File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_1994/baud.May94, message 22

Subject: Re: the word-producing industry
Date: Mon, 23 May 94 18:27:31 PDT

Baldwin writes:

Stephen Crook in "Radicalism, Modernism, and Postmodernism" 
maintains that postmodern nihilism exhibits itself in two
symptoms: "an inability to specify possible mechanisms of
change, and an inability to state why change is better than
no change."  I think this nihilism could be disasterous for
the academy, teachers as well as students.  If not for "change",
what purpose do we serve.  I can't believe (as an intellect
hungry for meaning) that we serve no (at least practical)

     Oh no, not symptoms!  "Postmodern nihilism" sounds as though 
     it is now entering the lexicon of *illness*--perhaps
     if we put the right medical researchers to work on it,
     we can discover a cure, some surgical procedure for
     preventing the catastrophic ramifications of this dread
     disease (concerning which we've actually got precious
     little in the way of verification of *existence* or
     even of its clinical differences from the affliction
     I've recently 'discovered' in my own medico-academic
     research which I call "praxisitis", an increasingly 
     common affliction of intellectuals which brings on an
     unhealthy degree of certainty as to what needs to be changed,
     interpreted, and 'emancipated' and a significant inflammation
     of the politicus dogmaticus).

     Of course Althusser, Bourdieu, Paul Willis and a host of others
     have not a little to say about the claim that the academy is
     (or has *ever* been) about "change" in the sense Baldwin 
     vaguely seems to indicate.




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