RE: virus: Re: Postmodernism and Truth

Vicki Rosenzweig (
Sat, 18 May 1996 14:20:00 -0700 (PDT)

The discussion of television and hegemony reminds me that
Barbara Ehrenreich has suggested that the real appeal of
television, in particular situation comedies, is that it is a place
where we see people living real lives and not watching television.
The irony in this is obvious, of course--people are desperate for
the sight of conversation, pick-up ball games, and such, but have
forgotten how to do these things. But it does suggest that, somewhere
underneath, we may want at least a glimpse of a world in which millions
of people do not go home after work and have the same experience.

Vicki Rosenzweig
From: owner-virus
To: virus
Subject: virus: Re: Postmodernism and Truth
Date: Saturday, May 18, 1996 1:34AM

David McFadzean wrote:

> Deron Stewart mentioned in a recent message that there is an implicit
> Virian belief in one objective truth that is true for all people. I think
> that is true (for all people :-). The claim that truth is subjective is
> self-inconsistent. (snip) ... there is indeed a way that things are: an
objective truth.

Hmm. Once again, you've done a good job of taking a step back and
presenting an interesting look at the big picture.

But, I think we need to address the *spirit* of postmodernism and what
it does.

The reason why "hegemony" is a catch phrase in much of postmodern theory
is that there really *are* groups of people who control culture.
Electronic media (here, I mean TV) promotes the reality that, yes,
several million people can go hom from work and have nearly the same
experience. Postmodern thought asks people to question the truth of that

Neil Postman and "somebody" Merowitz (he wrote "No Sense of Place"-
sorry for the academic laziness- I just don't have the book anymore.)
both write about how media changes the way we actually think about the
world and how we percieve truth.

Paradigm shifts occur with a shift in popular media.

Postmodernism, I feel, is the bomb that was made in the kitchen of the
culture that created the syndicated rerun.

It was, and is, one way to address the one-eyed god- the stupidness and
the power of the camera; the illusion of authority and authenticity, the
primacy of the eye as the organ of reasoning.

Memetics is an interesting idea when you look at it in the context of
this medium, ie. the internet.

I think (suspect) they (the idea of memes and this medium) evolved
syncronistically. I wonder if the model of "software" has translated
into how we think about thought. Memes are kind of plug-inable,
in-lineable, (erasable?, rewriteable? or read-only?)

And perhaps memes are a step beyond postmodernism. They address
information in a way that doesn't dwell on hegemony (I always read Blame
when I read hegemony). They are definately a child of postmodernism in
that memetics is essentially a deconstruction. But it is a deconstuction
that ultimately doesn't help any one group. Black lesbians can't say
"You're using *that* strategy", because they use it too.

I think this is what I felt when I asked if memes absolve us of
responsibility.(and I don't mean that in a good way.)

They're excellent ammo. And they've been given to both sides at the same
time. Problem is- it still isn't a level battlefeild.

However, I honestly do feel that this is the next, most productive step
in the dialogue between the controllers and the controlled.

> >certainly seems historically that anytime that there has been a period
> >things seemingly could be explained by a particular paradigm along comes
> >response that says no you can't. This centuries flavor of that is
> >postmodernism, it denies ultimate truths and explanations, as I've said.
> Sounds like logical positivism is the thesis and postermodernism is
> the antithesis. What if there is an objective truth but no theory can
> even theoretically become identical to it? Because theories are
> constructed of ideas, concepts, words, and memes. No matter how
> or accurate they are, theories cannot become what they describe. This
> for pluralism: there can be many maps of the territory, all accurate but
> focussing on diffent aspects of Truth(tm). Is that a reasonable
> synthesis?

Ken Pantheists
Virus Theatre