I can explain that, Dan.
Mon Feb 06, 16:30

The pomo camp thing. I was mentored as an undergrad by Dr. Ihab Hassan. You can Google him, but to save you the trouble, I'll just remark that he was one of the earliest American (he was himself Egyptian) post-modern literary theorists. So being young and impressionable then (as opposed to old and impressionable now), his teaching left an indelible mark on me. (I've often considered occluding it, that unsightly mark, with a tattoo, but to my mind tattoos, no matter how beautifully rendered, are a form of vandalism, where not self-mutilation. Also, I am allergic to needles, though not so much that it has prevented me from taking timely advantage of vaccine in sight.)

I don't much care about identifying myself as a post-modernist anymore. The label's been so abused and overused that it doesn't mean anything, or rather, it means whatever anyone wants it to mean. It was always a squishy concept anyway. Besides, much to my surprise, I find myself more sympathetic nowadays, aesthetically speaking, to what I'd call Late or High or Decadent Modernism.

That said, labels tend to be both a sticky and unnuanced business and I try to avoid using them, even when it would be convenient to do so. Their use is symptomatic of intellectual laziness.

The reason I remarked that clarity mainly confounds, beyond merely being contrary for Billy's sake, is that stuff that is clear, perhaps too clear, typically fails to account for nuance and subtlety and the lost and/or hidden and contrarieties and parenthetical asides and relevant digressions and exceptions to the rule and everything left unsaid and unimagined that, all equal, should and needs to be imagined and said. Clarity tends both to be ineloquent and simple-minded where not false, in my experience. I don't trust it. There is nothing clear about life (save, as you say, the lottery), so why should we pretend that we can be clear in our communicating about it?

Look, while communicating clearly clearly communicates what is being communicated, what is being communicated typically leaves so much UNcommunicated at the same time that what is being communicated clearly only confuses things by pretending to be clear. Indeed, perhaps that is the single redeeming aspect of clarity, true clarity, that it makes clear that nothing is clear, that all is confusion. (Pointed questions are a different matter. They should be welcomed.)

I'm more than willing to sacrifice a little clarity, even some coherence, for complexity, convolution and completeness.

Am I clear? God, sure hope not.

  • One might guess why you fall intoDan Brown, Mon Feb 06 13:49
    the post modernist camp or valley or high plain or whatever you might prefer to call or not call it. Speaking for myself, clarity has never done me much good. It's not like winning the lottery.
    • I can explain that, Dan. — olds, Mon Feb 06 16:30
      • God is clearly on your side (nm)Dan Brown, Fri Feb 24 6:59
        • Is that a good thing,olds, Fri Feb 24 18:36
          a bad thing, or a wash? Well, if He or She or It is clearly on my side, I might only wish that that entity or energy or force or First Cause or whatever, was a little less clear about it. Half the... more
      • Words...Sharon Cunningham, Tue Feb 07 8:52
        Oh...My...Gosh! I see that Olds is back at this primary job of wordsmithing! Never fails to quick, quick send me scurrying for my Oxford! Don't stop, Olds; keeps us old folks on out toes!
        • Well, that is my primary jobolds, Tue Feb 07 11:06
          I reckon, though I feel at this point that I had little say in the matter. I didn't choose it, it chose me. Anyway, being old myself, I suppose you could say, Sharon, that I'm keeping myself on my toes... more