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From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) Substitute me for him, substitute my coke for gin...
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 08:26:41 

Here's some older stuff I've been meaning to reply to:

From: "Dan'l Danehy Oakes" <DDANEHYO@us.oracle.com>

>The same holds true, to a lesser extent, for many prelinguistic
>animals -- cats and birds can readily be seen teaching their 
>offspring how to perform various survival-oriented activities.  

And if that skill is not acquired during a particular phase of
development, it is never acquired.  Kittens never taught to hunt can
coexist with pet mice without the slightest problem.

BTW, that makes for an interesting thought right there.  What if the
shape-shifting ability (to whatever extent it exists) is like language
- a characteristic of the species the particulars of which must be
realized during a "critical stage" of their development.  All abos
have the capacity to shape-shift but if its "parameters" aren't set
(through parental/societal examples and interactions, as with
language) the knack is never fully realized and such abos are like the
examples one hears about occasionally of children raised in severely
abusive isutations where they aren't allowed to interact and learn
language (e.g. Kaspar Hauser).  Such abos would have limited or
nonexistant shape-shifting ability and no ability to use tools.

There's no evidence in the text of anything like this, but I found it
interesting enough to type the above paragraph about it.  Certainly a
question might be asked of Wolfe: what is your "model of shape

From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>

>For my paradigm, I'd like to deviate from literature and cite the various
>schools of analysis used to evaluate film. Even the most monomaniacal
>foaming-at-the-mouth practitioneers of a certain cant would never insist
>their critical dissections are the only valid approach. (Hey, Gene, how's
>the head wound? Roger misses you.) Hence the various schools of thought
>that are taught in most collegiate film courses. Each has its own tenets,
>and while various conceits often overlap, each school has its own
>evaluatory dicta. Is it possible, however, to use the standards of one to
>critique the analysis of the other? I maintain no. Hence the auteur cahiers
>du cinema approach to analyzing CITIZEN KANE will always be every bit as
>valid as the Marxist approach, as long as each adheres to its referential
>frame. Each has its own grammar and rules; each generates its own true
>sentences. But mix them together, you have more gibberish than sense.

But don't we get into some hazy areas here?  On the one hand there is
the tenet of semiotics: the text stands alone.  All interpretations
that conform to the facts of the text are valid, regardless of whether
the author intended them or not.  And perhaps even the "mistaken"
interpretation reveal the author's hidden intentions (to paraphrase
one of Eno's Oblique Strategies).  On the other hand there is Gene
Wolfe, engineer and technical writer who is without question, one of
the tightest plotters in the biz who documents everything.  But that
doesn't mean that there isn't room for ambiguity.  This is the middle
ground between the two extremes.  For example, in the context of BOTNS
we know that there are these "sliver" Severians (as they've been
called here) because Wolfe establishes it over the course of things.
But I'm certain that Wolfe probably has no idea exactly how many there
are (I believe that our Mantis has even speculated that there could be
zillions of 'em).  So yes, within certain parameters, a number of
hypotheses are available.  I'm starting to wonder if this sort of
ambiguity isn't the whole point of 5HC - that there is no one right
answer, just many hypotheses.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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