(Touching on) Tele-Technology



As Julian Stallabrass notes, ‘the concept of cyberspace attracts a breathless, hyperbolic writing … whether positive or negative’ (Stallabrass 1995,22). Barely existent, and barely existent without a strange kind of cathexis, it hooks up to a rhetoric that might be codified according to the linked but divided investments analysed in Freud’s ‘On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love’: overvaluation and denigration (Freud 1984, 179–90). Scott Bukatman has coined the term ‘cyberdrool’ to describe the overvaluative discourse (’Cyberspace becomes another venue for consciousness itself’, says one [Benedikt, cit. Stallabrass 1995, 8]; ‘The Net wires the world for Hegelian Geist’, say others [Taylor and Saarinen, cit. Stallabrass 1995, 9), but his own text is unable to avoid the rhetorical vortex of the scene. Terminal Identity (Bukatman 1993) self-described as ‘intriguingly hyperbolic’ (1993, 17), rushes to announce a full-scale epistemological and ontological revolution: ‘a fully technologised existence … has forced a crisis around untenable definitions of the human’, (1993, 5) such that a new ‘terminal identity’ ‘situates the human and technological as coextensive, co-dependent and mutually defining’ (1993, 22). The frisson of Bukatman’s uncontrolled exuberance derives from those peerless rhetoricians of the denigrative pole, Baudrillard and Virilio.


Reversible Circuit Universal Tendency Wireless Telegraphy Measure Today Terminal Identity 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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