14 sept 2007

It's like arguing about the prosody of poem that may or may not exist, and which nobody participating in the debate has ever read. There could be very subtle debates by very smart people, hundreds of books written about the subject, but there is no valid position to be taken, since even if the poem existed there would be no source of information about it.

So to take a position against the debate as such you wouldn’t have to read those hundred books. You could simply say that the debate itself is pointless because the only possible point of reference is the position of some previous debater.

Some who don’t feel strongly about the poem or its existence join in the fun anyway. They like intellectual debate for the sheer gamesmanship of it. They learn the rules of the game and what counts as a valid argument, which usually consists of manipulating previous arguments in a particular way.

No particular argument about the prosody of the poem would prove the existence of the poem. That’s the presupposition that makes the discussion meaningful in the first place, to the participants.

The proliferation of rather abstruse theory in such a field of imaginary prosody should be taken as a sign that nobody’s position is based on anything meaningful, rather than a sign that it is a field highly worthy of respect due to its exteme subtlety and theoretical elaboration.

1 comentario:

Andrew Shields dijo...

I liked this so much that I posted a link to it on my blog.