RE: RARA-AVIS: Theory Comes To Harlem: The New York Novels of Che ster Himes

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 23 Jul 2002

<<thanks for the link, mat. even though it was a bit on the pompous side, at least it was readable. some academics seem to thrive on making their writing as complex and opaque as possible. somewhere out there on the web, i came across a quote of mario's where he was reviewing such a work, and his review parodied it. i wish i could find it again. it was hilarious.>>

Ah, those old times. That must have been part of the online Postmodern Wars. A couple of people, real sophists, would wear everybody down with quotes, explanations of quotes, paraphrases of explanations of quotes, counterquotes, until nobody knew what the topic was. Something about Derrida, deconstruction and logocentrism, but not more specific than that. These exchanges went on for years.

On parodies: a wise guy from New Zealand, perhaps tired of writing spoofs by hand, decided to write a program (the Postmodernism Generator) which gives you a full postmodern scholarly paper, citations and all. It used to be online.

Based on his idea, I once wrote a perl program that could be fed actual sentences from pomo papers and would combine them at random but with a preference for certain word associations. It worked rather well. Unfortunately, I've lost the code and I've also lost all enthusiasm for the subject. On the other hand, perl continues to be a nice tool for doing things with words.

When somebody writes foggily, I suspect he wants to put one over me. If it's foggy *and* pompous, then I'm almost certain. If it contains no evidence for any of its assertions, then I'm certain.



"The skill of man is unequal to the formation of a new man from old materials, but the battered tenement may, with care, be long sustained by props" -- From Becklard's Physiology.

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