A Few Don’ts (And Dos) By A Cultural Phenomenologist
For those who prefer a less twitchy kind of read, some of these opinions have appeared as a printed essay in the journal Parallax,5 (1999): 17-31 where it is preceded by the following account of its growth and afterlife.
`The piece of writing that follows has existed for the last two years or so as a paper on my website. Indeed it will remain so after the publication of this version of the text, and I can’t promise not to carry on adding to and subtracting to it beyond the publication. One of the good things about the web is that it allows you to sprint into the daylit conclusiveness of print, and then to dabble at leisure amid the friendly murk of your first thoughts. I have come to think of this piece, not as a completed product, but as a kind of plant, an aging bathroom philodendron, say, a bit pot-bound, gone oaky at the roots, and starting to get tangled up with the towels, but still rather likeable and capable of surprising little spurts of growth. Where others retire into the garage after work to do french-polishing or tinker with the Morris Minor, I go off to cultivate my web garden, feeding, snipping and spraying for bugs. Something of this weekend, cardiganed feel may attach to the piece of writing that is just about to start, and I suppose it is too late now to apologise for it. I am rather pleased though that, where the finished, proof-read version of the essay will be available only in academic libraries to a few hundred readers, most of whom will encounter it, if at all, well after its actual publication, after turning it up in a bibliographical search, or a citation in some other work, the web version, still now and then putting forth a feeble twig or bud, will still be there for literally millions not to read.’