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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » postmodernism (Page 2)
Author Topic: postmodernism
Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Gna - I read the first paragraph of that Derrida interview somewhere also. Talk about [] ! He clearly needs to get over himself.

OK here we go - I think this what you are referring to:
quote:

Borradori: September 11 [le 11 septembre] gave us the impression of being a major event, one of the most important historical events we will witness in our lifetime, especially for those of us who never lived through a world war. Do you agree?

Derrida: Le 11 septembre, as you say, or, since we have agreed to speak two languages, "September 11." We will have to return later to this question of language. (WT: Please don't) As well as to this act of naming: a date and nothing more. When you say "September 11" you are already citing, are you not? You are inviting me to speak here by recalling, as if in quotation marks (WT: this is a warning of things to come, as you'll see), a date or a dating that has taken over our public space and our private lives for five weeks now. Something fait date, I would say in a French idiom, something marks a date, a date in history; that is always what's most striking (WT: to you maybe), the very impact of what is at least felt, in an apparently immediate way, to be an event that truly marks, that truly makes its mark, a singular and, as they say here, "unprecedented" (WT: beginning of the scare quotes) event. I say "apparently immediate" because this "feeling" is actually less spontaneous than it appears: it is to a large extent conditioned, constituted, if not actually constructed, circulated at any rate WT: why don't you just invite us to fill in whatever verb strikes our fancy, since you obviously can't make up your mind?) through the media by means of a prodigious techno-socio-political machine. "To mark a date in history" presupposes, in any case, that "something" comes or happens for the first and last time, "something" that we do not yet really know how to identify, determine, recognize, or analyze but that should remain from here on in unforgettable: an ineffaceable event in the shared archive of a universal calendar, that is, a supposedly universal calendar, for these are — and I want to insist on this at the outset—only suppositions and presuppositions. Unrefined and dogmatic, or else carefully considered, organized, calculated, strategic — or all of these at once. For the index pointing toward this date, the bare act, the minimal deictic, the minimalist aim of this dating, also marks something else. Namely, the fact that we perhaps have no concept and no meaning available to us to name in any other way this "thing" (WT: did he just use scare quotes around THING, for cryin' out loud?) that has just happened, this supposed "event." An act of "international terrorism," for example, and we will return to this, is anything but a rigorous concept that would help us grasp the singularity of what we will be trying to discuss. "Something" took place, we have the feeling of not having seen it coming, and certain consequences undeniably follow upon the "thing." But this very thing, the place and meaning of this "event," remains ineffable, like an intuition without concept, like a unicity (WT: huh?) with no generality on the horizon or with no horizon at all, out of range for a language that admits its powerlessness and so is reduced to pronouncing mechanically a date, repeating it endlessly, as a kind of ritual incantation, a conjuring poem, a journalistic litany or rhetorical refrain that admits to not knowing what it's talking about. We do not in fact know what we are saying or naming in this way: September 11, le 11 septembre, September 11. The brevity of the appellation (September 11, 9/11) stems not only from an economic or rhetorical necessity. The telegram of this metonymy—a name, a number—points out the unqualifiable by recognizing that we do not recognize or even cognize that we do not yet know how to qualify, that we do not know what we are talking about.

At this point I picture the interviewer like this: [] .

Are excessive scare quotes a post-modernist affectation? Anyone who puts the word thing in quotation marks has a serious quote addiction. I wonder if he used to work for Reuters.

[ 10-17-2003, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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Roll of Honor Gna
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[] at WT's annotations!

Seriously, isn't Derrida just begging for a pop on the butt with a wet towel? "Fly, you fool! Fly in minimalist deictic terror of my metowelnymy!!!"

[ 10-17-2003, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Gna ]

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Roll of Honor Athene
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[] at WT and Gna

A simple yes would have sufficed.....

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Roll of Honor Gna
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If you dislike the pretentious use of quotes around words, try this fun party game, the next time you go out with artists. It's simple, and uproariously funny. When you have a conversation with a pretentious individual at the party, use you fingers to put quotes around random words, and observe how the person responds. Example:

Yesterday I was out walking my "dog" in the park, and it began to "rain".

Maybe this is why I never get a second invitation to such parties. [] []

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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[] at the wet towel cure, a HUGE improvement over Johnson's refutation of Berkeley.

I'm suprised Athene didn't give the Slim Pickens response: Ditto !

Or if Derrida was on TV (which is [] to think about) you could have a good drinking game. Chug a beer every time he uses scare quotes, a shot of whiskey every time he says "deictic", etc.

The stupid thing is that it is probably just an accident, relating to how the first media reports were worded, that "9/11" became the label for the events of 9/11/01; i.e. there is no deeper meaning, or at least, none that should be explored at mind-numbing length.

E: I just re-read the last sentence, which contains the phrase, "we do not recognize or even cognize that we do not yet know how to qualify, that we do not know what we are talking about." Now THERE I think he struck the ol' nail right on the head.

[ 10-17-2003, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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Roll of Honor Freya
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Genius, WT [] []

GNA, thanks for the game suggestion! I know lots of people to try that out on! That whole 2 * two fingers "thing" is just soooo cringe worthy. It's supposed to denote irony (I think?), and so, you know "post-modernist".

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Roll of Honor Gna
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OK, I'll stop the postmodernist-bashing for a moment to post images of three of my favorite artists. The first is Jackson Pollock, the second is Robert Rauschenberg, and the third is the Rothko Chapel (I couldn't find an image of Mark Rothko with any of his paintings). The Rothko Chapel is one of my favorite art spaces in the world-I've been there many times, in several different seasons, with all kinds of light filtering through. It's always amazing.

P.S. The Thief -If the images are ruining your thread, say so and I'll post links.

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This whole thread reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw while delivering my route.

It simply reads: "I hate art snobs".

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GEAUX SAINTS!!

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Imbëar
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Oops, it appear I like the interview quote!
Thanks for posting it, Wandering Tuor!
Your remarks are apt.

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Imbëar

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Gna - I'm happy to say the we have a pretty good art museum here in the City of No Illusions and that it has a beautiful Pollock, Rauschenburg and Rothko (one each). Esp. the Pollock. []

E: here's the POllock at the Albright-Knox (our art musem)

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[ 10-18-2003, 07:43 AM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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Roll of Honor Gna
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Wandering Tuor - That's a beautiful Pollock! A quick web search revealed that the Rothko at the Albright-Knox Museum is Orange and Yellow, which has many of the same tones as the Pollock Convergence:

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The paintings in the Rothko Chapel are from a later period, when Rothko was using a darker palette. They look like crap on the computer screen, but in person, in the Chapel... []

Maybe I am deranged, but I find myself establishing a relationship with certain works of art, and try to visit them repeatedly if possible. Like the Rothko Chapel in Houston, and Pollock's Lavender Mist in the National Gallery in DC. I always see new things, as in the face of an old friend whom you see only sporadically, especially in the Abstract Expressionist paintings. Yeah, I'm probably [] .

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Yep those two paintings are in the same room at the A-K. The Pollock is HUGE.

I guess i like post-modern art, just not post-modern critical theory, or whatever you call Derrida's drivel.*

*good name for a rock band.

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quote:
We will have to return later to this question of language. (WT: Please don't)
[]

Actually Derrida would probably say that you can't say the things he want in an easier way. There is no 1:1 relationship between our language and the world it describes, so we are forced to circle around the phenomenons we describe. Language wears itself down. Words are loaded. I think he mainly uses his 'scare quotes' to say "be careful with this word! it is loaded" - Of course the general postmodern scepticism with language and communication also effects the way we can put our theories into language.

Derrida and Baudrillard are not the first philosophers that are hard to understand. Try to read Hegel or Heidegger. No one says that they are bad philosophers because they sound close-to-nonsense for the layman.

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Roll of Honor Gna
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Lassë- Because of my background and training, I'm compelled to wonder why there isn't a 1:1 relationship between language and the world we inhabit. Is this a limitation of the human brain, or is it that the world is too complex and there are no true universals? It reminds me of those linguistic anecdotes you hear about the 100 different Inuit words for "snow", or the 80 different Bedouin words for "camel". Our nervous system works in a combinatorial manner, so why shouldn't our languages? Maybe we just aren't trying hard enough. Derrida should be able to explain his ideas concisely, using existing words that any reasonably intelligent person knows, and I'm not buying the "too difficult for a layman" argument. []

What I like about Abstract Expressionist artists in general, and those three I listed above in particular, is that there are no preconceived notions, expectations, or demands about how the viewer should respond to a painting. Each person will respond in a different way-he may hate it, she may think it's crap, he might have an emotional or visceral response, she may be reminded of a childhood experience at the beach. No one person is right or wrong, and the view of any one person may change each time he or she sees the painting. To use a pretentious cogniscenti term: the experiences of the paintings are protean.

See, I learned something before I stopped being invited to go out with artists. []

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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This is gonna be a shortie, cause I'm just about to leave. I'll be back tuesday or wednesday.

Concerning language:
We use language to describe the world we percieve. The world does not have bounded entities, but language has to have some kind of categorization to work. When we say "the chair is blue" then both "chair and "blue" are categorizations made by us. Not by the world. What qualifies as a chair? Might be pretty easy to agree on, but none the less it's not in the nature of the things themselves. But if I see some big piece of wood and say "that chair is dirty" - then it becomes more obvious that the categorization I use "makes up reality" and does not just describe it. The term "blue" is also not a thing that really exists out there. We have a continuum of colours, and then we (with our language) has carved that continuum into certain colours: blue, red, yellow, purple, etc. There are languages - even European languages that does not have the same categorization of colours as we do. For instance what we might term as green/gray/grayish blue is the same colour, and then there's another colour combining some green and brown colours. This is greatly simplified - if anyone is interested then I'll give a more detailed account later.

This was about words that we usually consider pretty straight forward. If we move on to talk about concepts like time, power, problems, love, success, etc then the matter becomes even more complicated.

As for your comment on how the nervous system works in combinational manner. I'm tempted to say that we cannot thing abstract thought without the use of language. And wether we put words on it or not, we have to categorize the world to be able to think about it. In the book "metaphors we live by" Lakoff and Johnson describes how we copy structures from easilier understood concepts to describe more abstract ones. If I say "The white house says that..." then I use the material building to represent the orginisation/whatever because buildings are more concrete than organisations. If I say "she was feeling down" then I use the pretty obvious notion of spatial up/down to describe the more complex notion of mood. My point here is that we clearly uses language (or metaphors at least) to understand abstract ideas. We cannot just think "time" - we have to think about it in a metaphorical way "times running out" (=time's a resourse), "he lost time on the mountain" (=same same), "time went by so fast" (=time's a moving object)...

Does that make any sense? []

Anyways, that was just from the top of my head (=metaphor). I'm looking forward (=metaphor) to seeing what's been going on in this thread when I'm back. []

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The Thief
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No probs about the pics...

About Jackson Pollock... Our Prime Minister (of Australia) (71~75)) Gough Whitlam bought as an investment pollock's "Blue Poles". Everyone though him mad when he bought it for 2 million, but now it is priceless.
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The moral to this story is that...
To recognize a movement in art, does the world have to move out of its period and in to the next?... Was Pollock a modern artist?
I'm not sure of its context, but I'm interested in the talk of Derrida. Is it recent? or recently after september the 11?

Of Language: Well, I can understand every beat going on in this thread, but I could not yet express myself... use a level of language equal to most of you people. (I always have dictionary.com in another window for reference [] , but I like learning!)
You say that language is limited,is it true that it is? in english anyway? For I talked to my english teacher about this, and he said that the english language is much less poetic than others. This is because of the limited cases, gender &c in the english language.
"that chair is blue" You say lasse and I know of the colours and the ems and whatnot. Is this concurrent with the idea that science is truth and the rest is "noise"?
For could we not talk of the continuim of colours, instead of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet etc into their exact wavelengths (sorry, is it wavelength or frequency which changes the colour (i should know that)) thus colours would not be words, but numbers. eg 1.4 x 10^7 etc. From this, couldn't we make all words into numbers... making everything scientifically exact... (postmodern)
quote:
My point here is that we clearly uses language (or metaphors at least) to understand abstract ideas
...

[ 10-19-2003, 03:51 AM: Message edited by: The Thief ]

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Roll of Honor Gna
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Lassë - Language, from a scientific perspective at least, is a product of our nervous system, and is thus constrained by the ways in which our nerve cells are connected. I agree that we categorize the world as we perceive it, and this again is determined by the ways in which our sense organs work. And I would not agree that "science is truth"-science is just a way of describing and explaining the natural world, bounded by the physical limitations of our nervous systems and instruments. IMHO, Derrida fails to express abstract concepts clearly in that interview excerpt, because he fails to use existing language creatively. To me, he's just obfuscating meaning, and I'm pretty open to creative uses of the English language. Here are a couple of examples from the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who uses basic words in creative combinations:

from Sunflower Sutra
quote:
A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!
from Howl
quote:
...who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
Sometimes I feel that most human beings are happy to mill around rather aimlessly within the strict confines of a normal education and limited uses of language and constrained definitions of art. To me, writers like Ginsberg, Joyce, Barth, and Pynchon, artists like Pollock, Rothko, Rauschenberg, and Cornell, and musicians like Coltrane, Byrne, and Cage, stand outside the corral and show us a way over the fence, even if only temporarily. I don't think one has to define such styles of painting or writing as "movements" or even styles-just recognize that they are possibilities. Why shouldn't an artist combine a goat carcass, an old tire, and a police barricade?

I suppose that the other thing that irritates me about Derrida (and this is perhaps unfair) is that he fails to use examples or illustrations to clarify his thought process. I'm used to receiving and presenting information both verbally and in the form of diagrams and photographs, and it's difficult for me to relate to words like "deictic" and "metonymy". The messages sent by a photo and by a group of words can be very different; that's why I chose to post the images of the paintings above. To give a concrete example: if I sent a postcard of the Rothko Chapel Triptych paintings to Wandering Tuor, he would have a very different experience of the work than if I sent him an e-mail describing how the painting looked to me on an overcast fall afternoon.

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The Thief
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* Acknoweledges Gna * Bump to pomo literature?
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The Thief
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quote:
I agree that we categorize the world as we perceive it
I had an interesting discussion with my friend this afternoon about language (this was post-postmodernism class) and my friend and I began talking about language. We were told in our class how language is not... I don't know the word... . We talked how (Using the example "That tree is green",) And we decided that language is a contradiction to postmodernism, for it is not an un-influenced expression... That we talk in categories. My friend then said we talk in folders, ie. eg. All nouns etc, he asked, what would be the c drive?
It was heavily put to us that post modernism is a nihilism of the meta-narratives.
My teacher (the same one that dislikes tolkien for his connotations of hobbits as rats) quoted derrida (I think it was Derrida), where derrida asks where did democracy come from? (Something along those lines i think) And what is the answer?

quote:
Sometimes I feel that most human beings are happy to mill around rather aimlessly within the strict confines of a normal education and limited uses of language and constrained definitions of art
I don't believe this is a characteristic of Postmodernism; For example, A gallery somewhere displayed a pile of bricks for exhibition. "A PILE OF BRICKS? WHAT IS THIS? A PILE OF BRICKS?" They would say. But this is the beauty of postmodernism... I think the intention. It is relative to all walks of society, not just white educated males.
quote:
Why shouldn't an artist combine a goat carcass, an old tire, and a police barricade?
On the contrary. Why should they?
quote:
it's difficult for me to relate to words like "deictic" and "metonymy".
Exactly. The main motive of postmodern i think i have learnt is to eliminate the elite. Derrida talkink like this is only widening the gap... between the white pretentious egocentric know-it-all-and-know-it people. What we want is mediocrity!
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The Thief
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quote:
To me, writers like Ginsberg, Joyce, Barth, and Pynchon, artists like Pollock, Rothko, Rauschenberg, and Cornell, and musicians like Coltrane, Byrne, and Cage, stand outside the corral and show us a way over the fence, even if only temporarily. I don't think one has to define such styles of painting or writing as "movements" or even styles-just recognize that they are possibilities. Why shouldn't an artist combine a goat carcass, an old tire, and a police barricade?
Yes. Has this not been going on always? Imean Igor Stravinski the modern composer was absolutely despised when he first conposed ...rites of something or other... but now he is looked on as prolific and what not. This I asked before. Will postmodernism only gain artistic respect in say 20 years? (I think it recieves alot of criticism...)
For example:
quote:
Isn´t postmodernism the form of art that makes absolutely no sense?
quote:
It's a wanky way for urbanites to sound trendy and cerebral without the labour of thinking intellegently.
quote:
Generally, postmodernism is crap, pure and total crap. It's a way for unimaginitve "artists", if you can even call them that, to label their crap as art. I should know, I'm an artist. Graphic design and ceramic sculpture are more my deal though.

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Roll of Honor Gna
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quote:
It was heavily put to us that post modernism is a nihilism of the meta-narratives.

What does this statement mean? I know what "nihilism" means, but I haven't a clue about "meta-narrative". I guess I don't view post-modernism as nihilistic; perhaps I'm just too old for nihilism.

quote:
I don't believe this is a characteristic of Postmodernism
I don't think I said that it was-for other ages and cultures, there were other artists, writers and musicians who stood outside the corral.

quote:
On the contrary. Why should they?
I think you're missing my point. Rauschenberg, with his "combines", and Cornell, with his box collages, showed us that valueless, discarded junk can be assembled in ways that some people perceive as meaningful, or as art. "Should" or "shouldn't" is not the point. Again, it's all about possibilities, not constraints. Rauschenberg even collaborated with musicians (Cage) and choreographers (Cunningham).

quote:
Generally, postmodernism is crap, pure and total crap. It's a way for unimaginitve "artists", if you can even call them that, to label their crap as art. I should know, I'm an artist. Graphic design and ceramic sculpture are more my deal though.
[] It just amuses me how so many people define themselves as artists and poets, as if this should convince us to accept their expert judgments on the matter. The "everyone is an artist or a poet" sentiment is fine when you're a kid, say age 6-10, but as an adult I think it's better to face reality and leave that phony PC self-esteem-bloating, self-absorbed nonsense behind. If you don't like Pollock, fine. If you don't like Rauschenberg, fine. Why not tell us why , then, rather than taking the easy,lazy route and dismissing it all as "crap" from your perspective as a self-proclaimed artist? How boring. []
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Yes but the important question - the maximal deictic, as it were - is, "Is this post-modern art? Or post-post-modern?
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Roll of Honor Gna
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[] @ "bad boys of BritArt"!

Isn't there another UK art duo-"Gilbert and George, two people, one artist", or something like that? When I was a kid, I developed a strong dislike for a Claes Oldenburg sculpture in our local art museum-it was one of his Soft Fans. I really can't figure out now why I detested it so much-perhaps it smelled funny. As an adult, I returned to the museum during a visit home, and the sculpture was nowhere to be seen. I asked about it, and the museum info person told me that the Soft Fan had developed a bad case of mildew. I think they had to burn it, or something. That in itself would have made a great piece of postmodern performance art! []

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The Turner Prize always cracks me up, though I love the way it infuriates the Tabloids.

See if you can spot The Sun's own bogus entry

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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I have two tests for modern (or post-modern art):

1. If it's hard to tell the difference between the art object itself, and a childish parody of the art object, it's crap.

2. (For abstract paintings) If my 10 year old daughter could do an equally good (or better) job, it's crap.

This fails Test No. 1.

[ 10-29-2003, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » postmodernism (Page 2)
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