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Postmodern Village
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Breaching the Berth: Selfing and Stability in Other and Text

A Report on the 8th Annual EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village Conference (2001)
by Lael Ewy with Charles V. Gustavsen and Mittens Dubois contributing


Underview

Kathy DennettIN A STUNNING move of Po-Mo fabulousity, the 8th Annual EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village Conference was held in a series of carefully constructed tents just off the end of a runway at the Ramstein Air Force Base near Saarbrucken, Germany, in May 2001. The combination of bucolic sights and the ear-shattering sounds of Air Force jets on final approach created an atmosphere somewhere between Wordsworth and Cabaret Voltaire. Here was the juxtaposition of social progress and centralized command-and-control phallocentrism that is the contemporary socio-linguistic experience, the relationship between subject and subjectifier slammed together with incessant, nerve-damaging immediacy. This reporter had a literal taste of his own spleen as the C-5 Galaxies rumbled 300 feet overhead.

A typical conference session
Welcoming ceremonies gathered the best and brightest the world has to offer.

Sound & Fury

Overall, attendance was good for an international location--some 12,000 of us packed the tents like money in a Multinational’s bank account. Some of that increase can be attributed to this year's decision to hold a late May session. We lounged about the beergardens and drank up the finest of Po-Mo analysis of culture, lit and langue. While perhaps the least rowdy of our conferences in terms of sheer violence and arrests (following a recent trend--see last year’s report) it was, strangely, one of the most satisfying.


The Hollow Boys
The Hollow Boys practice song after song.

"We Just Cliqued"

A plethora of special interest groups and semi-professional organizations met for the first time during the conference. The Dames of Derrida presented Days of Derrida, a calendar of attractive "deconstructionist debutantes," and motivated many young men to become learned (for a few days, at least). The Astuti Pantaloni, formed entirely of up-and-coming high school intellectuals, enjoyed singing T.S. Eliot poems to the tune of various Bob Dylan songs on the glorious banks of the drainage ponds. While the exclusive Kipling Kids Gang did cause alarm by stealing Hamlet, a Great Dane and the unofficial mascot, it was just good clean fun for many--including Hamlet.

The Dames of Derrida
The Dames of Derrida (Miss January Theresa Cleaver, Miss August
Gabby Hooper, Miss November Shannon Saldivar, and
Miss May Michelle Hughes) fascinated the old boy network.


Sloshed

The beergardens helped, I’m sure. To see 4,000 of our intrepid conferees passed out on the sticky benches at the end of the first night was truly impressive. It gave one the sense of a Sonny Ono post-neutron-bomb performance piece while failing to upset our host country in the least. While this may over time hurt our reputation as the academically othered, it may bode well for the long term prospects of international conferencing. The addition of culturally-themed parties within the hotel also added a spark of interest: the "Latina Lesbos" shindig attracted more than just academics, as did the "Be Ghetto for a Night" pool party hosted by Hillary Hardcore and the Funktastic F-4.

Three of the Funktastic F-4
Three of the Funktastic F-4 (V-Chip, Fantom Cyclone,
and Motomouth) chill at the cabana.


Tossed

The papers also evinced at once a mellowing but at the same time a new radicalism shifting more toward the scatological. Has the cultural paradigm of such anti-establishment masterworks as Dumb and Dumber finally begun to percolate up into the tender parts of the academic elite? Will this loosen the cramped canal of higher learning, allowing it finally to drop that load fertile material we suspect it is dryly holding back? Only time will tell us how irregular our suspicions are, but a good unclogging may allow academe to consume culture at a much more satisfying pace.


Page 2: Gentle Overnight Results/Conclusions