RE: Abstractism

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 12:31:38 GMT

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Abstractism
    Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 12:31:38 -0000 
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    Hi Joe,

            <And it does that because it was engineered to do that by the
    writer. Not just any meaning. Specifically intended meanings.>

            And you of all people on this list should be aware that the intended
    meaning is not necessarily the meaning taken by the user. Indeed, one would
    have to look for memes in texts not in terms of particular meanings, but in
    the potential for meaning, with the things that persist most being those
    that successfully offer a multitude of interpretations. There's a really
    good book by John Turney that explores the relationship between the
    Frankenstein story and the development of medical science, and public
    attitudes to such (it's called 'Frankenstein's Footsteps'). Whatever the
    original intent of Shelley, "Frankenstein" has been co-opted time and again,
    most recently in the 'Frankenstein foods' term used to denote GMOs.

            I don't know who originated the phrase, perhaps you do, but there's
    this idea of the 'semiotic machine' of texts (and ambiguous events) that
    enable multiple interpretations that, in memetic terms, enhances their
    transmission- Frankenstein, Dracula, Jack the Ripper, the Roswell Incident
    etc. etc.


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