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The Mainly Annual
EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village
11th Annual
Conference

“Keepin’ It Real: Wherein We Actually Talk About Literature, For Once”

Will A. Newbete“The Rectumizer: William S. Burroughs, Machine So Nasty”
By Will A. Newbete

This was sort of a presentation of a paper/installation piece, with each paragraph accompanied by its own new function of the fabulous machine running next to the speaker’s podium. The machine itself was a combination gallows, pharmacy, shotgun, paint-sprayer, dildo, ‘49 Cadillac, and, despite both its look and smell, it worked without a flaw and managed to gin up quite a following.

Linus von Marlowe“Conrad: the Dark Heart of the Little Yellow Bird, and other Peanuts Dismality”
By Linus von Marlowe

What Charles Schulz didn’t tell you, and may not even have known himself, was the meaning of the little pips spoken by Woodstock’s little friend on all those Snoopy-led expeditions and endless panels hanging out on the twiggy tree: tales of adventure on the high seas, theories of apocalyptic literature. Sadly, we’ll never know how much the Peanuts creator knew about the minor character he penned, because mista’ Schulz, he dead.

Molly Bloomenplank“James Joist: the Structure that Holds Up High-Modernism”
By Molly Bloomenplank

Even in the age of free-form post-Structuralism and its neo-Structuralist backlash, there’s still room for literal interpretation, I mean in a Marxist/Leninist/Social Realist/Architectural sense. From the illustrative plumbline centering the narrative, to Molly’s illustrative hemline creeping continually up throughout the paper’s delivery, we count ourselves reified.

J.J. Russo“Dueling DeFoes: Twin Visions of the Savage from Daniel to Willem”
By J.J. Russo

His man Friday is often cited as the quintessential example of the white man’s arrogance in the face of an expanding awareness of non-Euro-American peoples, of learned helplessness, of imperialist and colonialist abuses of primary cultures worldwide. But if there’s anything postmodernism has taught us, it’s that the outside is really the inside, that the Other is really us. Through video clips, psychological profiling, and phrenology, Russo makes her case. And who better to represent the implosion of the savage? Steve Buscemi?

W.W. West“Ozpocalypse Now: How Dorothy of Kansas Seeds Death and Destruction Everywhere She Lands”
By W.W. West
We thought it was just sour grapes at first, but West lays out the difficult facts systematically: not only does our heroine commit unintentional murder, she is unapologetic about it. Not only does she upset the balance of power in Oz, she singlehandedly brings down an over-rated but still effective leader, the Great Wizard of Oz. We sympathize with her only due to her aw-shucks heartland origins and seeming innocence. But, as style often glosses over ugly realities, in her trail Dorothy leaves only chaos, and, like another bumbling, feeble-minded but ostensibly genuine down-home world leader, her exit strategy is sheer fantasy. No place like home? How about no place like Oz, at least not anymore.

 

Pop Goes the Theory

Milton Hermanos“The Scatergorical Imperative: Learning Theoretical Ethics from a Gameboard”
By Milton Hermanos

As alarming as it may sound, this could very well be the last, best hope for teaching the next generation a viable set of values. Sadly, it comes about 20 years too late, since the advent of video games has shrunk the next generation’s already tiny attention spans to the approximate lifetime of a super-massive man-made element. We oldsters did have fun spinning the spinners during the audience-participation segment and remembering when the phrase “fair play” could be spoken without the smirk of irony.

Hey Jillis Miller“Derridos and Derridon’ts: Deconstruction for Dummies”
By Hey Jillis Miller

It had to happen sooner or later.

This is not Norma Perfect. Scene from "A Persistence of Ma'amery"“A Persistence of Ma’amery: Post-Feminism and the Politics of the Polite”
By Norma Perfect

Silenced by the new ladylikeness, shut out of power by supposedly “progressive” family-leave policies, confined to the mini-van and aluminum soccer field bleachers, Perfect is perfectly pissed. She makes a strong case for Ma’am-banishment, and the triumphant return of the Ms. (Due to Ms. Perfect's refusal to allow pictures, we instead substitute this shot taken at the neighborhood Le pommeabeilles.)

Vladimir Hackenbush“The Socialism of the Super-Reel, or Marx, Magritte, and the Middle-Class”
By Vladimir Hackenbush

Hackenbush reminds us that the most popular form of visual art in America is Impressionism. He contends, and convinces by handing out special glasses that blur the viewer’s sight, that its very vagueness appeals to the bourgeoisie’s inability to take a strong stand one way or the other. The middle class does not get, and therefore elides in a dangerous manner, the very radicalism of Impressionism within its historical context. But America has never been about history, rather its denial, and consequently, argues Hackenbush, it is only a matter of time before the challenging images of Surrealism replace the Monet prints and Manet-inspired scenes bedecking motel walls everywhere. It doesn’t mean anything; after all, it’s only art.

Mohammed al-Bumpkin“He Saïd, She Saïd: Dysfuctional Discussions Across the Orientalist Divide”
By Mohammed al-Bumpkin

“You’re a terrorist!”
“No, you’re a terrorist!”
Thus went the incessant dialogue throughout al-Bumpkin’s dramatic reinterpretation of his paper.

The players? One white guy in a three-piece suit and one woman covered head-to-toe in a black burqa. It got a bit cloying, but then the chunks of raw, bloody meat began to fall, one by one, from the hotel ceiling.