And forget Foucault too...

Mon, 13 Dec 1993 09:55:02 EST

Let's see...
1. I like the guys who put out the "forget <scholar X>" series. Yeah, I'm
inclined to agree that much postmodern nuttiness is not new to the 20th
century, and that some of it is just due to millenial wackiness. You
especially get that conclusion from "The Great Mambo Chicken and the
Transhuman Condition," who I cannot remember an author before, but skimmed
through... haven't seen David Harvey, but, BTW, isn't he part of the
"world systems" approach to sociology...
The only thing about pomo which isn't from the 17th century and will
probably outlast the millenial shift, as I was stressing before, are
the influence of certain "technologies of representation." I am certain that
plenty of people downplayed the importance of the printing press, just as
they do with virtual reality. There were plenty of people running around in
the 15th century saying, I'm sure, that this printing press bizness is
just "all hype" and it will go away, nobody will be impacted by movable
type... and this guy Martin Luther ain't anybody important, anyway (well
he's 16th century, but anyway)
2. OK, I take it back, I never said that primitive communities were
*only* defined by geography. In fact, this is probably only true in
the agricultural era, after the Neolithic revolution. Nomadism and hunter-
gathering continued (there still today) but the *majority* of the human
race decided they couldn't wander around all the time and grow good crops.
Fact remains, no matter how mobile people in the past were, 95% of them
never went more than 50 miles from where they were born. That's a big
difference from the modern era.
And in saying virtual communities are face-to-face, I was being
euphemistic. They are no more "face to face" than are phone sex chat lines
or ham radio stations. All I was suggesting was that, unlike most modern
communities, in 'virtual' communities people interact with the others in
their 'neighborhood' on a daily basis. Unless they're on mailing lists
where they only check mail once every two months.
3. Did Bell spend much time with Hindus or right-to-lifers? I think *you*
are being an academic, white-bread intellectual by assuming that both
groups are fanatical ideologues incapable of reason... I may not agree
with Vedantic fundamentalism or right-to-life ideologies, but I have
noticed that both appear to deal with the fact that they are not the only
memes in town, and have tried to find ways to rationally answer the
arguments of competing memes...
Anyway, Bell specifically said that the "postmodern" shift was only
occurring in Western metropoles, the places where academic whitebread
intellectuals like to hang out; he left it as an open question as to whether
anything was happening at all in the periphery. But he did insist that it
was something more than just a fad those academic whitebread intellectuals
were perpetuating on everybody else...
His main point in the "End of Ideology" was merely to point out that
almost no one today holds as ideology because they are not aware of any
other competing ones... therefore every ideology has had to move away
carefully from claims to absolute or exclusive truth, and to claims about
ways it is superior to competing ideologies...