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. > >Carrol