Breaching the Berth: Selfing and Stability in Other
A Report on the 8th Annual EastWesterly Review/Postmodern
by Lael Ewy with Charles V. Gustavsen and Mittens Dubois contributing
Gentle Overnight Results
Here are some samples of new movements from the body postmoderne:
on the Head By Fruit: My Entry Into the World of Great Minds
By Mary-Lou Lungkuchen
An example of the inflexibility of modus ponens, Lungkuchens
thoughtful look at what it takes to be great as presented included an
interactive PowerPoint slideshow and actual fruitheading
demonstrations. The paper (and upcoming book) may just represent the
final plank bridging the gap between the humanities and science. Sadly,
with its reliance on Newtonian physics, it is about 150 years too late.
the Real Slim Shelley Please Stand Up?: Body Image and Self-Loathing
By Alista Clockheart
Leaping deftly from text to text, Clockheart demonstrates the link
between reported body image of contemporary sufferers of anorexia nervosa
and the self-image of Shelleys wretch from the Gothic masterpiece.
Her next leap to the re-visioning of Shelleys work as self-reported
case-study is pure genius. The accompanying weight-management seminar
at the presentation was an ironic postmortem touch.
Theory: Culture, Literature, and the Physics of Bugs Bunny
By Nell Bianca
With a 3-D immersion presentation, Bianca questions the very notions
of what the universe is and the relationships cartoons have to it. Is
Bugs Bunny a treatise on quantum physics, a grand unified theory (con)textualized
in the visual language of animation? The question lingers, making the
viewer want to play with anvils. One problem, though: during the presentation
of this instant classic at this particular conference, all the VR helmets
smelled inexplicably of beef.
Really Are Out to Get You: Contemporary Demographics and Scorched-Earth
Marketing in the Psychometrics of Paranoia
By M. Addison Avignue and Carlos Young
Avignue and Youngs presentation was highly traditional, but the
impact of their theory will follow one everywhere. The ATMs were empty
after their paper, with conferees paying for everything in less traceable
cash. But theres a plus side: as long as you keep paying, Big
Brother will always love you.
n Learn: The John Rosemond Solution: Corporal Punishment in the
Popular Media Since Blake
By S. Mack Bottum
Bottums presentation was easily the most talked about, but it
was the least likely one conferees admitted to attending. Along with
a deep look at corporal punishment as pop culture, there were live demonstrations
of techniques involving paddles, spoons, switches, rulers, and, for
traditionalists, the open hand. Interestingly almost all who showed
up participated in the demonstrations, many pairing off to hotel rooms
Soutin At?: The Semiotics of Commercial Volume
By Garvus Biz Markey
Arguably the loudest presentation at this years conference, Markeys
paper explores yelling ads as a form of media-driven sadomasochism.
In an attempt to explain why being yelled at endears consumers to local
car dealerships and furniture stores, Markey suggests that generations
raised on loud stereos and even louder concerts crave the pain these
commercials provide. Shout at me baby, shout.
Leprechaun: The Socio-Cultural Significance of Ed McMahon in Lotto Land
By Joycelyn Jimbo Joyce
Joyces paper spans quasi-Irish marketing motifs from Yeats to
Lucky Charms cereal and finds that the Irish mascot points to an emerging
commercial semiotics in which wealth (as the pot o gold) is tragically
linked to an entire race, depicting middle-class blacks on McDonalds
commercials stands for diversity, and gorillas mean luggage. McMahon
himself has morphed into a leprechaun in the public mind, Joyce argues,
and the special computer animation she presented with the paper showed
why. Implicit here is the marketers worst nightmare: that consumers
should think before they buy.
Transcendentalism of Testosterone From Transformer to the Trans
By Stan Wankey
Wankey, as usual, presents us with a difficult take on the Oversoul--that
it could be linked to the mullet, NASCAR, and Brooks and Dunn tapes.
How else, Wankey asks, can masses scattered over miles and miles of
rural America find themselves so uniformly identifying with a specific
subculture? Cosmic redneck culture is proven by its counter-example,
the gay-blade culture of the 1970s that developed in very tight-knit,
mutually supportive urban environments. Frightening, but the monster-truck
demonstration may have taken things a bit far.
Its Just the Beer Talking: Addiction and Psychosis as Postmodern
By Bud W. Bush
Another great example of how interactive paper presentation can turn
mediocre scholarship into pure genius, the least interesting part was
the schizophrenic panel members. But the open bar representing the other
half of Bushs thesis showed the theory with giddy effectiveness.
Video studies of participants substance-inspired speech-making
will be available at Bushs website as soon as the legal issues
can be worked out.
Hole: the Cosmology of Octavia Butler
By Stephanie Fey Inman
Its not what youre thinking, but Inmans work boldly
goes into the relationship between science fiction and the motivations
for real research by focusing on the impact of Butler on contemporary
biotechnology. What really had conferees abuzz, though, were the explosions.
by the Dessication of a Moth: A Memoir on the Tragedy of Dry Skin
By Alexis Nexus
A first for the conference, Nexus presentation of her creative
nonfiction piece itched our curiosity about all things dermal, and the
time-lapse film of a decaying insect cracked the issue open to cross-species
and cosmological considerations. Nexus Lubriderm sponsorship was
also a first, peeling away the layers of academic noncommercialism and
providing a postmodern problem-solution essay simultaneously.
Socio-Sexual Linguistic Politics of Automotive Communication
By P.B. Wombat
Knucklescrapers unite! One in a long series of automotive-themed essays,
Wombat explores the miraculous transformation of automotive professionals
when technical language is used. The moral component is also dismantled
as Wombat observes that otherwise unscrupulous mechanics who routinely
bilk the mechanically unschooled become fair--even generous--when confronted
with terms such as valve guide seals and transmission
bellhousing. Our morals are determined by our linguistic environment,
Wombat reasons. But does it justify the way we treat the poor unwashed
who dont know the word reification? I think it does.
"Bootilicious" to "Lady Marmelade" and J-Lo to J-E-L-L-O:
Women as Snacks and Spreads
by Paul Ander
"I don't think you're ready for this jelly," sings Destiny's
Child in "Bootilicious," but Paul Ander disagrees. The semantic
link between snack foods, fruits, and condiments have always existed,
argues Ander, from Grimm's fairy tales to Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby
Got Back" and beyond. Ander's presentation left much to be desired:
he giggled while shouting "there's always room for J-Lo."
A fifteen-minute etymology lesson on "spread" and thirty-minute
tirade against Pringles' orgasmic "Pop the top" advertising
campaign caused many listeners to shake their booties to the biergartens
in the Buñuel Docks: Social Class and Love in L' äge
d'or, Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie, and Abismos
By Louisa June Caldecott
Besides religion and martinis, it can be said that Buñuel was
highly interested in social class and love. Caldecott attempted to make
that point, but her methods were a bit distracting. The firing of a
gun at the moderator (there was a fly on his head), odd dream sequence
(she fell asleep at the podium), Air Force maneuvers, and interruption
by a nun wearing only her headpiece and a rosary livened up an otherwise
tedious presentation. As after many papers, cocktails were meant to
be served, but prevented by various factors.
Your Palm Do This?: Masturbation Overtures in Business Motivational
By Cassie O. Vadem
While the question may be who moved my cheese instead of
who cut the cheese, Vadem asserts that the locker-room humor
is still present in works by Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, and Stephen
R. Covey. She posits the late 1990s return to "teamwork" as
a backlash against former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elder's stance that
masturbation is natural and normal. Several young males in the back
of the room compared the length of their styluses until Vadem called
attention to their behavior.
is Fiction: Harnessing the Power of Static Electricity through Increased
By Martin O'Malley
That tingling sensation means there's lightning a-comin', warns O'Malley.
His hair-raising performance explains that it is actually inequality
(the ratio of positive to negative ions) and not friction that causes
static electricity. O'Malley then isolates key images of static electricity
in film and literature and its relationship to the inequality between
good and evil, not the conflict between the two. O'Malley turned down
the humidifier and turned up the fun as we all zapped each other using
his handy hints.
Called Boobs, Ed": Erin Brockovich, Bridget Jones' Diary,
and the Modern Female Picaresque Film
By Barb E. Meadows
Those lovable roguish women, Erin Brockovich and Bridget Jones, delight
while they revile, claims Barb E. Meadows. With these characters' preoccuption
with their physical bodies and individual foibles, most modern women
enjoy the conflicted feelings of commiseration, hope, guilt, humiliation,
and despair caused. Meadows then launched into a tirade against the
Lifetime channel for sappy television shows like A Baby Story
when today's independent women really want to see reruns of The Days
and Nights of Molly Dodd all over again. Two ladies wept openly
during the final minutes and split a jar of Nutella.
of the Nerds: Odyssey of the Mind Becomes TV
By Simon Gatter
With new television shows like Battlebots and Junkyard Wars
popping up like blackheads on a fifteen-year-old, the intellectual gymnastics
known as Odyssey of the Mind seems to have found a new home. Gatter
explains how a basic cable television show can make anything cool.
Architecture: Jungle Rooms From Presley's Graceland to Mandela's Graceland
by Jean Lukas
Lukas examines the popularity of animal prints in home trends and other
forms of cultural consumption in this postcolonial age. Reproductions
of British Empire-era furniture available through the Bombay Company
and the Ernest Hemingway collection of Ethan Allen serve to continually
marginalize developing countries not only through their aesthetics,
but also their production practices. While overall a fine presentation,
one attendee commented, "Polka dots are coming back anyway, so
no one need worry about leopard. That's so 1999."
It would be nice to believe that the 9th and 10th EastWesterly Review/Postmodern
Village conferences will combine both the international flair of the
8th and the wanton destruction of earlier gatherings. The implications
would be no less than enormous: if these two forces could be brought
together in, say, a politically sensitive region of Afghanistan or Iraq,
they may foment enough unrest to topple existing regimes. Likewise,
the practice conferees could get in those places could lead us to tackle
more powerful phallocentric, totalitarian regimes such as China, the
U.S. or, the ultimate power, Microsoft. We can only hope that academe
will by these means regain its rightful place as being in some way important
to society at large.
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