The New Millennium: Fifty Statements on Literature and Culture (Agree or Disagree)

By Hoover, Paul | Chicago Review, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

The New Millennium: Fifty Statements on Literature and Culture (Agree or Disagree)


Hoover, Paul, Chicago Review


1. The word "consumer" has replaced the word "citizen" in most forms of discourse.

2. Traditional culture is the enemy of consumerism.

3. Media culture collaborates with consumerism to destroy traditional beliefs.

4. Postmodern theory was created to confuse and intimidate the average literate citizen.

5. Avant-gardes are a necessary aspect of late capitalism.

6. Poetry has the same connection to social class that it had under aristocratic social orders.

7. The erotic allure of narrative lies in the courtship of author and reader, usually involving the courtly deference of the former to the latter. The eroticism of non-narrative lies in the shared refusal of normal relations.

8. The mind can only conceive of uncertainty as a certainty - in other words, as an image. But images are of interest only when they communicate an uncertainty.

9. Poems are entirely factual.

10. The list, or series, is the major organizing principle of writing.

11. The out-of-sequence series is the organizing principle of most avant-garde writing.

12. The "new" in art is always imported from another culture.

13. Annihilation is the sincerest form of flattery.

14. There is more difference between one and zero than one and one million.

15. Poetry is a rumor told by the truth.

16. Even at their most fantastic, our thoughts are based on the world with which we are already familiar. All metaphor, therefore, is homely at base.

17. In photographs, the pose confronts the camera like a camera.

18. Photographs are by nature momentary (they are slices of time), dramatic (they are staged), and elegiac (they fade); in this, they resemble poetry.

19. Creativity is a sentimental concept.

20. The filmscript is the primary literary genre.

21. Choose one: (1) The names of things have more power than the things themselves; (2) The actuality of things is more expressive than language; (3) Things like oranges have tremendous presence, but are invisible without their names. …

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