November 6th, 2024

Andalusian Dewey…

  • el
  • pt
  • Driving the seaminess out of semiotics since 1979

    * * *

    H/T Jeff Ward

    If one wishes to realize the distance which may lie between “facts” and the meaning of facts, let one go to the field of social discussion. Many persons seem to suppose that facts carry their meaning along with themselves on their face. Accumulate enough of them, and their interpretation stares out at you. The development of physical science is thought to confirm the idea. But the power of physical facts to coerce belief does not reside in the bare phenomena. It proceeds from method, from the technique of research and calculation. No one is ever forced by just collection of facts to accept a particular theory of their meaning, so long as one retains intact some other doctrine by which he can marshal them. Only when the facts are allowed free play for the suggestion of new points of view is any significant conversion of conviction as to meaning possible. Take away from physical science its laboratory apparatus and its mathematical technique, and the human imagination might run wild in its theories of interpretation even if we suppose the brute facts to remain the same. (5)

    John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems

    At dinner tonight Beth asked me to explain what it is about postmodernism that I find so troubling. I took her around and around Robin Hood’s barn before centering down on the issues that have troubled me. First, I am concerned that a Gresham’s law of academics may have narrowed research and devalued the currency of American scholarship over the last thirty years. Has the emergence of a claque applauding continental theorists to the exclusion of other inquiry had a negative impact on academic freedom? I sense that this is so, I fear it, but I haven’t the data or the models to substantiate it. Fortunately, in a postmodern context I really don’t need to derive the data. What I really need to do is draw other like-minded people together in an interpretive community and we can howl at the moon together.

    A second and perhaps more meaningful concern (in light of my continuing interest in popular culture and academia’s success at occupying the nerdy corner of pop) relates to my glimmer of understanding that postmodernism is over and what’s next might be very interesting indeed. But for the last five years in my corner of the blogosphere, the emergence of a “New New Criticism” has been hidden and postmodernists have arrogated the discussion without turning toward that interesting question, “What’s next?” So it remains for me to answer it myself.

    November 6th, 2024

    BlogStar updates…

    Doc observes that Macworld and the Consumer Electronics Show are scheduled for the same dates. I’m surprised that Macwidgets isn’t simply part of the CES. Note to the Cupertino Krewe: rent a big tent and pitch it in the parking lot.

    Dave reminds us of the geopolitical strategery behind the imperialist war in southwest Asia and points out that it will never be over until we the people end it.

    David has a PodCast with AKMA posted at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

    wood s lot: off the scroll, the 11/1 death notice for Clifford Geertz.

    November 6th, 2024

    Wisconsin Senate - Vote for Rae Vogeler, don’t waste your vote on Kohl…

    Herb Kohl, “nobody’s senator but his own,” Wisconsin muti-millionaire and oligarch, will win this thing in a walk. He has no Republican opposition to speak of and Wisconsin loves him for keeping the Bucks basketball team in Milwaukee and for gifting the UW-Madison with the Kohl Center, a state of the art indoor sports arena. This will be the fourth Senate term that Kohl has bought for himself, and the power of his popularity with the sports fans and the pro-war crowd, and his lack of Republican opposition with any stature assures him of a victory. So a vote for Kohl is just “me too.” It’s a wasted vote.

    If you want to see change… if you want the war to end soon, and you want people to be assured of health care and living wage jobs, if you want to see a meaningful emphasis on programs that make quality education available to all, then vote for Rae Vogeler, Green Party candidate for US Senate.

    Too often in our two party democracy we hear the concern expressed that a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote. The reasoning goes that it is better to vote for the lesser of two evils than to throw away your vote on an also ran. I generally agree with that sentiment. But tomorrow’s Senate election in Wisconsin turns the idea of the wasted vote upside down. Herb Kohl will most certainly win, but we have a chance to demonstrate the size of the progressive polity in the state by voting for Rae Vogeler. The more votes that show up in Vogeler’s column, the louder the voice for peace that politicians all around the country will hear. Voting for Rae Vogeler could influence our relatively conservative Democratic senator to pay closer attention to progressive issues.

    I hope that everyone in Wisconsin who agrees with me that the war must end soon will vote for Rae Vogeler for Senate tomorrow. It’s the most important issue facing us in the Senate contest and she is the peace candidate. On Saturday she was endorsed by Cindy Sheehan, a prominent peace activist. Sheehan’s endorsement follows endorsements from the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants Association, AFT Local 3220, Kohl’s Democratic primary challenger Ben Masel, and three Wisconsin
    newspapers: the Lake Mills Leader, Cambridge News and Deerfield Independent. She also received the support of Libertarian U.S. Senate write-in candidate David Redick and is endorsed by the Wisconsin Green Party, Progressive Democrats of Wisconsin, Progressive Dane, the National Women’s Caucus, and voters across the state.

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