For a slightly different look at the relationship of health and rhetoric, this exhibition was just what I needed. I don’t mean to imply, in a lot of my ramblings, that there is nothing new that has occurred as the result of the impact of technology on expression and representation. Where I differ from most of the other online theorists (both scholarly and non-scholarly) is my perception of how these changes are unique.
One of the threads I find most interesting is the increasing importance of testimony, and how that testimony is validated and authorized. This isn’t new; it is descended from the earliest novels from the eighteenth century. The rallying cry of much postmodern thinking (particularly about the web) is that it does away with conventional concepts of authority. I don’t agree. I think it represents a shift in authority, almost regressively, into the importance of establishing first person narratives.
Another interesting thread is the shift back almost to a renaissance level of punning behaviors. Jokes become an important driving force in our linguistic interaction, as does labeling, listing, quantifying these forces of change. How we represent ourselves, and our world, is increasingly distanced by irony thus undermining the counterforces of authority that constantly try to reestablish themselves.
It’s an interesting playground, indeed.
A playground of signs. Not all signs function in the same manner; that’s my problem with the extensions of metaphor (the fundamental linguistic building block) into hardcore modernist symbolism or hypertextual rhizomatic networks of linkage. Metaphor enables all communication, but metaphor does not require the deep conceptual complexity sometimes attributed to it as it moves to greater distances from actuality. Sometimes, it’s just play.
As if said (before the dreadful loss), sometimes links are just gifts.