Re: Subject: Re: A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies
Sun, 14 Nov 1999 13:13:39 EST

In a message dated 11/14/99 8:05:34 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

> While Sokal's well-publicized nuking of postmodernist BS is a laudable
> exercise, it by no means establishes the irrelevancy of the traditional
> questions addressed by the humanities. Saying that science and technology
> exist in a world of "utility" apart and immune from the fuzzy-edged
> questions
> addressed by philosophy and the arts is just as dangerous as the
> postmodernist subjectivist melt-down.

I haven't read Sokol directly, apart from what is published here. I didn't perceive him claiming that humanities were bad, just that fuzzy thinking and ignoring facts hurts. You *could* do scientific and scholarly work in "cultural studies"; I thought the point was that the editors of that magazine were not.

On a distantly related note, I heard several contestants at the last Van Cliburn competition perform a sonata, in serial style, by Carl Vine. Although he works hard to make it more palatable (e.g. putting the dissonances in such different registers you don't notice them), it's still pretty nasty. Towards the end, I *distinctly* heard the tune for "na na Na na NAAA na" (the children's taunt). Perhaps some of the participants in these modern sillinesses are in on the joke?