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Scooby Doo As A Product Of The Enlightenment

By Scrymarch in Media
Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 03:30:50 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Scooby Doo is essentially about casting the light of reason on corruption cloaked in mysticism.


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If you know the show, you know the structure well. The Scooby gang arrive at a scene with an occult atmosphere, such as an old run-down house. They wander about, alternating between wholesome American cheerfulness and theme park terror. They may get trapped. Some of them split from the group. Evidence of paranormal phenomena is seen. Shaggy gets hungry and Scooby hams it up. By following some treasure hunt style clues they eventually discover the secret of the place and unmask the fiend behind it all, revealing their nasty tricks in the process.

This is opiate television, and the formula is adhered to strictly. Many genres with strong conventions are built on - the basic plot of a detective story, the strong and familiar characters of an English school story (and its ancestors), the colourful slapstick of a cartoon and the Jack the Giant Killer tradition of the underdog winning - always popular to youth. But behind the fixed structure the message is: The application of reason leads to liberty.

It is a strange and wonderful piece of propaganda that promotes skeptical thinking for noble ends. It is also declining in popularity. That ill-definable rouge, post-modernism, has run amok with the concept of truth. It holds that the world is more complex than you imagine, and your worldview is prey to innumerable established conventions.

There are many directions this assertion can be taken, most usefully as taking another good, hard look at what we think we know. This has not been a popular academic approach - rather it has been used as an excuse for lack of rigour. Most critical has been the deliberate ignoring of facts contradicting the narrative being constructed. This avoidance of rigour amounts to little else but sophistry, and sophistry does not lead to freedom. Scooby Doo combats this trend.

Particularly biting and eloquent deconstructions of these lazy techniques can be found scattered throughout the pages of more literary science fiction novels (Donaldson, Egan). The authors are servants of both truth and narrative. They are in this, however, mostly preaching to the converted. Lazy thinking infects our society from the humanities out - those mocked students on campuses worldwide weave the media reality we live in. The more sophist rubbish they are force fed at university the more will be vomited onto the public. Their intention, unconscious or not, is for the pursuit of truth and liberty to become devalued and worthless in our society, and for corruption and misapplied mysticism to prevail.

And they would have got away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those darn kids.

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Poll
Scooby Doo was
o Masterful 14%
o Inspiring 11%
o Great 16%
o Good 12%
o Um ... good 14%
o Dunno 4%
o Bad 12%
o Execrable filth 12%

Votes: 108
Results | Other Polls

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o Also by Scrymarch


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Scooby Doo As A Product Of The Enlightenment | 46 comments (42 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
What are you talking about? (4.09 / 11) (#1)
by theboz on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:06:55 AM EST

While I am a big fan of Scooby Doo, I don't think they intended to do anything more than make an entertaining show out of it. The purpose was not to educate children to become sceptics, it was to entertain them by showing how a team of people with a nice dog can go around on adventures and solve them. The reason they always turned out to prove that there was a human behind the mask(until later shows at least), was because they didn't want to frighten the children. How would there be any resolution if it turned out that the house really was haunted and there was nothing they could do about it?

Also, anyone who takes a look at my underwear drawer will realize that Scooby Doo merchandising is making a lot of money because people still like the show. That's not too bad considering the fact that they stopped making the TV show and have only made a couple short TV movies within the past few years. Scooby Doo is pretty popular as far as I can tell, otherwise it wouldn't be on primetime TV on Cartoon Network either.

As a more editorial comment, I'd just like to say that you rambled on more than I do, so you confused me with your article by changing the subject and trying to relate it on a tangent.

Stuff.

Consciousness (4.75 / 4) (#6)
by Scrymarch on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:49:53 AM EST

While I am a big fan of Scooby Doo, I don't think they intended to do anything more than make an entertaining show out of it.

You might very well be right; the creators of Scooby Doo might have transmitted the moral unconsciously. But it was trasmitted.

The purpose was not to educate children to become sceptics, it was to entertain them by showing how a team of people with a nice dog can go around on adventures and solve them. The reason they always turned out to prove that there was a human behind the mask(until later shows at least), was because they didn't want to frighten the children. How would there be any resolution if it turned out that the house really was haunted and there was nothing they could do about it?

Yeah, the moral was a fairly straightforward result of the structure they chose. Detective stories have answers, and Jack the Giant Killer wins.

So what would foster mysticism and fuzzy thinking? Maybe a show where the child heroes win the day by exercising their never explained powers in conflict with the enemy ... like the Power Rangers? Superhero comics are pretty mystical, generally, and the depth of some of the makes Scooby Doo look like War and Peace.

[ Parent ]

Conscious intentions... (4.66 / 3) (#8)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:52:41 AM EST

... don't always tell one the whole of the information that can be supported by something. The context, the use of traditional forms for new expression, and the background ideology all help weave a more complete picture of a work's meaning.

There are layers to these things, plans within plans. Such prima facie unsupported interpretations can give one a new perspective on the underlying patterns of subtle motivations that are beneath the surface of simple narratives.

Surely you have noticed patterns in your behaviour that you only later identified the causes of. Before noting the pattern, sometimes one doesn't think to look for such subtle factors. They lay beneath one's threshold of perseption until the focus was adjusted.

Surely you wouldn't want to say that a person's ideologies can't weave themselves into what a person does when the person isn't consciously drawing on that thinking.

All that, and it is a fun game. Look for 5's, find 5's, laugh.



[ Parent ]

Good Intentions (none / 0) (#38)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Jul 21, 2001 at 01:22:11 PM EST

While I am a big fan of Scooby Doo, I don't think they intended to do anything more than make an entertaining show out of it
God help them then -- their efforts were entirely wasted.

[ Parent ]
Wow. (3.55 / 9) (#2)
by sventhatcher on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:09:17 AM EST

How did you manage to get away with talking about the cultural impact of Scooby Doo without mentioning what made the scooby snacks so delicious? =)



Recipe (4.50 / 10) (#4)
by Devil Ducky on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:25:42 AM EST

Scooby Snacks
  • Ingredients 1 1/2 Sticks (12 TB) Real Butter
  • 1/4 oz weed (1 1/2 8th oz)
  • 4 Squares Bakers Chocolate (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
Step one: Prepare The Butter
  1. Place the Butter (1.5 sticks) and the weed in a pot of boiling water. Let the butter melt completely then let it boil (on a low heat) for about 30 min.
  2. Remove from heat and pour the whole mixture (water and all) into a glass or other small container. Place this in the fridge till the butter rises to the top and starts to solidify. Note; if you have a clean syringe or other such device the risen liquid butter can be taken out and used before solidifying...if you don't have one put it in the freezer.
  3. Keep the special butter (AKA Cannibutter) and discard the weed particles and the water.
Step two: The Chocolate
  1. Place the cannibutter and bakers chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and heat it on low untill it is completely melted. (Cannichocolate)
  2. Mix the eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl. Add the cannichocolate. Mix well.
  3. Pour into 9 X 13 inch, greased baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Bake 30-35 min. or until a wooden toothpick in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs.
  5. Set in fridge to cool.
  6. Cut brownies into circle and put in a yellow box.

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
+1 for ther recipe (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by hal0802 on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:36:48 AM EST

The article was not so interesting but the recipe just can't be lost ;-)

- You have to decide. That Snow Crash is a virus, a drug or a religion ?
- What's the difference ? she replied.

Neal Stephenson - "Snow Crash"
[ Parent ]
Missing 1.75 grams (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by Rand Race on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 11:13:28 AM EST

1/4 oz weed (1 1/2 8th oz)

Dude, you shorted me again!


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Remaing (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by Devil Ducky on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 02:04:21 PM EST

I think you can figure out what to do with the rest :)

Actually it's heavily suggested not to smoke any of the ingredients before eating the "Scooby Snacks" since they are pretty powerful.

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
What kind of measurement is a 'stick'? (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by gcmillwood on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:04:13 PM EST

How much butter is 1.5 sticks, in grams or ounces?
And how many grams in a 'square' of chocolate?

I'm afraid I don't these understand US specific measurements. (I have enough trouble with measuring things in cups, as a US cup seems to be far smaller than the tea cups I have at home).

[ Parent ]
Ha! Housewifery I do know.... (3.33 / 3) (#18)
by yankeehack on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:58:01 PM EST

In the states, butter is usually sold in a 1 pound pack of 4 sticks (so the butter can fit on your butter dish without you having to cut it. Each stick measures 8 Tablespoons. Thusly, for the recipe (I'm not condoning the recipe here :-P ) you'd need 12 Tablespoons=stick and a half.

Perhaps what we really need is a new feminism...It will focus on something that liberal feminism has failed to do--instill a sense of dignity, honor and s
[ Parent ]

Imperial measurements (none / 0) (#32)
by Ian Clelland on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 01:59:09 AM EST

A US, or Imperial cup is almost exactly 250mL, or 25cL. Now most of the teacups I use are about 5oz (1 cup == 8 oz) or ~155mL. What kind of cups are you using?

[ Parent ]
Cultures Represented (4.60 / 15) (#3)
by Devil Ducky on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:15:27 AM EST

I believe that one fo the reasons thast we still watch Scooby Doo (someone other than me has to be watching it Cartoon Network runs it 14 hours a day) is that we see ourselves in it. As kids it was for the laughs and the dog (NOT Scrappy!) but as adults its for us.

    Your characters include:
  • Shaggy: Pot smoking hippie
  • Scooby: Misunderstood creature who follows life's whims (also a pot smoker?)
  • Velma: The nerd, but she's important and accepted.
  • Daphne: Yes, she's a slut, she's also danger prone, she also is known to be self-centered, and quite unaware. But she's the popular one, who often is relied upon to get the entire group social accpetance.
  • Fred: Horny guy who likes to pretend he's in the know. He found a group who lets him get away with his antics and lets him have a little fun with Daphne.
  • Scrappy: Annoyingly full of pep. In awe of Scooby who could do no wrong.
  • Villan: More often than thought a good person pushed too far by greed. (If you've ever wanted to push your neighbor's land prices down by dressing up as a monster, this is you)
  • Victim: The last to be scared away. Always a good person who once had helped the person who became the villan, but now has no choice but to call in the Mystery Machine and later the solitary cop.
One must not forget the celebrities that this group has had the pleasure of meeting. The Harlem Globetrotters consider them to be personal friends, Batman and Robin owe their lives to them. , the list goes on and on... Why I wouldn't be surprised if the President himself was in love with the group (he still likes to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons).
Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
How is the Plot affected by the 5-college myth (3.83 / 6) (#7)
by pauldamer on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:50:21 AM EST

I have heard from a variety of places that the characters of scooby doo represent five colleges in massechusetts. :

Scooby, of course, is UMass, and he and Shaggy, who is Hampshire, are constantly hallucinating and having the munchies because they have been engaging in certain illicit activities of the narcotic sort. The blond guy with a neckerchief is Fred, the living embodiment of Amherst College. And, though there is some debate over this point, Velma and Daphne represent Smith and Mount Holyoke respectively (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/org/mhnews/F97/oct02/features/FTkind.htm)

Can anyone confirm this urban legend? And how does this interpretation of the characters affect interpretation of the plot?

Scooby Doo vs. Mass Colleges vs. Dobie Gillis (4.00 / 3) (#11)
by yosemite on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 11:22:11 AM EST

I have heard from a variety of places that the characters of scooby doo represent five colleges in massechusetts
The Scooby Doo characters were based on characters from the old TV show "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (c.f. http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/doc/scooby/main.html)

Of course, that doesn't mean the MLoDG characters wern't in turn based on Mass. Colleges...

--
[Signature redacted]

[ Parent ]

Utter BULL Scat! (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by jabber on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:19:13 PM EST

There is no way Velma can be an analogue for Smith.. Now, if she were Goth, maybe, but she's just too muted to be a bull dyke, and too geeky to be a rebelious future First Lady. I can see the connection between Scooby and UMASS (but only the Amherst campus) as I have taken a few classes there, and find the inmates as difficult to talk to as Great Danes. Fred and Shaggy.. Bah! But I have always wanted to mount Daphne, so the Mount Holyoke tracks...

Thanks for the laugh.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Twit! (3.33 / 3) (#17)
by Elkor on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:38:40 PM EST

You forget, the characters for this program were written and evolved well over 2 decades ago.

Goth was not a popular social style in the 70's.

Considering our relative age, jabber, we should ask our parents whether these descriptions fit or not.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Bah! (3.50 / 2) (#23)
by jabber on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 02:25:33 PM EST

I have no idea whether or not Scooby Doo is modelled on the Western Mass Colleges or not. Your point is well taken however, although the whole point of my post was the infantile 'mount Daphney' bit.. It seemed funny at the time.

The Goth reference is just a validation of perspective, since Northampton (the proud home of Smith College, and the highest density of lesbians in the country) is simply teeming with nubile Goths come dusk.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Things to fear. (3.28 / 7) (#13)
by wiredog on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 11:59:02 AM EST

Scooby Doo the movie.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
More things to fear... (none / 0) (#45)
by Ialdabaoth on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 09:00:02 PM EST

  1. The sight of Britney Spears nude...
  2. Another Pokemon movie...
  3. William Shatner's Presidential campaign in 2004...
  4. Passage of the SSSCA
  5. Less than 100 shopping days until Christmas!! AGGGGGH!

*******
"Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

--paraphrase of Aleister Crowley
[ Parent ]

Poll Question: With or without Scrappy? (3.66 / 6) (#20)
by jonnyq on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 01:46:07 PM EST

Am I supposed to base my judgement of the show on the early days back when they didn't seem to be completely locked into the same script for every show, or am I supposed to go off of the show when they had Scrappy? This distinction is quite important, as it could sway my vote from the Masterful/Great rating zone for the former to the Bad/Execrable filth zone. Please Help!!

Gah! (3.80 / 5) (#22)
by 0xdeadbeef on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 02:20:33 PM EST

I remember reading something that made this connection, though without the pretentious tone of this article. The author was offended that one of the latter Scoobie Doo movies actually presented some sort of supernatural phenomenom as real and not the work of illusionists. Anybody know what I'm talking about?

Heh (4.66 / 3) (#24)
by fluffy grue on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 03:21:39 PM EST

The only reason I even looked at the comments on this article was so that I could bring it up. It's an article from CSICOP.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

I thought he was kidding. (none / 0) (#42)
by jeremiah2 on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 06:19:42 PM EST

To seriously care about the finer points of some crap low budget Hanna Barbera cartoon from the seventies, you'd have to be seriously messed up in the head. But I'd give this guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he's doing this for the irony. Either way, it's pretty funny.
Change isn't necessarily progress - Wesley J. Smith, Forced Exit
[ Parent ]
You wanna hear something really pathetic? (none / 0) (#43)
by jeremiah2 on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 06:21:11 PM EST

They actually made a movie out of Josie and the Pussycats. I tell you, Hollywood has shit for brains, and I'm not just saying that because of their politics.
Change isn't necessarily progress - Wesley J. Smith, Forced Exit
[ Parent ]
Enlightenment? (2.00 / 3) (#25)
by broken77 on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:06:37 PM EST

Funny how the usage of the word "enlightenment" in the context of this article is supposed to mean "reason and logic", when in practice, it generally refers to metaphysical and supernatural things, the very things the article is bashing. Kind of an odd word choice...

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz

the other meaning (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by kataklyst on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 07:08:10 PM EST

The author was referring to the historical period known as the Enlightenment. Personally, I had never heard the usage that you mentioned. It is interesting that the same word has such different meanings in different contexts.

[ Parent ]
sophistry and the nature of argument - and Plato. (3.33 / 6) (#26)
by Maniac_Dervish on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:16:37 PM EST

There are many directions this assertion can be taken, most usefully as taking another good, hard look at what we think we know. This has not been a popular academic approach - rather it has been used as an excuse for lack of rigour. Most critical has been the deliberate ignoring of facts contradicting the narrative being constructed. This avoidance of rigour amounts to little else but sophistry, and sophistry does not lead to freedom. Scooby Doo combats this trend.

I think it is rather unfortunate that you believe researchers don't examine "what we think we know".... on the contrary, that stance is the basis of research as a disciplinary activity. Most undergraduates don't reach the stage where they can work on metacognition. The lucky ones reach that stage later in life, or in graduate school.

Your next sentence, "Most critical has been the deliberate ignoring of facts contradicting the narrative being constructed." doesn't seem to have any real content. What does it mean? what are you trying to say? Your first sentence has the same problem, but to a lesser extent. Please use simpler words correctly, rather than trying to sound "smart" - you'll get shot down every time by someone who actually knows what the words mean.

The passive voice makes you sound pretentious. Avoid it. Your references to 'narrative' seem somewhat misplaced, also. You seem to be mixing an analysis of the argumentative structure of Scooby-Doo episodes with a somewhat skewed perception of what "narrative" means to someone writing papers for academic consumption.

Your slam on the humanities indicates that you are probably not very experienced in dealing with those fields. Are you an engineer or a computer scientist? Please find something more worthwhile to do, like eliminating world hunger.

"Sophistry," as the word is used by most, is a code-word for the disdain of rhetoric and communication in general. Plato was the first, but not the last, to attack the Sophists - unfortunately for us.

Oh, by the way. Plato's attacks on the Sophists were all red herrings. Because he couldn't find fault with their argumentative tools (with which they were quite masterful and adept) he sank to the level of the personal attack as a means of maintaining face.

Plato also ignored the fact that *HE* was a master of sophistry - convenient, eh? You have to "attack the master's house with the master's tools," so to speak.

I am a proud participant in the sophistic and discursive collaborative environment provided by kuro5hin. How's that for buzzwords?

:)

dervish.

Sophistry, Plato, &c (none / 0) (#33)
by Scrymarch on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 05:48:09 AM EST

I think it is rather unfortunate that you believe researchers don't examine "what we think we know".... on the contrary, that stance is the basis of research as a disciplinary activity. Most undergraduates don't reach the stage where they can work on metacognition. The lucky ones reach that stage later in life, or in graduate school.

Hmm. Perhaps it would be clearer if I suggested researchers don't examine what we think we know ... enough.

Your next sentence, "Most critical has been the deliberate ignoring of facts contradicting the narrative being constructed." doesn't seem to have any real content. What does it mean? what are you trying to say? Your first sentence has the same problem, but to a lesser extent. Please use simpler words correctly, rather than trying to sound "smart" - you'll get shot down every time by someone who actually knows what the words mean.

Sure it has content, it just assumes too much background. I also enjoy using jargon to attack the source of jargon. Bad habit. Anyway, a significant reaction in academia to the realisation we are hopelessly biased by our worldviews has been to walk away from the concept of objective reality. Instead the job of, eg, a historian, is seen as constructing a historical "narrative" on available (not even all available!) facts. You don't have to delve too far into academia to see this perspective, usually reading the UK Guardian newspaper brings out a few examples.

The passive voice makes you sound pretentious. Avoid it.

<nod>

Your references to 'narrative' seem somewhat misplaced, also. You seem to be mixing an analysis of the argumentative structure of Scooby-Doo episodes with a somewhat skewed perception of what "narrative" means to someone writing papers for academic consumption.

Yeah, it mixed the two concepts. That's why the title mentions Scooby Doo and the Enlightenment.

Your slam on the humanities indicates that you are probably not very experienced in dealing with those fields. Are you an engineer or a computer scientist? Please find something more worthwhile to do, like eliminating world hunger.

OK - let's feed the poor with arts students! :)

I'm not super-experienced with the humanities - only enough to sounds pretentious ... that in itself is not enough to dismiss my argument - see below ...

"Sophistry," as the word is used by most,

What about here?

... is a code-word for the disdain of rhetoric and communication in general. Plato was the first, but not the last, to attack the Sophists - unfortunately for us.

I intended it as "argument for the sake of argument".

Oh, by the way. Plato's attacks on the Sophists were all red herrings. Because he couldn't find fault with their argumentative tools (with which they were quite masterful and adept) he sank to the level of the personal attack as a means of maintaining face.

Plato also ignored the fact that *HE* was a master of sophistry - convenient, eh? You have to "attack the master's house with the master's tools," so to speak.

I am a proud participant in the sophistic and discursive collaborative environment provided by kuro5hin. How's that for buzzwords? :)

Compliant.

[ Parent ]

"mysticism" as a buzzword for the irrati (1.50 / 2) (#27)
by Maniac_Dervish on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:22:16 PM EST

reality we live in. The more sophist rubbish they are force fed at university the more will be vomited onto the public. Their intention, unconscious or not, is for the pursuit of truth and liberty to become devalued and worthless in our society, and for corruption and misapplied mysticism to prevail.

I find your use of "mysticism" very unusual - do you intend it to represent all sorts of magical thinking, or only those that are based in unreasoned, unsupported faith?

"mysticism" can have various connotations according to the target audience of your post - can we have some clarification and expansion of what you mean by it?

I suspect that what you really mean by 'mysticism' is something more like "magical thinking" or 'less-than-critical thought'... but you've tagged it mysticism, so now let's hear what you meant to say.

dervish.

Mysticism (none / 0) (#35)
by Scrymarch on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:34:40 AM EST

I didn't intend to imply mysticism was intrinsicly bad. Looking back over the article I tried to qualify it - "corruption cloaked in mysticism", "misapplied mysticism". "Magical thinking" isn't a bad description.

It's interesting that I touched such a nerve though. Maybe the article was a touch too polemical. It was composed with at least some of my tongue in my cheek.

[ Parent ]

would you rather be a modernist? (4.00 / 4) (#28)
by Maniac_Dervish on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:34:32 PM EST

It is a strange and wonderful piece of propaganda that promotes skeptical thinking for noble ends. It is also declining in popularity. That ill-definable rouge, post-modernism, has run amok with the concept of truth. It holds that the world is more complex than you imagine, and your worldview is prey to innumerable established conventions.

Ok, ok, so every time i read back through this article i get a little more annoyed.

I've been playing nice, but now i'm starting to get fired up =) "That ill-definable rouge, post-modernism" is actually not all that difficult to define. Unfortunately, doing so takes a tremendous amount of fringe knowledge of several historical and social movements. It isn't as easy to differentiate the Modern and the PoMo as it is, for instance, to differentiate the Neoclassical and the Romantic periods in literature.

Would you rather be a modernist than a postmodernist? "Modernity" assumes that we can find all the answers, that truth-with-a-capital-T is predetermined and that we are capable of understanding it fully, vis a vis Plato's ideal forms, that science and technology will save us and eliminate all of humanity's problems, and that the universe is in need of perfection by the efforts of mankind. God-is-man-is-god, to some degree.

PoMo is the antithesis of nearly all of this. While not believing that human beings are capable of comprehending EVERYTHING, it also gives credit where credit is due, recognizing the benefits and problems of modernism rather than simply decrying them as "evils of the world" - something that the pre- or proto-modern individual probably would have done.

Simply put, Modernism is kind of naive.

Not sure what else to say. Hopefully Scrymarch will have some interesting things to say about this mess.

dervish.

Ill definable rogue (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by Scrymarch on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:19:55 AM EST

Ok. Post modernism is not bad. Perhaps a phrase that would better suit my opinion is "cheeky young scamp".

[full quote]

I've been playing nice, but now i'm starting to get fired up =) "That ill-definable rouge, post-modernism" is actually not all that difficult to define. Unfortunately, doing so takes a tremendous amount of fringe knowledge of several historical and social movements. It isn't as easy to differentiate the Modern and the PoMo as it is, for instance, to differentiate the Neoclassical and the Romantic periods in literature.

Would you rather be a modernist than a postmodernist? "Modernity" assumes that we can find all the answers, that truth-with-a-capital-T is predetermined and that we are capable of understanding it fully, vis a vis Plato's ideal forms, that science and technology will save us and eliminate all of humanity's problems, and that the universe is in need of perfection by the efforts of mankind. God-is-man-is-god, to some degree.

PoMo is the antithesis of nearly all of this. While not believing that human beings are capable of comprehending EVERYTHING, it also gives credit where credit is due, recognizing the benefits and problems of modernism rather than simply decrying them as "evils of the world" - something that the pre- or proto-modern individual probably would have done.

So what is it? You spend a few paragraphs near it without offering a solid description. Where's the dictionary definition? Here's dictionary.com:

post·mod·ern (pst-mdrn) adj. Of or relating to art, architecture, or literature that reacts against earlier modernist principles, as by reintroducing traditional or classical elements of style or by carrying modernist styles or practices to extremes: "It [a roadhouse]is so architecturally interesting... with its postmodern wooden booths and sculptural clock" (Ruth Reichl).

The Oxford concise has a similar defn, to whit "intellectual movement that came after modernism and uses elements from earlier movements". Well, duh.

Simply put, Modernism is kind of naive.

Sure, that's why we post-ed it, right? But it is ill-definable. It's a rogue because it's been used as an excuse for sloppy writing. I'm far from free from sloppy writing - I got the last lines of the bloody show wrong, for goodness sake - but it's my fault, not the lack of an objective reality.

Am I a modernist? I'm not certain that we can ever fully perceive the Truth, so I suppose not.

[ Parent ]

mm... (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by Maniac_Dervish on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 11:39:03 PM EST

i suppose pomo is ill-definable if you don't know what "modernism" as a movement partook of.

saying "postmodernism" is just an excuse for sloppy writing ignores the care and caution that goes into experimentation - writing something weird is NOT easy, particularly if you want to avoid looking like you're just reinventing a cliche'ed style that someone else has overused.

dervish.

[ Parent ]

Sure it's easy. (none / 0) (#41)
by jeremiah2 on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 06:16:43 PM EST

You just have to be stoned while you're typing. And the pomo, er, style, is just another cliche by now.
Change isn't necessarily progress - Wesley J. Smith, Forced Exit
[ Parent ]
Post-modernism (none / 0) (#44)
by Scrymarch on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:04:37 AM EST

So basically you agree with the defn, "otherwise incoherent intellectual reaction to modernism" :)

I suspect post-modernism will become a name for a style that involves deconstruction, profligately reusing elements from other movements, or (in literature or history) focusing intensely on a particular view of an event to the exclusion of other views. The post-modern label is then an accident much in the way that (IIRC) Aristotle's Metaphysics was so titled because it came before the Physics, and he couldn't think of another name.

A more coherent intellectual movement that was harder to co-opt for sophistry (or solipsism) would appeal to me more.

[ Parent ]

False dichotony. Surely we can avoid the (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by hjones on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 11:54:03 AM EST

silliness of postmodernism without embracing teh shallowness of modernism? Whatever was it that came before modernism, for example?
"Nietzsche is dead, but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. And we -- we small-minded weaklings, we still have to vanquish his shadow too." - The Antinietzsche
[ Parent ]
That ill-definable rouge, post-modernism (5.00 / 5) (#30)
by driptray on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 09:29:36 PM EST

That inconsequential lipstick,
That nefarious eyeshadow,
That discreet foundation,
That damnright inscrutable mascara!

That damn fine malapropism!


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
Article tickles fancy, while ticking some off! (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by provider on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 11:13:05 PM EST

Reading some posts, yes the article seems a bit pretentious (I thought it was fun) for...Scooby Doo....but picks a few points that I've seen elsewhere, with a little more rigour and a little less fun.
Check http://www.reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/index.html , and don't get cast off by the ADHD intro. Look for the Programmers Stone here http://www.reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/r0/index.html which similiarly draws attention to the rampant sophistry in the computer industry. The whole site is pretty heavy, so a quicky scan will not be useful, try reading over several days, checking out the message group etc.
Be careful you don't read the essay as a Us vs Them serve on anyone not a computer developer. There is some good arguments and even (god help us)...testable, falsifiable hypothesis being bandied about. This rational, scientific look at things will never catch on!
If you work in the computer industry and have been frustrated by the shenanegans of your management, realising that the current breed of management are essentially the type who makes decisions and then justifies them after the fact, may make you life if not easier then at least understandable.
Anyway, I've always regarded statistical analysis of schedules and estimates in 'new developments' as being as useful as looking at sheep entrails.
prov


Hah! (3.33 / 3) (#36)
by 11223 on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 09:05:21 AM EST

Good to see that someone else is keeping up the erstwhile K5 tradition of taking everything way to damn seriously, and coming off sounding pretentious and silly at the same time.

Thanks for today's laugh.

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

If Scooby Doo is a product of the enlightenment, (3.33 / 3) (#40)
by jeremiah2 on Sun Jul 22, 2001 at 06:12:06 PM EST

then the enlightenment must have really sucked. Now I understand why it led to all those people being guillotined.
Change isn't necessarily progress - Wesley J. Smith, Forced Exit
Skepticism (none / 0) (#46)
by epepke on Tue Oct 30, 2001 at 01:33:05 PM EST

I occasionally attend skeptic and freethought conferences, and when somebody asks about popular media that promote critical thinking, I always mention Scooby Doo.

Yeah, it's a kid's show. So what? Where is it written that it's bad to teach critical thinking to kids? Oh yeah, the manuals of every school of education in the country. And the Bible. And probably everywhere else. But it's nice to see something subversive for the kids.

Now, don't get me started about Beavis and Butthead as the logical end product of French existentialism...


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Scooby Doo As A Product Of The Enlightenment | 46 comments (42 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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