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Postmodern Village
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The Mainly Annual
EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village
17th Annual
Conference

Glam GrierBlacklash: Feminine Beauty, Negritude, Cosmetics, and the Politix of S&M
by Glam Grier

We can't exactly remember the thesis, but we still have the bruises to prove we were there. Fortunately, Grier had the gear to help that too, in the form of cosmetic cover-ups of every possible flavor of skin. Oh, wait—I guess we get her argument after all . . .

Mitt KevnickExploding the LAN-scape: Data Minding, Firewalls, and the Internet Arms race as Metaphor for Unwinnable War
by Mitt Kevnick

Inter-cutting the development of internet security software with the history of anti-terror action wasn't particularly subtle, but it was effective—especially now that we see what the current state is: in order to "win," Norton, McAfee, AVG and all must become indistinguishable from the viruses they're designed to fight. If the analogy holds, the implications are soberingly Pogo.

C. Whitman StoverGhandi's Candies: Marketing, Mayhem, and the (Re)Making of the Mahatma
by C. Whitman Stover

Even before the Beatles co-opted the Indian freedom-peacer's profile for the cover of Sgt. Pepper's, his subsumption into just another commercial association was inevitable, says Stover, whose own hunger strike to take back Ghandi's persona was entering its third week as she spoke. Bon mots, bon vivants, bon homie, all can say bon voyage: selling bon-bons will always win. Another compromise we make with capitalism in order to keep what few liberties remain? It's hard to say, but the better chocolate has always trended more toward the bitter than the sweet.

Freya Witten-SteinExploiting the Langue-scape: Logohegemony in the Age of Machine Translation
by Freya Witten-Stein

Witten-Stein's idea that, as our collective ability to read and think fades, we'll all be at the mercy of Babelfish to make sense of the world would be easy to dismiss if not for the fact that using it is almost easier than not using it. Running her whole speech through and translating it into various languages and back again, however, did make it a bit hard to follow. Sometimes you must confuse in order to convince.

Earnhart PufferdaleNattily-Lite: NASCAR Meets the Metrosexual, the Sartorial Symbolism of Security Dads in the Age of a Mainstream Diddy
By Earnhart Pufferdale

Pufferdale certainly knows how to put on a fashion show, but the Axe body-spray fumes combined with evaporating methanol sent us grubby, bar-soaped and corduroyed academics scurrying for the musty comfort of a library basement.

Magnesia PeacockAnapeptol: The Soothing Sounds of Steady Rhythm, or Meter Makes the Mind/Body Connection
by Magnesia Peacock

If music has the power to soothe a savage breast, iambs can make the lines lay down like lambs. Or just lull us into neo-formal slumber . . .

Muse FyzerCastle Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Language, and Textual Dysfunction, a Massage of Hope
By Muse Fyzer

If a retro-love affair with text-based video games is the true future of reading, may dog help us awl.

Screamin' Jo GouldMutagems: On the Exquisite Beauty of Cell-Level Environmental Insult, a Pop-Up Book in Punctuated Equilibrium
by Screamin' Jo Gould

Gould gave, by far, the best slide show: fractal, funktional, and frightfully 3-D. Over time, you'll develop an affection for it. Or rather, you'll adapt to it. Or you'll die. Either way, you'll be changed on the most basic level possible.

Conclusion

I'm not sure what to make of the relative lack of multimedia and big, stagy production numbers this year. A sudden bout of sentiment for the old days of just reading papers aloud? The bad economy and hassles of flying killed most of the free giveaways, for sure, but the tone was, on the whole, serious and subdued. Could we be collectively returning to actual academics—analysis, thoughtfulness, evidence, research, documentation?

The Magic 8 Ball says "Stay tuned . . ."