My favorite professor in Graduate School - well at least this go around (I did MA work in Boone where I met the incomparable Orus Barker) - is Dr. Stephen Yarbrough, who I think is brilliant. He has a wonderful book called After Rhetoric. In this book, well he does a lot of things, he takes Donald Davidson's critique of language, at least as understood by a certain brand of postmodernists and applies it to culture.
Okay, so here's Davidson's quotation.
"I conclude that there is no such thing as a language, not if a language is anything like what many philosophers and linguists have supposed. There is therefore no such thing to be learned, mastered, or born with. We must give up the idea of a clearly defined shared structure which language-users acquire and then apply to cases. And we should try again to say how convention in any important sense is involved in language; or, as I think, we should give up the attempt to illuminate how we communicate by appeal to conventions."
Now, what Yarbrough does is substitute the word "Culture" for "Language." So he thinks neither Culture nor Language is what a group of Post-Moderns thought it was. That is to say, there is no medium between you and the world, between you and the Real.
So why does this matter? Well, it seems to me that if we assume a medium, whether it be language or culture, what you are ultimately saying is that Reality takes place inside your noggin. And that means you're a Cartesian. And well, that means your wrong.
Our reality is, OF COURSE, conditioned by culture, but to suggest that that means we have no access to The Real is really problematic.
I experience Reality. I don't experience a Representation of Reality. And that simple fact makes this whole thing quite a pickle.