Listen, everyone knows Tommy was the poet of the pissoir--it's even written on his tombstone!


>From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Eliot and Duchamp Lovers: Who Knew?
>Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 13:59:43 -0600
>John Ryskamp wrote:
> >
> Actually, the point about readymades
> > is not that they are readymade, but that they are from popular
> > culture, like the Lil section which, it seems, Eliot took by dictation
> > from his maid.
>Hmmm! It isn't clear that the famous urinal is from "popular culture"
>without rather stretching both "popular" and "cultural." The general
>shape of any two knives for butchering small game is going to be pretty
>much the same: i.e., that general shape enters into the production and
>reproduction of daily life. Unless we want to make "culture" a synonym
>for any label for anything humans do, I don't think that general shape
>should go into the definition of culture. But different tribes, areas,
>periods may well differ greatly in some _exact_ detail of the knives
>they make, or of the way in which they decorate those knives, or
>(perhaps: but archaeology won't tell us this) in the sharing of knives
>by comrades in the hunt, or under what special circumstances a certain
>form of decorated knive may be used, etc. etc. etc. All _that_ would be
>part of the group's or era's culture. It would be constrained and
>enabled but _not_ in detail determined by the group's way of producing
>and reproducing its daily life.
>Now urinals had by Duchamp's youth part of the production and
>reproduction of daily life in advanced capitalist societies -- they
>corresponded to the general shape of knives for butchering small game in
>a hypothetical hunting-gathering society. Where does the _culture_,
>popular or "high," come in? Just precisely how do urinals enter into
>culture? I think they do at some point, as shown by the multiplicity of
>particular shapes they have taken, but the source of that variation --
>i.e. the intersection of the production and reproduction of daily life
>and the social relations directly generated by that with cultural
>variation in the shape of urinals -- might be hard to trace. For
>example, I noticed at a couple airports recently that all the urinals
>were the same height from the floor: in other words _all_ urinals were
>set close to the floor rather than some for those of greater height and
>some for children. Is that a cultural change or is it directly rooted in
>current technology and production relations (at airports and/or plumbing
>factories)? It could be either or both.

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