Postmodern Perl

Terence Sin (
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 01:13:33 -0500

Larry Wall gave a speech at LinuxWorld titled "Perl, the first
postmodern computer language" ( The
title sounds very promising, and I even agree with him that you can draw
connections between the two in a superficial way. But the essay itself
is basically incoherent, and he completely botched the definitions of
postmodernism/deconstruction, the tenets on which he re-thematized the
standard Perl duct-taping rhetoric into pomo jargons. My problem with
the whole idea of calling Perl a pomo language is that like all computer
languages, it is a logically coherent formal language, hardly what you'd
call pomo. Sometimes I wonder if all this talk about Perl being a
language designed for gonzo programming has very little to do with the
features intrinsic to the language itself, but rather an a posteriori
claim about the culture surrounding the Perl community. Which is kind
of weird since Larry Wall is a linguist and have no excuse of conflating
semantics with extra-linguistic issues.