Polo wars (language, democracy and the death of the signified)

Joanna Sheldon cjs10 at cornell.edu
Mon Jan 31 12:40:23 PST 2000


This is a few days old but hey. Work insists.

>Note to Rob: How many times I gotta say
>this until you stop with the 'i must be such an idiot' thing which always
>seems to accompany your derisions of 'pomo', Rob? Doesn't your
>incomprehension suggest to you anything other than a derision of your
>intellect that might require that kind of reflexive strike? Or, is it
>because you assume that language is a universal human attribute and
>therefore incomprehension would be synonymous with a slight against one's

Well -- derision of one's own intellect has its uses. I haven't been here long enough to speak to this instance of it, but there's a kind of aw shucks guilelessness that (1) - can make hard-hitting assertions without alienating the opposition, (2) - has a hedge to hide behind when necessary, and (3) - plays the clown to make it easier for the audience to examine their own convictions, which is like 2 only different.

Your second question I find completely puzzling. If lack of understanding is "inhuman" (because language is a universal human attribute), then those who deride their own intellect are also calling themselves less than human.

Or? I must be missing something.



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