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December 1993


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Robert Withers <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 5 Dec 1993 21:04:07 EST
text/plain (35 lines)
On Thu, 2 Dec 1993 09:42:59 -0500 <DBOUSE@ALBION> said:
>"Cinema and the Postmodern" -- okay, I'm going to ask the obvious,
>because I fear we have all been taken to the Emporer's tailors.
>The postmodern WHAT?   Have we reached a point in intellectual discourse
>where we no longer need nouns?  Or is it implied that we will all fill
>in our own?  (your noun here).
>The postmodern ETHOS?      "THINGS Postmodern"?
>As nebulous as these are, they are more precise -- and better English --
>than "the postmodern."   The state of the English language is precisely
>what is at issue.  What passes for profound theoretical insight today
>is all too often merely a cynical (or desperate) manipulation of language
>to give the appearance of complex thought.
      Derek, loved your diatribe.  I guess Humpty Dumpty was the original
(deconstructed) deconstructionist.  "Words will mean whatever I say they mean
-- the question is, who's in charge."  Actually, since I enjoy a sense of
mystery in things, I enjoy reading some of the French-like English, but there's
no doubt that a major strategy behind much of it is to make statements that are
unanswerable.  I think my favorite of this genre is Derrida's "Spurs/Eperons"
which printed the French and an English "translation" on facing pages -- so
the text could slip and slide between as well as within languages.
      But my pet peeve is the relentless repetition of cliche jargon -- as in
recasting sentences so you can say things like "The work was a site of suture
between the arboreal and the funereal."  "Site" this, "suture" that -- it's
enough to make one reach for the shredder.  And there are such serviceable
words in the language already.
Robert Withers
Film Department              That was zen, this is tao . . .
Brooklyn College
Brooklyn, New York 11210     Bitnet:   [log in to unmask]
(718) 951-5664               Internet: [log in to unmask]