John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Fri, 3 Nov 1995 11:27:10 +0900

Matt Tomaso writes,

>>As I see it, people are not encouraged to delve too deeply into the
history of the discipline because we have this built in millenial reaction
to everything new and thus, good, old, theory is often left behind. This
has the effect of making it necessary to rediscover whole genres of
problems which had previously been dealt with.<<

Why invoke "millenial reaction" (sounds like phlogiston to me), when
the logic of late capitalism offers a more systemic explanation. To wit,
when (a) ideas are seen as "property" privately owned by their originators,
(b) the number of truly new ideas in circulation is limited, but (c)
"success"--as indicated by acquired status and income--depends on
appearing "original," the inevitable result will be a forgetting of past
generations to secure room for the new. Forgetting will open the way for
"rediscovery," which more often than not involves a raid on the past for
material that, torn out of its original context, can be renamed and
remixed, to create a "new" pastiche. "Progress" will be measured in the

****This rant is brought to you by John McCreery.
**** As someone who works in advertising, he says, "Ah, so that's what
we do."
****Acknowledgement to Frederic Jameson,_Postmodernism, or the
Logic of Late Capitalism_, from whom this argument was timely ripped.