Monday, 16 May 2016

Tom Cohen's Anti-Mimesis: Anti-Meaning, More Like

Call me a moron - and, yep, I admit it - but I won't be using Tom Cohen's Anti-Mimesis ( CUP, 1994) as an example of the Academy's ability to express ideas in eloquent prose. Indeed, despite having all sorts of cool references (the final chapter hints at an interesting reading of Terminator II, the first few pages offer hilarious interpretations of Othello's final speech), the bloody thing barely makes sense. No-one's got time for that. 

I'm sure there's some meat in the bun. Unfortunately, the bun is, like, full of words that are designed not to communicate but to impress. Using long words in daily life makes me sound like a dick, but it is usually okay in academic writing. Cohen accepted the challenge and has buried his argument in jargon.

Fine, except: his thoughts on Othello might imply that he has spotted something in the way dialogue is used in the script: rather than being a mutually satisfying way to make meaning and share ideas, dialogue is a power game, a battle, the place of lies and a 'battle for mastery'.

That's fascinating. It's a shame Cohen decided to whine about other interpretations of Bakhtin instead, using fancy-dan words to hide his bitchery. 

So: fans of philosophy: give this one a miss. It's just annoying.

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