Re Marx-Pomo Bib. Jon's Comments

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Thu May 30 09:56:14 MDT 1996

Jon, a partial response to your comments on my bibliography.

> A couple of things...
> First of all, it's strange to think of this Sokal affair as a clash
> between marxism and postmodernism: neither term describes either "side."
  Any statement can point in a number of ways. I'll agree that if we stickto
closely to Sokal's essays, the clash is not centrally between "X" and
Marxism. Marxism hardly enters in, and one can't really complain about
assholes like Roger Kimball (WSJ, May 29, making it a clash
between "left" (all professors to the left of Mussolini) and the good
old boys like Kimball himself. But I was delighted by Sokal's article
in Lingua Franca (which I read before it was brought up here) because,
WHATEVER the whole range of issues, it brought up one which does
seem to me to mark one of the dividing lines between the broad range
of positions I call Marxist and the "non-Marxist" or Anti-Marxist,
namely (however vulgar the point may be) that _some kind_ of
correspondence theory is correct: I mean, some never perfect and
always corrigible, correspondence between discourse and a world
beyond discourse. THAT is why I choose to see it as a Marxist-
Pomo split, ignoring all the "other sides."

> However, on the topic of marxism and postmodernism, I'd like to add
> just a couple of suggestions:
> i.  It really is hard to look at this topic while ignoring Jameson, for
> example his introduction to _The Postmodern Condition_ or his _NLR_ essay
> on "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism." <snip>e a

I don't want to ignore Jameson, but I have a very funny reaction to him
which makes it difficult for me to respond to him. I have read
1hree of his books and a dozen or so of his essays, and each time
WHILE I'm reading it I feel I am discovering something important, but
if the next day someone should ask me--What did Jameson have to say?--
I'm afraid that usually my response would be, "Well--geez! I don't
really know." Perhaps a corollary to any "correspondence theory of
language and truth is a conviction that if someone is saying something,
that something can be paraphrased. I would have a hard time
paraphrasing his book on postmodernism, even though it did really
excite me as I was reading it.


<Sorry if there are blanks on the screen here: I never have been able
to figure out the details of the editor (elm) I use for e-mail>

> ii.  I'd also highly recommend Neil Larsen's work.  There's much I don't
> agree with--he's a Lukacian realist at heart--but he engages well with
> postmodernism, and his critiques are more informed and acute than most
> (certainly much more so than the nonsense that people like Christopher
> Norris, Terry Eagleton or Alex Callinicos are apt to put out about
> postmodernism).  See his collection of essays, _Reading North by South_.
  I would like to see an explanation as to why Norris writes nonsense.
And while Eagleton sets my teeth on edge, I'm not sure why, so I'd also
like an explanation of what is nonsensical in his work. As to Neil
Larsen, I have not read him, but the footnotes of an article from
_Transformation 1_ that I didn't cite in my bib begin: "I would like
to thank Neil Larsen for his reading and comments on this article."
The article is Greg Dawes, "A Marxist Critique of the Post-Structuralist
Subject," _Transformation 1_, pp. 150-188. (Incidentally, someone on
this list was inquiring about Voloshinov. Dawes discusses him at length
and argues vigorously that "he" is "he," not just a pen name for

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