Bail writes books about tourists who never visit anything but the theme parks of their expectations ( Homesickness ) or in which people re-enact the casket myth of The Merchant of Venice by guessing the number of bloody gumtrees on daddy's property to get the girl. The latter novel - it sounds like a parodic allegory of Bail's fictional procedures - is Eucalyptus , which almost became a film with Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman. And what a glorious cartoon Australian romance that might have been, given the book's poignancy and power.
The value-premises upholding academic research have been maintained by what Lyotard considers to be quasi-mythological beliefs about human purpose, human reason, and human progress—large, background constructs he calls " metanarratives ". These metanarratives still remain in Western society but are now being undermined by rapid Informatization and the commercialization of the university and its functions. The shift of authority from the presence and intuition of knowers—from the good faith of reason to seek diverse knowledge integrated for human benefit or truth fidelity—to the automated database and the market had, in Lyotard's view, the power to unravel the very idea of "justification" or "legitimation" and, with it, the rationale for research altogether, especially in disciplines pertaining to human life, society, and meaning. We are now controlled not by binding extra-linguistic value paradigms defining notions of collective identity and ultimate purpose, but rather by our automatic responses to different species of "language games" (a concept Lyotard imports from J. L. Austin 's theory of speech acts ). In his vision of a solution to this "vertigo", Lyotard opposes the assumptions of universality , consensus, and generality that he identified within the thought of humanistic, Neo-Kantian philosophers like Jürgen Habermas , and proposes a continuation of experimentation and diversity to be assessed pragmatically in the context of language games rather than via appeal to a resurrected series of transcendentals and metaphysical unities.