn't read _my_ canon and obviously hasn't even heard of most of the
>people in it, or she she wouldn't characterize the writers I listed as
>"neopragmatists." >

Oh, my. Do you see anywhere in the entire post where I characterised those people you listed as neopragmatists?

I'm starting to seriously doubt your inclination to read when you can opt for a missreading that makes you able to justify some show of indignation -- but none of these indignations bear much scrutiny do they?

Here's what I wrote in relation to 'neopragmatists': "If I was preoccupied with posting endlessly about 'those dastardly neopragmatists'; then some effort would in fact be required to show not only that I've read them, but understand them. [etc]." That is, not a statement which has anything to do with those people you cited as your canon, but a statement about the kind of responsibility and effort that should be assumed of anyone who "was preoccupied with posting endlessly about 'those dastardly [insert whomever]."

>But as Yoshie and I were saying a few weeks back,
>pomoistas don't have to pay attention to Marxism anymore, it's so passe.

And this is relevant or true how? Oh, I see, it's not the content, but the gesture of filiation that you need here. You're more marxist than me because you have chats with Yoshie about how 'those pomoistas' don't pay attention to "marxism" "anymore". Your version of marxism doesn't seem to include much attention to concepts like real and formal subsumption, but let's not expect "attention", to either anything written here or elsewhere.

And I've no idea what you mean by "anymore", other than as another gesture about an apparent decline, which in any event is untrue as any recent booklist might show.

>1) antifoundationalism, the idea that all knowledge is theoretiucal and none
>is basic or given; it all depends on your subject position;

In Rorty, antifoundationalism does resolve down into the self-evidence of the particular stance: "we, amercians" being one of his favourites. Lyotard perhaps, but in the same way that Rorty understands foundations? But Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze/Guattari?? Jim H seems to have indicted poststructuralists with announcements of the death of the subject. I think he's closer to the mark; even though he takes announcements of the death of this subject as the announcements of ends of all. I don't know anyone who might say that all knowledge is theoretical, since I've no idea who might still use "theoretical" in contradistinction to "real". Same goes for subjective and objective.

>2) antirealism, that there is no extralinguistic reality apart from the way
>we talk about it;

Eh?... Who says this? You're not going to claim that Baudrillard does, even though you haven't read where he might say this, but you have your suspicions...

>3) antiessentialism, the idea that all natures are wholoy constructed, there
>are no real property that all members of a group objectivelly share apart
>from the way theya re conceived; the denial of objective interests

Denial? Who does this? (See a recent post of Daniel's for one of the more concise renditions of 'socially objective'.) Anyways, I think you're reading 'pomo' as an amplified species of social constructionism -- which is part of the problem I keep mentioning: 'pomo' as the way in which a whole host of writers got inserted into the US academic factory and its pre-existing disputes. A bit like Taylor translates Foucault into an acceptable version of the one of the US institutional canons -- quite contrary to the Foucault I've read.

>4) rejection of historical metanarratives of progress such as Marxism or
>ltraditional iberalism

Lyotard perhaps. Others might know better. Perhaps Rorty. Who else? Certainly Marx doesn't have a metanarrative of progress in the way Rorty might understand this.

>5) multiculturalism, a proclivity to emphasize social analysis in terms of
>constrictedrace and gender identities

Now you're kidding me, right?

>There are others.

I'll take your word for it.

>Rorty, who writes clean. literate prose, at least explains why he abandoned
>traditional argument

And what makes you assume that others don't. Who doesn't? Baudrillard certainly has (it's all there in _The PolEc of the Sign_), Derrida does all the time, Deleuze and Guattari too; Foucault also spends ages on it... And they each have quite different replies, ways of arguing, etc.

>some good pomo. Iris Young has a postmodernist discussion of
>justice. She presents arguments in terms that even I can follow

[Laclau et Mouffe snipped. Sure, I agree with you about L&M, though I would have used words like 'liberal' and 'pluralist' and they perhaps wouldn't deny it. But this is illustrative of what, exactly, other than something about L&M?]

Does it occur to you that 'those pomos' you like (Young and Rorty) are yanks? I'm not saying you only like yanks, but that idiom might well explain a lot more than you're granting about 'prose', 'argument', and 'clarity'.


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