P       RNCU   REPO   ODER       E            P O S T M O D E R N
P  TMOD RNCU  U EP S  ODER  ULTU E               C U L T U R E
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER  ULTU E          an electronic journal
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER       E           of interdisciplinary
Volume 13, Number 3 (May, 2003)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    James F. English

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    Stuart Moulthrop
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Claire Chantell

Research Assistants:                Elizabeth Bridgham 

Editorial Board:                                           

     Nahum Chandler                 Patrick O'Donnell
     Heesok Chang                   Elaine Orr
     Ashley Dawson                  Bob Perelman
     J. Yellowlees Douglas          Marjorie Perloff
     Johanna Drucker                Fred Pfeil
     Diane Gromala                  Peggy Phelan
     Graham Hammill                 Arkady Plotnitsky
     Terry Harpold                  Judith Roof
     David Herman                   Susan Schultz
     Marcia Ian                     William Spanos
     Michael Joyce                  Katie Stewart
     Matthew Kirschenbaum           Allucquere Roseanne Stone
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett  Gary Lee Stonum
     Neil Larsen                    Rei Terada 
     Brian Massumi                  Darren Tofts
     Jerome McGann                  Paul Trembath
     Adrian Miles                   Greg Ulmer
     Jim Morrison
     Larysa Mykyta                                          
    Michael Truscello, The Architecture of 
    Information: Open Source Software and Tactical 
    Poststructuralist Anarchism
    Temenuga Trifonova, Is There a Subject in Hyperreality?
    Julie Hayes, The Body of the Letter: Epistolary Acts 
    of Simon Hantaï, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida 
    Philip Metres,  Barrett Watten's Bad History: A 
    Counter-Epic of the Gulf War
    Krister Friday, "A Generation of Men Without 
    History": Fight Club, Masculinity, and the Historical 
                      Collaborative Hypertext
    Thomas Swiss and George Shaw, The Language of New Media. 
    (HTML version only)
                          Review Essays
    Matthew Hart, The Measure of All That Has Been Lost:  
    Hitchens, Orwell, and the Price of Political 
    Relevance. A review of Christopher Hitchens, _Why 
    Orwell Matters_. New York: Basic, 2002. 
    Kevin Marzahl, Poetry and the Paleolithic, or, The 
    Artful Forager. A review of Jed Rasula, _This Compost: 
    Ecological Imperatives in American Poetry_. Athens: 
    U of Georgia P, 2002.
                          Review Essays
    Martin Wallace, A Disconcerting Brevity: Pierre 
    Bourdieu's Masculine Domination. A review of Pierre 
    Bourdieu, _Masculine Domination_. Trans. Richard Nice. 
    Stanford: Stanford UP, 2001.
    Mimi Yiu, Virtually Transparent Structures. A review of 
    Jean Baudrillard and Jean Nouvel, _The Singular Objects 
    of Architecture_. Trans. Robert Bononno. Minneapolis: 
    U of Minnesota P, 2002.
                      Notices (HTML Version Only)
                      Notes on Contributors
    Krister Paul Friday, "A Generation of Men Without 
    History": Fight Club, Masculinity, and the Historical 
        o Abstract: This article uses a reading of Chuck 
    Palahiuk's novel, Fight Club, as an opportunity to 
    construct a Lacanian framework for understanding 
    historical self-consciousness. I argue that Fight 
    Club's historical imagination dramatizes the way the 
    impossibility of defining the postmodern "present" is 
    conflated with the interminability of identifying with 
    one's symptom, revealing how both are governed by the 
    same tautological performativity. Fight Club's narrator 
    couches his wounded masculinity in conspicuously 
    historical terms, seeking recognition from the Other 
    qua History as a means of interpellating an identity for 
    both period and self. I argue that this dynamic, a 
    dynamic of historical interpellation, is one way texts 
    "think historically," to borrow Jameson's phrase, in 
    postmodernity. In other words, maybe texts do not 
    reflect or reveal their time so much as they assert--
    performatively, imaginatively--what their time ought 
    to be. --kpf 
    Julie Candler Hayes, "The Body of the Letter": 
    Epistolary Acts of Jean-Luc Nancy, Simon Hantaï, and 
    Jacques Derrida 
        o Abstract: Between June 1999 and April 2000, 
    philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy and painter Simon Hantaï 
    exchanged a series of letters relating to a group of 
    artworks that Hantaï was producing to accompany the 
    forthcoming book on Nancy by their mutual friend, 
    Jacques Derrida (Le Toucher, Jean-Luc Nancy [2000]). 
    Hantaï's works consist of "unreadable manuscripts": 
    passages by Nancy and Derrida meticulously copied and 
    recopied on stiffened crumpled batiste. Ultimately, the 
    letters were published as La Connaissance des textes: 
    Lecture d'un manuscrit illisible (Correspondances), 
    including the text of the correspondence, color plates 
    of Hantaï's "travaux de lecture," photographic 
    reproductions of all the letters, and a final letter by 
    Derrida addressed to both correspondents. This reading 
    of the correspondence takes into account its epistolary 
    dynamics--its logic of sending and receiving, its 
    "message strategy"--which are analyzed in terms of a 
    Deleuzian "desiring machine." Other important aspects 
    of the published correspondence include its complex 
    negotiation of visual and discursive modes and its 
    relationship to a set of significant pre-texts: the 
    passages from Nancy's Etre singulier pluriel and 
    Derrida's Donner le temps that Hantaï renders 
    "unreadable" as he copies and recopies them; and, of 
    course, Le Toucher. It is important to look at 
    Connaissance not only as a "text," but also as a 
    "book": a physical object, manifesting production 
    constraints and editorial choices that subtly interact 
    with the dialogue of the correspondents. This analysis 
    is shaped by the reflections of Derrida, Nancy, and 
    other scholars and theoreticians on the vicissitudes 
    of "the letter" and its emblematic relation to 
    questions of textual materiality, production, and 
    reproduction. --jch 
    Philip Metres,  Barrett Watten's Bad History: A 
    Counter-Epic of the Gulf War
        o Abstract: This essay situates Barrett Watten's 
    book-length poem Bad History against the debate between 
    Jean Baudrillard and Christopher Norris regarding the 
    proper position of the intellectual during the Persian 
    Gulf War. Bad History provides a provisional third way, 
    mobilizing both the paranoiac postmodernity of 
    Baudrillard and the hyperrationality of Norris, in a 
    poetry that refuses to extract itself from its own 
    subjective position, a resistance that speaks beyond 
    the limits of its own political group. Watten's poem 
    is the most sophisticated attempt to grapple with the 
    Gulf War in part because it situates itself in the 
    cultural milieu that enabled the war itself to take 
    place: what Paul Virilio calls "Pure War"--that state 
    of society whereby the real war is the constant 
    preparation for war. By invoking and countering the 
    epic mode through a poetics of interference, a 
    subjectivity vacillating between complicity and 
    resistance, and formal innovations (including use of 
    footers, newspaper-like columns, and a hefty appendix), 
    Bad History stands out as perhaps the most important 
    poetry to emerge out of the Persian Gulf War. --pm 
    Temenuga Trifonova, Is There a Subject in Hyperreality?
        o Abstract: The article discusses a dominant trend 
    in postmodernism toward the dissolution of subjectivity 
    into something vague, unstable, fragmented, amorphic, 
    and always impersonal. In line with the ethical appeal 
    of Lyotard's idea of the inhuman as a resistance to the 
    tyranny of subjectivity, Baudrillard defines the fatal 
    or the inhuman as an expression of the enigma of the 
    world, its resistance to metaphysics. What makes 
    Baudrillard's theory of the hyperreal problematic is 
    the possibility for confusing the hyperreal with the 
    pure or the impersonal (i.e., with the fatal) since 
    both are defined as the collapse of the subject/object 
    distinction. On one hand, the impersonal is the 
    elimination of human perception as an external, 
    privileged point of view. However, the hyperreal is 
    also defined as the elimination of the subjective 
    point of view, the suppression of the look, the fact 
    that the object of perception is always already there, 
    already seen, thus preventing the act of seeing. 
    Obscenity then has two mutually exclusive meanings: it 
    signifies either the absolute triumph of subjectivity 
    (the world has been preempted by consciousness, objects 
    are merely extensions or reflections of the subject) or 
    the complete objectivization of the world (everything 
    becomes objective because what is already seen is, for 
    that very reason, no longer accessible: it cannot be 
    manipulated by the subject). The de-realization of 
    reality is the destruction of subjectivity but, as 
    Baudrillard notes, the crime is never perfect. If the 
    real is still preserved--as the trace of what has been 
    murdered--the subject also survives its annihilation or 
    dispersal; its destiny passes into the object. By 
    subjectivizing or de-realizing the world, the subject 
    has revealed its ability to appear and disappear--to 
    lose itself in multiplicity--which is, in fact, the 
    strongest proof that there is still a subject since 
    Baudrillard himself defines the constitutive illusion 
    of the world as the possibility of things to appear 
    and disappear. Subjectivity includes its own 
    annihilation, its pseudo-sacrificial self-reduction to 
    objective (fatal) reality. --tt 
    Michael Truscello, The Architecture of Information: 
    Open Source Software and Tactical Poststructuralist 
        o Abstract: Open Source Software refers to a 
    software development model in which the source code is 
    open for modification and redistribution, unlike 
    proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows, which 
    denies access to the source. The OSS model, in 
    particular the Linux operating system, has garnered 
    much attention from disciplines as diverse as computer 
    science, sociology, economics, law, and political 
    science; however, cultural theory and media studies, 
    especially theories influenced by poststructuralist 
    thought, have yet to address the social impact of Open 
    Source and its potential as a political philosophy in 
    the network society. This paper examines the 
    convergence of poststructuralist anarchism (using works 
    by Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Lebbeus Woods, and 
    Hakim Bey) and Open Source Software via a discursive 
    analysis of Eric Raymond's Open Source manifesto and 
    ethnographic survey, "The Cathedral and the 
    Bazaar." --mt 
Copyright (c) 2003 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins 
University Press

NOTE: members of a subscribed campus may use this work 
for any internal noncommercial purpose, but, other than 
one copy sent by email, print, or fax to one person at 
another location for that individual's personal use, 
distribution of this article outside of the subscribed
campus, in whole or in part, without express written 
permission from the JHU Press is expressly forbidden.