Unitization Reports

On a break from writing end-of-semester papers for CCR651
and GEO781, I thought I’d shock each of them into a list of noun and noun
phrases by applying the same methods we’ve strung together for CCC
Online. Et voila! The lists aren’t meaningful in quite the way a
sentence-long summary would be.  Yet that’s the point.  They’re
differently meaningful, suggestive.  Maybe even generative if I can trace
through some of the terminal knots tomorrow.

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I Will Not Know

Close to five this afternoon, I was waiting for a ride home from D., and I
had a few minutes to pass in my office. I’d already booted down the laptop
and stowed it in my backpack. I didn’t have the gusto to continue readings (for
next week already) from the two seminars I had today, and I was feeling somewhat
blaze after a full day on campus overflowing with six hours of intense
discussion. So I straightened up one of my office shelves and got to
leafing through a few odd journals casually handed off to me by a colleague last
year. There were five or six yellowed issues of Composition Studies
and JAC; I fixed on JAC 8 (1988), specifically David Foster’s
"What Are We Talking About
When We Talk About Composition?"
, which ends

As informed readers and deliberately inclusive thinkers, we
must be the measure of our discipline. Science cannot claim ascendancy in any
area of human knowledge, particularly in that complex blend of
knowledge-streams we call composition. We must be wary of those who,
uncomfortable with the ambiguities of discourse and complacent with the
quantitative, empirical perspective, would have us assume that perspective
alone. As informed readers, we must juggle and juxtapose the claims of
different modes of inquiry, recognizing what each contributes and what each
lacks. To ref use this invitation to an intellectual pluralism, to settle in
its place for a single perspective, is to invite the punishment we all hated
in grade school: having to write the same sentence one hundred times. In this
case, it would be “I will not know. I will not know. I will not know…"

Stimulating find, I thought, and then I started to wonder
whether what we are talking about when we talk about composition in 2006 is so
radically remade from what we were talking about when we talked about
composition in 1988. And then my ride was waiting.

Bibliometrics JACing

I got caught up reading the
Moretti Event
over at The Valve, but I still have a minute to post a few notes about something
I was thinking about earlier today.  I read the introduction to David
Smit’s The End of Composition Studies yesterday; there, he has this to
say about the ideological dissymmetry among compositionists, divergences
characteristic of the field at-large:

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Expected-value Navigation

Researchers at UMass-Amherst

announced
this week that they’ve derived an algorithm useful for explaining
the "six degrees" phenomenon in social networks (and related activity
systems) (via). 

The social network exploited by Travers and Milgram isn’t a
straightforward, evenly patterned web. For one thing, network topology is only
known locally—individuals starting with the letter did not know the target
individual—and the network is decentralized—it didn’t use a formal hub such as
the post office. If navigating such a network is to succeed—and tasks such as
searching peer-to-peer file sharing systems or the navigating the Web by
jumping from link to link do just that—there must be parts of the underlying
structure that successfully guide the search, argue Jensen and Şimşek.

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Barthes – Rhetoric of the Image (1964)

In the advertising image, nice bright colors–a net-sack of Panzani pasta and
assorted spaghettimakers including vegetables, fresh and plenty.
Though non-linear, many of the signs accord with a variety of "euphoric values,"
says Barthes: domestic preparation, freshness, an unpacking, the casual
market-knowledge of slow foods of a pre-mechanical pace (no need for
preservation, refrigeration). Also, in the coordination of colors and types,
Barthes suggests second meaning–Italianicity or a gathering of things
Italian, much of this "based on a familiarity with certain tourist stereotypes"
(34).  Each of these meanings match with distinctive kinds of knowledge.

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Lose and Lose and

Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) def. Detroit Lions (2-1), 30-13

But I didn’t watch much because, instead, I was piling word by carefully
chosen word through a summary of the last chapter from The Order of Things
for class tomorrow night. I’ll post it in the extended entry area since I
wouldn’t want to misrepresent this as aToo Orangey
academic blog exactly.  Not yet.  Plus, the summary is
terminologically hip-boots marshy; it gets by on borrowed terms, awkwardly
jumbled, squishy.  But it’ll do the trick, I think, and I was just so
Fouc-ing relieved to be at the end of The Order of Things that a bit of
disorderliness was due.  Seriously, though, I hope we will sort out whether
F.’s rhetoric as epistemic tags him as a sophist (au wisdom) or a skeptic
(au infinite regress)…or neither.  Both?

***

When I clicked on the slogan
generator
this morning, it brought up "Too Orangey For Braddock
Essays."  A’right!  However, I’d never heard the slogan. 
Found it gets play in this fun advertisement (mpg,
4.2mb
) for Kia-ora.  Is it orange soda?  

***

Eating baked potatoes for tonight’s meal when Andy
Rooney
came on the tube.  I haven’t watched 60 Minutes in a long
time, and tonight, having caught only the end, it was 5 Minutes
The guru crabster was carrying on about disingenuous efforts to mobilize the
votary public.  Get out and vote campaigns, he grumbled, are a crock; they
stir disinterested, uninformed dummies, rustle the lethargic from civic
slumber….  Like-always Rooney.  Pure crust.  But then he
said, 

I’d be willing to bet that it’s the dumbest people among us who are least
likely to vote too, and that’s fine with me. I don’t want anyone dumber than I
am voting.

[…]

If you’re a new citizen, wait another four years until you understand
English well enough to know what the candidates are talking about before you
vote.

Way to go, CBS.  How completely asinine does it have to be before you
relieve his crotchety-ness from making a total, hateful fool of himself? 
At once I felt a tinge of pity because he’s so confused and a wave of
shock because he spoke in such unapologetic and  irrevocable seriousness to hundreds of thousands of viewers saying, insomanywords, that non-English speakers, despite U.S. citizenship, ought to learn English before voting.  

*** 

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