Mortitia the Memetician

Bill Benzon (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 20:26:25 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 20:26:25 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Mortitia the Memetician

Toby Foshay says:

>Bill Benzon's choice of empiricist "rigor" over literary criticism and
>rhetoric is not the only one. He might have gone to a more critical
>philosophical foundation for his cultural theory than to an equally
>questionable empiricism.
Yes, I might have done that. And, in fact, I was educated at one of the
hot beds of this "more critical" lit crit (Johns Hopkins back in the 60s
and 70s, and then SUNY Buffalo). But, in the long run, it didn't appeal to
me. I liked Piaget's constructivism in child development, Levi-Strauss on
myths (but not Levi-Strauss on Levi-Strauss), Karl Pribram on the brain,
and then Don Norman on semantic networks and Bill Powers on control theory
and it all seemed so much more substantial than agonized deconstruction of
the inability to ever talk one's way out of a paper bag (assuming, of
course, that the binary opposition between self and paper bag is tenable,
which of course, it is not).

And, as far as I can tell, this critical tradition which prides itself on
unmasking the foundational conceits and blindness of others is not at all
immune to such blindness itself. Twisting your eyeballs around in their
sockets is no way to get a glance at the back of your head.

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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