In recent months much has been made of the fact that the term Neoism can be traced back to a 1914 occasional poem by American satirist Franklin P. Adams. Okay, so most of the world seems to have ignored the excitement this discovery generated among half-a-dozen fools and jesters, but it is nonetheless referenced on the relevant Wikipedia page. That said, when Blaster Al Ackerman coined the term in 1978, he did so initially as No Ism. The following year this mutated into Neoism, and no one active within the group using this name from the late 1970s onwards appears to have been aware of Adam’s fleeting use of the term until a year or so ago.
With about the same level of ‘authenticity’, an anonymous source revealed today that when Al Ackerman’s Neoist co-founder David ‘Oz’ Zack proposed the name Monty Cantsin as the identity of an ‘open pop star’ in 1977, he was drawing on his knowledge of the earlier Nicolas Bourbaki project. Nicolas Bourbaki is a collective pseudonym dating back to 1935, which a pool of predominantly French academics adopted when presenting expositions of advanced modern mathematics. The Bourbaki team aimed at rigour, created new terminology and concepts, and emphasised the importance of set theory.
The influence of ‘Nicolas Bourbaki’ peaked between 1950 and 1960, when few other graduate-level books in contemporary pure mathematics were available. Their emphasis on rigour was in part a reaction to the work of Henri Poincaré, who stressed the importance of free-flowing mathematical intuition at a cost of completeness in presentation. By way of contrast, Neoism’s influence is set to peak in forty years time, once most of those active within it during the 1980s are dead. BTW: 24 March is International Neoist Day!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!