File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 33

Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001 15:42:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Post-modern, Post-Marxist etc. comments on philosophy and culture

Eric, Steve, and All

I posted this item because of its British context (Birmingham University)
references to French Continental Philsophes
and the future of Marxism or whatever substitute. Sprawling incoherence it
may be, but that, we shall never escape.

Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, a 1991 movie of unbounded tastelessness
punctuated with little episodes of stupidity, pigs and chickens and mice, a
birthmark on a right buttock the shape of Whistler's Mother.
Very regressive - you laugh at yourself laughing at yourself, as Roger Ebert

I wish Lyotard had got around to the subject of laughter, but
sadly, he didn't, and the reason to mention this silly movie is purely

This ten-year old masterpiece satirizes Poppy Bush, and Barbara, and
convoke's a
meeting of oil, coal and nuclear executives, and their scientific henchmen
and lobbyists who set up an energy plan and plead for continued subsidies -
So help me!  Don't laugh!  Its the same
Cheney-GWB plan that's filled mediaspace and aroused the Greens, deja-vu all
over again.

And now, for a more specific reply.......


> I am not sure how to respond to all of this.  Here are just a few rough,
> random and passing comments.
> 1. It seems to me that an appreciation of someone like Dante will always
be something of an elitist endeavor.  Great art may have universal
pretensions, but it only speaks to a minority in practice. However, does
this mean Dante should be elevated over rap music, comic books, Barbie
dolls or mauve orchids? Or doesn't it?  Who determines what's important?
How is this judged?  By what criteria? These still seem like  open issues,
whether one is "Marxist" or not.

**Most college graduates are exposed to Dante, or at least Shakespeare, but
don't enjoy their works.  On the other hand,
one never knows where genius will strike - a Mozart will write symphonies
while his age is in single digits, or at age seven, a Peter Brook
presents Hamlet to his parents and plays all the characters.
(Can this be true?)**

> the social sciences themselves in a state of crisis even as they are
> embraced by other disciplines. How does an English department legitimize
itself today?   **With Govt. grants?**
> 3. I have been struck by the expanding role that criticism plays in
> everyday life.  I don't mean academic critics like Stanley Fish or
> Harold Bloom,
**Bloom recommended "Blood Meridian" by Carmac McCarthy, as a great novel. I
checked it out on the Internet, and found comments by people who
kept trying to read it but had to put it down. I didn't think I would have
such difficulty.  I was wrong.  Eventually, I finished it, and am still not
sure what it was about.**
but the more lumpen critics who expound on movies, music,
> restaurants, fashion and television to the point where academia appears to
have been superceded by Entertainment Tonight.  It has gotten to the  point
where politics itself appears to be a subcategory of such  criticism.  **I
tried (twice) to watch
"Politically Incorrect" - not a chance.  Go for Letterman and Leno.**
> What does it say about the growing complexification of our social
stratification that we need such Baedeckers in order for people to locate
their proper ecological niche?
**It says that in a country where greed is the highest value, the
Communications/Entertainment industry gets the highest adulation and an
obscene share of the GDP.**

I have heard of children> traumatized about attending school because their
clothing lacked the proper labels. **I think labels change, whereas
children,  "the more they change, the more they are the same".**

Best wishes to all the children and grandchildren.


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