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<eyebeam><blast> Multiple Choices
I ______________ Jordan Crandall's "territory" post of 17 February
1. looked at
2. struggled to decipher
3. recently re-read
and found it to be to be _______________
1. not terribly original and/or readable
2. quite insightful once I took out my shovel
and was able to ________________.
1. sort of figure out what he was getting at after deciphering the
2. uncover the meaning hidden beneath the excessive verbiage.
3. connect its themes to the recent slew of posts on individuality
Jordan called for the net to become a "space for contestation" in which
the usual cliches of freedom and consensus give way to an "agonistic
dynamic" of "vibrant conflicts of positions and interests." This
sounded very much like the claim that "Anytime a group of people
presents a united front, someone's perspective is being repressed,"
which Jon Ippolito
______________ in his "Emergence or Submergence" post (13 February).
1. discussed rather cogently
2. spelled out in p-l-a-i-n E-n-g-l-i-s-h (something that is sorely
lacking from a forum that aims to clarify an already cloudy issue)
3. was trying to get at
It struck me, however, that Jordan's message didn't deal with the
criticism of Jon's post from Brian Holmes (15 February), who wrote:
"Negotiated consensus is an inherent requirement of complex societies.
For instance, the notion that every individual perspective should have
its sovereign freedom of expression and action now forms part of a very
strong consensus, rather like the one that inspired George Bush when he
insisted at the Rio summit on the environment that the USA's mode of
industrial development is not negotiable. Today I think that the
powerful rhetoric of individualism...is often an extremely simplistic
method for [keeping the citizen-consumer] from engaging in the
extraordinarily challenging effort to construct a different consensus,
and to build bridges between the oppositional positions which do exist."
Brian's point ______________________.
1. is interesting; but I'm not sure I agree with him.
2. is obvious yet not very useful since it is an extreme example of the
most powerful (and definitely not the most intelligent) man in the world
speaking for the most powerful country in the world. Not a position I
see 99.9999...% of the population in any time soon.
3. in condemning the American cult of the individual is valid, but I
draw the opposite conclusion. The problem with cardboard he-men like
Rambo, the Marlborough Man, and George Bush is that they're not
individual *enough*: their roles are but minor variations on a script
that movie producers, ad men, and political handlers presume to be some
kind of cultural consensus.
His critique of individualism ____________________.
1. is paradoxically odd in that it comes from an individual.
2. (if you don't see the irony in an individual attempting to make an
argument against individualism I'm not going to explain it to you)
3. , while well intentioned, betrays his inability to imagine a
structure in which conflicting perspectives collide and
ricochet--instead of flattening individual voices into a consensus that
is ultimately homogeneous, no matter how "different."
One way to deal with this problem is ______________________.
1. to puzzle out this dilemma by less solipsistic means.
2. to understand that negotiating the terms upon which to base a forum
for individual expression avoids the traps set by the extremes of
unbridled individualism or totalitarian consensus.
3. to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak, build a
level playing field for them to compete on, and invent a way of
visualizing their interaction that foregrounds conflict rather than
Brian asks "Could there be a meme for intersubjective exchange?
....Would that kind of meme qualify as art somewhere?" A good example of
this approach can be found at
2. Concisely yours
Janet Cohen | Keith Frank | Jon Ippolito
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