It started with marks on a large sheet of paper in a Belfast
drawing office. These diagrams were taken into a shipyard
. Metal was cut, holes drilled, rivets forced through and hammered, bolts and nuts put into place and tightened, paintwork completed, and all the rest of what goes together to build an ocean liner
. The ship rolled down the slipway and into the water according to the best engineering
standards of the day, and floated.
Some time later, most of the Atlantic Ocean crossed, the ship hit an iceberg. Four watertight compartments were ruptured. Water flooded in. But the fifth bulkhead did not go all the way up to the top of the hull, so water began to spill over into the next compartment. The ship was doomed.
On the ship were a number of Postmodernists, Idealists, and others, who believed in the primacy of the text over reality. They refused to accept the inevitability of the sinking. Some were artists, and sat down to draw pictures of the ship, with the fifth bulkhead all the way up to the top. Some of the Postmodernists had portable lap top computers, and sat down in the first class cocktail lounge, while the rest of the passengers panicked and ran for the lifeboats. The theorists hastily re-typed the specifications. Another Scottish theorist rewrote the laws of physics, with particular reference to Archimedes Principle.
Because reality conforms to the written word and painted representation, the ship was saved....
--Text of a pamphlet circulated in late 1998, early 1999