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February 6, 2004

Fear and Loathing in Globalization

It's officially "Short Attention Span Day" at the home office of the chutry experiment. So while I'm taking a break from grading, I'll add one more link to my external memory file. Fredric Jameson has a review of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition (which I still haven't read) in a recent issue of The New Left Review (via Dr. B's blog).

Posted by chuck at February 6, 2004 1:07 AM

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But, honey, every day is "Short Attention Span Day". Now if only there were related sales...

Posted by: weez at February 6, 2004 8:45 AM

Couldn't agree more.

Um, what were we talking about?

Posted by: mjones at February 7, 2004 12:02 PM

Did I say something about short attention spans? What sale?

Posted by: chuck at February 7, 2004 5:27 PM

'ales, 'tention 'pans
'attern 'ecognition

Jameson in conflates two scenes (description of wingbacked chairs in a cafe with description of furnishings in a hotel room).
Jameson's conflation serves to support a claim that Gibson regards the fictional Russion world as backward in terms of design aesthetic.

Jameson spends some time comparing Gibson to Sterling.
A student picking up Pattern Recognition could do well to compare it with the novel that Sterling & Gibson co-authored The Difference Engine

Jameson also seems to forget Molly from Neuromancer when he sets up a comment on a shift in Gibson's treatment of gender. Though I did like the remark of homeopathy versus antidote but hey isn't all fiction homeopathic?

Posted by: Francois Lachance at February 7, 2004 8:53 PM


those are the letters elided in

(s)ales (a)ttention (s)pans
(p)attern (r)ecognition

and it is the e-cognition aspects of the novel that Jameson reduces to mere insider-outsider group dynamics. it is way less dichotomous in the novel
the ecology of cognitions and the economy of capital can overlap but why would one want to declare a one-to-one mapping?

Posted by: Francois Lachance at February 7, 2004 8:56 PM

I haven't read Gibson's novel yet. Now that it's in paperback, I'll try to buy a copy soon. I'm intrigued by your question about Jameson's reworking of cognitive mapping as it applies to Gibson (I almost said cyberpunk, which would have been a conflation of my own).

I'll admit that I'm often taken by Jameson's assertion of the economic as the prime determinant in interprertation, but I need to read PR and the Jameson essay closely before making any definitive claims.

Posted by: chuck at February 8, 2004 6:45 PM

Chuck, Have you read the paperback yet? I wonder if it conatins the same typographical niceties that at least one print run of the hardcover did?

Posted by: Francois Lachance at January 30, 2005 8:13 PM

Francois, I read it several months ago, and while that scene is certainly familiar, I don't remember seeing the typographical oddity you describe. I am teaching Pattern Recognition in my composition class this spring, so I'll try to remember to look for it.

Interesting for this particular blog entry to return from the archives at such an appropriate time.

Posted by: Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 30, 2005 9:22 PM

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