Emic Revisionism?

douglass st.christian..... (stchri@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Thu, 9 Dec 1993 09:58:00 -0500

We keep coming around to this, a kind of cycle where the nadir is a spate
of pomo bashing. As an anthropologist with too much free time [ the flu
does that to you] I find myself asking myself an anthropological question:

there's this tribe, you see, lurking in the highlands of the ether, who
with regular formulaic utterances invoke a strange creature/idea/space
called pomo which they then exorcise by denial, castigation, ad hominem
character bullying...

i have searched my field notes, subject them to multi-dimensional scaling
and even tosed the damned things up in the air in the hope that the
resulting random accociations will give a clue to this behaviour, give me
a sense of what is being spoken in this pomo-bashing rites.

to no avail...i have no idea what pomo means, no idea who is being
characterized or criticized, no idea what is going on...

instead i hear rumors that the pomos have taken over the academy

that the pomos are nothing more than bandwagon jumpers [pomos jumping on
the pomo bandwagon]

that pomo has 'unearthed' a new reality

that pomo is a fad borrowed from a]history, b]lit-crit, c]architecture or
d] madonna...

Can anyone tell me what it is we talk about when we talk about pomo ..or
is the word, the idea nothing more than a convenient demon which
deconstructs into nothing on close examination?

Can anyone tell me who these pomo bandwagon jumpers are [Geertz is a cheap

Can anyone tell me where the pomo faddists have actually taken over anything?

Can anyone tell me what this new reality we keep hearing the pomos are
supposed to have discovered actually tastes like?

Or is all this pomo-ritualizing nothing more than talking for the sake of
hearing ourselves talk?



douglass st.christian
anthropology - mcmaster u.
hamilton - canada
905 529 4992