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October 06, 2006


Peter Hensel

haha, I'm pretty much in love with that story, too. It was really the first comic book I talked halfway intelligent on (http://xyphap.blogspot.com/2005/10/doom-patrol-down-paradise-way.html, if you're itnerested, but it really isn't very good). I completely agree with everything you say about the source of conflict being misinterpretation of differently intended symbols, and while it isn't the best DP story by far, it's probably the one I can talk the most about.

And, by the way, have you read Steven Shaviro's book with the same name as your post? It's a collection of interpretations on post-modernist works, using Morrison's Doom Patrol as a crux verything together.


It's not just a conflict over misinterpretation of symbols--it's a conflict over interpretation itself! The flower inside the Judge Rock is a clipping from the Garden of Eden, the last time meanings were fixed and interpretation unnecessary. The Orthodoxy believe in that fixity of meaning, and so they revere the Judge Rock above all other symbols; Huss is a rebel against their semiotic orthodoxy and so he wants to smash the ultimate symbol. The Geomancers have acquired their own religious icons over the years, though, and Rebis tricks both sides into destroying all of these old icons before they can end the war. And yet, after they end it, what's the first thing they do? Propose a new Tower of Babel, another sign that their creator can't imagine anything new and perhaps an omen that they will one day fall back into linguistic/religious/interpretive disharmony. Great stuff, on a cerebral level if not a visceral one.

And yeah, I've read Shaviro's book, as the last paragraph of my next post probably makes clear...

Peter Hensel

Yea, I commented before I read the second one. I wasn't as disappointed with Shaviro's reverance for works that are simply subversive, but I didn't approach the book as a book classifying and interpreting the value of postmodern works, but more as a survey of the movement, so I wasn't that unsatisfied by his conclusions on the works discussed, but, yea, he does seem to see subversiveness as an obligation rather than a value, shallowly observing a multitude of works instead of focusing completely on a couple.


I think Shaviro is dead-on in many of his minute observations, but he places them in the service of a naive world-view that celebrates all of the transformations of postmodern capitalism, from the genuinely liberating to the dehumanizing to the meaningless, with equal vigor as forms of revolution and subversion. To be fair, he wrote Doom Patrols in Seattle in the 90s; when he says "Stability, normality, conformity, and everyday boredom are the real enemies," you can almost hear the wailing guitar, see the extreme skateboarders, smell the Mountain Dew.

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