Do we have untapped potential here? Should ILx be more of an intellectual/critical book/record/etc. club? With pleasure comes responsibility? If so, can it really exist without *some* structure? Is democracy the way to go or should this place be a republic? Or do we really just want to primarily/exclusively make jokes, flirt, engage in wordplay, list our favorite bands/animals/each other, etc.? Given my real-life responsibilities, I certainly spend more time here doing the latter, as do most of us, and it is probably what draws me here (besides the, er, um, hivemind factor). And those of y'all who do the academic/criticism thing in real life, if not for a living, I can understand wanting to save serious work for off-board endeavors. Is there some way to compromise? Or is this just a silly utopian vision?
* Strangely, Kuhn's book is one of the few serious books I've ever read "for fun". While I maybe got what Kogan got from it (the book, not the thread), I think I was mostly just confused, perhaps because I read it for fun.
― gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 26 April 2003 03:57 (10 years ago) Permalink
― gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 26 April 2003 04:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sébastien Chikara (Sébastien Chikara), Saturday, 26 April 2003 04:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
― jel -- (jel), Saturday, 26 April 2003 09:33 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 26 April 2003 10:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
― the pinefox, Saturday, 26 April 2003 12:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Cozen (Cozen), Saturday, 26 April 2003 12:06 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 26 April 2003 12:22 (10 years ago) Permalink
I think what Kogan is asking is whether we can live up to (his? our?) higher expectations for the place. I think we're going to be silly no matter what. But can we nevertheless push ourselves more here? Can the Kuhn threads not be tiny outliers? For instance, I think that the serious critic-type people here are less interesting when they write on this board than when they write in print. But I think there's a good reason for that. Or, while there is lots of serious discussion, it's mostly off-the-cuff. Who goes and listens to something before they post about it? There could be more effort involved. But again, I'm not sure that's realistic. I for one don't have much time to do that.
― gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 26 April 2003 13:41 (10 years ago) Permalink
I keep toying with trying something in a bit more depth myself. As well as the usual problem of laziness, there's the cowardice of not wanting to see my writing on music, say, next to Sinkah and Kogan and Finney and the Nipper and many others who are out of my intellectual and literary class. But I have thought about writing a relatively lengthy thing about why I regard Al Green's 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart' so highly, trying to explain without focussing entirely on my favourite singer, talking about Mitchell and Jackson and some Hodges as much. I love reading this kind of thing when it's done well, but I'm not sure I can do it. Nor when I might get around to trying. And anyway, this will hardly do anything to advance the intellectual quality of ILX.
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 26 April 2003 14:42 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 26 April 2003 14:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
I am with Ned on being interested in reading the article you contemplate.
― gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 26 April 2003 15:01 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 26 April 2003 15:10 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Matt (Matt), Saturday, 26 April 2003 15:27 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Chris P (Chris P), Saturday, 26 April 2003 16:09 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 26 April 2003 16:28 (10 years ago) Permalink
The intellectual format of ILx is better than either Yale's or Smash Hits', but the achievement will depend on how far people are willing to take their adventure.
I despair of there ever being an interesting discussion of my ideas or of the ideas I'm interested in, but I don't notice anywhere other than ILx that would welcome such a discussion. In the commercial prints we're fundamentally forbidden to discuss each other's ideas.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Saturday, 26 April 2003 20:22 (10 years ago) Permalink
I like it when the writing *is* the ideas. (Cozen, How Do You Use ILM?)
― Cozen (Cozen), Saturday, 26 April 2003 20:27 (10 years ago) Permalink
i. to justify derrida by linking to my buffy piece in the village voice ii. to explain that i realised that the only way to *ensure* you understand wittgenstein's philosophical investigations is to read it to yrself in an emo phillips voice
― mark s (mark s), Saturday, 26 April 2003 20:37 (10 years ago) Permalink
as frank (and all ilx) knows, i have a pathological problem with favouring "tell" over "show" (and why see spot run when you can feel him fly?)
― mark s (mark s), Saturday, 26 April 2003 20:40 (10 years ago) Permalink
Well, as you'll have seen on the PoMo thread, it doesn't really stop me when I'm interested and feel I have something to say. On something like writing a substantial piece (i.e. more like an article than a post), I do wonder if people often offered the highest possible quality of music writing would be interested. But I guess if we decided that we would read nothing below the Sinkah-Kogan quality level, we'd not read much. And it may even be that I have thought more about Charles Hodges' organ playing, perhaps even Al Jackson's drumming, than anyone else here...
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 26 April 2003 21:34 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Momus (Momus), Saturday, 26 April 2003 22:23 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Sunday, 27 April 2003 05:03 (10 years ago) Permalink
The gags and the flirting and the kitten pics (and the gags about flirting kittens) would all be more fun and deeper and smarter if there were more sociocomicintellectual follow-through across the board.
I don't understood at all what is meant by the follow-through specified.
― gabbneb (gabbneb), Sunday, 27 April 2003 05:16 (10 years ago) Permalink
― gabbneb (gabbneb), Sunday, 27 April 2003 05:20 (10 years ago) Permalink
B: if i wz showing someone round london, i might tell them to look at an A-Z in order to meet up w. me: but if after three days w. me showing them fabby obscure corners and sights, i discovered they'd gone back home and raved only abt the A-Z, i wd think: i. i wz (possibly) a dull guideii. they were (possibly) a dull pupil
(but in fact the story of the woman who invented the A-Z is interesting in itself, another london story, and maybe that spoke to them so strongly that everything i cared abt just paled)
C: The toughest, biggest thing Kogan ever said to me (in terms of how i think abt stuff), years ago, when I wz editor of Wire (92-94) and wanted him to write for it, and he wz the exciting mysterious scary hermit-legend of the US zine-scene, and I sent him some copies and asked him what he thought — he wrote back to say that so much of the writing was "frightened"... well, that wz harsh, but it wz totally true too. Helpful? If you keep the thing you love and trust hidden safely away, so that only YOU get to cherish it, you stunt and betray and wrong it.
― mark s (mark s), Sunday, 27 April 2003 11:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
that sent a chill up my spine.
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 27 April 2003 12:51 (10 years ago) Permalink
(which way up r u?)
― mark s (mark s), Sunday, 27 April 2003 13:03 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 27 April 2003 14:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
ben doesn't frighten me as much as julian cowley.
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 27 April 2003 14:40 (10 years ago) Permalink
I have no clue, since I only started reading it when I started noticing it in the megachainstore magazine racks, which was '97. (Though I do remember seeing it in the magazine section of the Garden City, NY Tower Records back around '88, '89.)
― Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 27 April 2003 15:33 (10 years ago) Permalink
As in: if you really believe yr aesthetic soundworld to be the only true blah blah, why are you so unwilling seriously to test it for weaknesses?
― mark s (mark s), Sunday, 27 April 2003 15:59 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Cozen (Cozen), Sunday, 27 April 2003 16:01 (10 years ago) Permalink
An on-off conversation I've been having w.Jerry the Nipper might be pertinent though: I wz always (and still am) very "have fun starting arguments", but he points out — I think correctly — that the results of such an approach, if delivered clumsily, can actually lead to forums which are a nasty backbiting mess (one of Wire's 70s predecessors, Musics, which probably few recall, became an endless nasty fight, abt ideology and the nature of radicalism in music => that's to say, robust pub discussions can turn into unpleasant pub brawls, and it's actually not very surprising that stressed and overworked magazine editors simply snip out the stuff which will cause their phones to ring off the hook when the issue comes out. ie writers start arguments which have pain-in-the-ass consequences for the production staff when the writer is happy and far away and free to change his mind)
This last isn't how I approached being an editor, but i always took it as read that the magazine was about to be shut down anyway, so let's go out with a bang. It wasn't shut down, but the publisher got rid of me in order to save it.
― mark s (mark s), Sunday, 27 April 2003 16:15 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Cozen (Cozen), Sunday, 27 April 2003 16:31 (10 years ago) Permalink
The original set of Wires that Mark sent was from before he was ed. (I think.)
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Sunday, 27 April 2003 23:55 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Monday, 28 April 2003 00:38 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Millar (Millar), Monday, 28 April 2003 00:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
this is not necc. a criticism, btw.
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 28 April 2003 00:56 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Monday, 28 April 2003 01:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Millar (Millar), Monday, 28 April 2003 01:07 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Monday, 28 April 2003 01:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
There are things I just don't get about this thread. "I don't think Meltzer's approach has gotten music listeners anywhere near as far as Marcus' or Christgau's methods." I don't understand why someone would write such a sentence and then not say what he thinks Marcus's or Christgau's methods are, how they differ from Meltzer's, and why they're better. Are we supposed to guess? I'll concede that the statement has some intellectual value: as a display of hairstyle or gang affiliation. I'm not against such displays, but you have to take them somewhere, otherwise there's no reason for anyone else to give a fuck. Where have Marcus and Christgau gotten you? What's it like to be a Marcus/Christgau man? What does it do for you, what does it demand of you? When you're a Marcus man, are you a Marcus man all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dying day?
If we take my hallway-classroom schema (in the hallway you talk to and about each other but aren't allowed to get all intellectual and analytic; in the classroom you talk about the subject matter but aren't allowed to let on that you're talking to and about each other; the hallway and the classroom are mutually impoverishing in this way, which is why I want to knock down the barrier between them), ILx does the hallway a lot better than it does the classroom; which is to say that its deepest and best thought is in acting out and experimenting with social relations rather than in describing and analyzing them. But ILx would do a better job yet at acting out social relations - working out who you are, working out who we are - if the people here would actually ponder their hairstyles, their gags, their posturing and penis waving and flirting. I don't mind at all that people will preen and strut and decorate themselves with words such as "Bangs" and "Deleuze"; what frustrates the hell out of me is when they leave it at that, act as if the import of those great symbols "Bangs" and "Deleuze" were a given, with no interesting thought about what wearing those buzz words in your hair commits you to. So there's no surprise, no free lunch, no one changes, no one rides "Deleuze" and "Bangs" into the unexpected.
Sorry, I don't have time to elaborate right now. My experience is that threads that contain the words "Bangs" or "Deleuze" have been vacuous, but I haven't done a word search to test this thoroughly. I didn't want "Kuhn" to become just another buzz word. But the thread never grew wings. Don't know why, since the ideas are in there, even for people who haven't read Kuhn, and his concept of incommensurability and his contrast between Aristotelian motion and Newtonian motion do what most modern intellectualizing only pretends to do: demonstrate radical difference.
Tracer, I think that ILx does a good job of demonstrating how to break down the hallway-classroom barrier without falling into destructive social conflict while doing so, but it would have done so even if there'd been no Frank Kogan.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 28 April 2003 02:04 (10 years ago) Permalink
A weakness of the Christgau piece I linked to above is that Christgau lauds "impolite discourse" but he doesn't say what's good about it, especially given that there are good reasons to oppose such a discourse. Here's a quote from John Dewey, who was in philosophical opposition to the "spectator theory of knowledge" but who himself always wrote like a spectator:
"I am inclined to believe that the heart of and final guarantee of democracy is in free gatherings of neighbors on the street corner to discuss back and forth what is read in uncensored news of the day, and in gatherings of friends in the living rooms of houses and apartments to converse freely with one another. Intolerance, abuse, calling of names because of differences of opinion about religion or politics or business, as well as because of differences of race, color, wealth, or degree of culture are treason to the democratic way of life.... Merely legal guarantees of the civil liberties of free belief, free expression, free assembly are of little avail if in daily life freedom of communication, the give and take of ideas, facts, experiences, is choked by mutual suspicion, by abuse, by fear and hatred."
Now, I find that passage to be choking in contradictions, and I think that the decent academic prose that Dewey epitomizes is itself a kind of deadness and bigotry - well, not the prose itself, but the insistence in Universities and in Journalism that (to some extent) everyone write like that. But there are reasons to try to make everyone write the same, just as there are reasons to make people wear school uniforms and follow dress codes. Sure, uniforms suppress diversity and personality, but in doing so don't they also suppress social conflict and violence? This isn't a rhetorical question either: I don't know if uniformity suppresses conflict and violence, but even if it did I'd be against it. But maybe the consequences of genuine freedom are that people get hurt. Anyway, I grew up in a college town: the pretence was that it was an intellectual utopia, the reality was that whole categories of people (call 'em rocks, hoods, greasers, beer freaks, grits, burnouts, dirtbags, stoners) got their esteem smashed in that nice town, in nice language, as did individuals, as did the people that the hoods et al. scapegoated in retaliation, so my discovering Meltzer at age 15 in 1969 was a return of the repressed for me: he was an intellectual who was actually speaking the social war that everyone was living through, not hiding it behind politics but just ripping. Abuse was in his words, but the abuse was in the world anyway. But...
Now, I don't consider that passage itself world-shatteringly new in its ideas, but I do take the ideas somewhere that I don't think anyone else has: My classroom-hallway metaphor is basically what Dewey called the theory-practice split, but my metaphor explains what Dewey's formulation can't: why the split maintains itself. It also explains why Meltzer and Kogan aren't courted by academia, why rock critics have to engage in a running battle with their bosses to be allowed to use the first person, why my hallway-classroom piece seems to be unpublishable in the commercial press (it's both too intellectual and too self-involved), etc. Again, no time to elaborate, but if these ideas have been discussed anywhere, I don't know about it, and I don't see what's so difficult about them.
An example of Meltzer's nastiness, should you not be familiar with it: "It would take more than a crowbar to separate me from my wasps, which there were lots of at Woodstock: mud daubers, green pelicrees, whole hordes of 'em! What pried me away from the bugs was a human worse than six scumbags full of arsenic named Bert Sommer."
And here's the hallway-classroom split as I explained it in my Xgau tribute essay:
To explain this [rock-critic] behavior, and the bafflement it causes, I use "school" as my metaphor for the psyche, and I say that school tries to enforce a split between classroom and hallway. The split tells us that to be intellectual we have to live in the classroom and to obey the classroom rule, which is to talk not to and about other people but just about some third thing, "the subject matter." It says that to talk to and about each other, as we do in the hallway, isn't to think but to merely live our lives. And so - the split claims - either we can use our intellect or we can live our lives, but we can't do both at once. And living our lives (as the hallway narrowly construes this) becomes "visceral" by default, since our lives have been ejected from the "intellect." And the hallway's vengeance on the classroom is to say, "You may be smart, but I'm real, and you're not." But this is an impoverished realness, since it expels anything that the classroom defines as "mental," and forbids our putting something off at a distance and reflecting on it.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 28 April 2003 03:11 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 28 April 2003 03:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
A) Expansively, explode it, find where its incomplete, suggestive, makes something else work, explains something else happening -- i.e. apply it.
B) Intensively, pick it apart, find where it doesn't work -- i.e. disagree with it.
And when I look at yr. hallway/classroom ideas (& others too!) often I think I don't know what to do because intuitively yes they feel right (so B is often out) [and when they don't, disagreement often isn't the type of discussion yr. looking for becuz its mainly the wrong sort], and at the same time I don't know where to apply them or expand them, or what needs to be filled in or suggests something to me. So they're just... there.
Of course I feel a kinship at the same time coz I think that some of what I want to talk about meets a similarly baffled response, with the addition of a level of incomprehension that stems from my incapacity to put the ideas in accessible terms. But actually the hallway/classroom divide thing plays into my incomplete pop philosophy project at In Review which I need to get back to work on once I get a handle on Bakhtin's two trends of novels detailed in "Dialogism in the Novel".
My intuition would partially be that the hallway isn't such because it construes itself as "real" or "authentic" but because it insists on the immanence of its meaning which is no crime in itself, but demands an immanent intellectualism -- one which the classroom is unable to provide and must come from elsewhere.
i.e. the hallway demands meaning must be tangible -- directly embedded in flirting, fighting, etc. because the classroom can't address those things. but the hallway doesn't reject addressing them so much as it doesn't know how to. the classroom doesn't teach it -- but there are embodied levels of understanding, embodied metadiscourses. The obstacle I'd argue isn't an active hostility to holding something off and reflecting on it but in its view of itself as trivial, the conception that it shares with the classroom that it isn't real "subject matter".
That's where the real question lies: why doesn't the hallway take itself seriously? partial stabs:
A) because these days the hallway isn't unto itself, but sold through EMI, BMG, etc. its taken and sold back to itself, and the mistrust stems from there -- it doesn't claim "authenticity" against the classroom, but against the very way in which it talks to itself.
B) for those who the hallway IS unto itself this is only coz the classroom is completely out of reach, and thus there's nowhere to step-back *to*.
[Okay I think I just discovered a third way to talk about ideas -- to reword them in terms mildly more familiar to yrself without adding anything productive, which is what I p433r I've done here]
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 28 April 2003 04:38 (10 years ago) Permalink
The Dewey quote is really interesting. It reflects some arguments I've had over the past few years with civic activists and public policy wonks about effective-vs.-ineffective means of public discourse. I'm usually the devil's advocate for a coarsening and broadening of the discourse, allowing and encouraging candor at the expense of politeness, and redefining "respect" to mean the willingness to listen carefully to what other voices and respond to them with equal honesty (i.e. if someone calls you a motherfucker, don't spend a lot of time lecturing them on not calling you a motherfucker, just say, OK, maybe you think I'm a motherfucker, but WHY exactly?).
Which is part of what this classroom/hallway split gets at -- how can you have an honest democracy with that kind of strict division? Answer: you can't. Matters of "serious" concern (i.e. matters of power and history and economics and art and science) are taken out of the street and sealed up in places where their discussion and direction can be controlled as much as possible by some hierarchical institution. At the same time, they are rendered in terms almost calculated to alienate and distance a sizable proportion of the population -- who are then left to make their mark in the hierarchies of the hallway, but even that's no escape from institutional control, which quickly separates them into Troublemakers, Cannon Fodder, Linemen, Foremen, etc. Meanwhile, the people who thrive and succeed inside the classroom almost inevitably buy into the same division and accept it as a necessary foundation of their own success. Anything that threatens that separation also threatens the hierarchy that gives them standing. I know that's a hugely simplified model, but it also sounds a lot like my suburban high school. Or like the suburb itself, actually.
So anyway, if that split is an artificial one -- which is probably the first question to answer, is it artificial (structurally imposed) or the product of some human tendency toward intellectual/social/physical compartmentalization being taken advantage of by people who have learned how to work "the system" -- then what are the options for reconciling it?
I think the Internet provides some interesting possibilities along those lines. It serves some of the same functions of the traditional "third places," the bars and cafes and so forth where people can be a.) together, b.) in the world and c.) in contemplation of the world all at the same time. The 'net and its gazillion self-organizing communities sacrifice the literal "togetherness," and that's no small sacrifice, but there are a lot of compensations. But of course, even at that you have to traipse pretty far and wide before you stumble on someone talking about this kind of stuff. Which raises the possibility that what looks like a new world is just the old one retranslating itself, and that we're still in the classroom trying to figure out how to get out. In a self-selecting high school, you'd still have some kids in the classroom and some in the hallways, everyone gravitating toward their interests and strengths and away from fears and insecurities. If you don't want people clustered on one side or another, you pretty much have to take the Roger Waters approach -- Mr. Kogan, tear down this wall!
Which is, whoo boy, a tall tall order.
― JesseFox (JesseFox), Monday, 28 April 2003 05:28 (10 years ago) Permalink
To get to the other side.
― JesseFox (JesseFox), Monday, 28 April 2003 05:37 (10 years ago) Permalink
I find myself increasingly less likely to write 'at length' on ilx, for it all seems to pass by so quickly. If I want to write 'at length' I'll probably do it somewhere else. That doesn't mean I don't admire the people who do write at length on ilx.
I wonder whether 'long vs short' is relevant to the discussion. 'Long = classroom', 'short = hallway': is that true or not?
― the pinefox, Monday, 28 April 2003 07:59 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 28 April 2003 17:27 (10 years ago) Permalink
(i.e. why does fighting/flirting etc. need to be re-povrished & for that matter why is the classroom worse off without 'em?)
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 28 April 2003 23:03 (10 years ago) Permalink
I take it that this is what gabbneb had in mind in referring to Koganism. It's good advice, but I don't think of it as calling for ILx to do something different, just to do it better.
It would be onerous to have to explain everything to everybody all the time, and it would diminish this board and make it stupider and less fun if we never allowed ourselves snap judgments and flippant comments. But the big-I "Intellectual" discussions here tend to founder on inarticulateness, on a failure to communicate and a failure even to recognize when one's words aren't communicating. Alluding to ideas becomes a substitute for having them. E.g., "It's ironic that you're using the methodology of rationality (skepticism) to undermine its real value, which is its ability to provide good, sound, corroborated explanations for natural phenomena. Your rationality (like that of the Intelligent Design people Crews talks about, or deconstructionists like Jacques Derrida) undermines itself quite quickly, leaving us at the mercy of Billy Graham and the X Files, with nothing to refute them." The guy who wrote that passage didn't realize that he was failing to put forth ideas in a way that someone could catch.
And I think gabbneb and Mark are dead-on accurate as to what the issues are: To not state the ideas is to capitulate to fear, to capitulate to the feeling that you have no right to those ideas, no right to possess them and no right to create your own out of them. It's the ILx equivalent of not leaving one's cage. It's like grabbing the words "Deleuze" and "Derrida" and "postmodernism" and "rockism" etc. as if they're the deeds to valuable farmland, but then not taking possession of the farm and not trying to make anything grow. Whatever the long-run value of my concepts and metaphors - "PBS," "free lunch," "hallway-classroom," "Superwords" - they have the advantage for me that I made them up myself and therefore, if I don't use them in interesting ways, they're just not going to matter. I can't simply affix them to my banner and expect that they'll fight my battles for me.
Putting aside its nastiness, the brilliance of the Meltzer quote is how he reverses the order of importance: the value of Woodstock is its putting you in proximity to the bugs on the ground rather than the stars on the stage - in fact, it's the stars who drive you from the scene and hence from the bugs.
But it's a fundamental weakness of Meltzer, and of the whole chain of thought running from Ring Lardner, Otis Ferguson, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, Bob Dylan, Richard Meltzer, Lester Bangs, Frank Kogan, Chuck Eddy, Mark Sinker, [insert your name here], that we haven't adequately put into words what's so wrong with the main stage of culture, what goes wrong with an activity when it takes that stage. The first seven issues of Why Music Sucks were frequently about what went wrong with rock when it took the main stage (and the next six had bits about what went wrong in high school to set the stage). But our basic fear is that in putting it into words, we'll come up with the same dull analytic prose that reminds us too much of everything we hate about capital-C Culture, and even our proximity to bugs and kitten pics won't save us. But if we're not willing to risk dullness, we're lost.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 19:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 20:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
"I do have some issues with telly tuned scholarship as i said, because I've seen dull unremarkable thinking making itself feel good by writing about all sorts of stuff (but then you know my feelings bout most beckett scholarship) and I say consider the source. What I waanted to mention was that R's writing partner S had a great idea and started a message board for his students (I think for a class on telly, media etc). R tried it for one of her general survey courses on film, and said that the kids were a fair bit more emboldened and engaged than they'd been in class, I just thought i'd mention that as an interesting pointer or trend, yeah?"
So message boards get the best of classroom and hallway => ILX is the best of all possible worlds! Hurrah!
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 20:10 (10 years ago) Permalink
Don't have time to think much longer on this today, though. Jesse and Sterling, continue on with your ideas, explore further the questions you're posing. Simon Frith blames the split for the fact that sociology, English, and cultural studies have a dreadfully hard time making sense of social practice: value judgments are the essence of social practice, but you're only officially allowed to make them in the hallway (letter grades would be an exception here, I'd think), so you're only allowed to engage in the behavior you're studying when you're not studying it.
Way of applying the split: take some behavior and ask yourself whether the split helps to structure that behavior, and if so, how. E.g., I think a lot of post-yaddayadda discourse amounts to asking the teacher for permission to conduct hallway discourse inside the classroom (rather than simply defying the split and doing it).
Some people do well in both classroom and hallway (preps), some do well only in the hallway (burnouts, skaters), many do poorly in both places, but I'm assuming that the split is one that confronts everybody.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 20:21 (10 years ago) Permalink
i. abt 18 months ago, after chat on ilx abt the lord of the rings movie, i decided i wanted to write something abt tolkien => jerry the nipper wz interested in maybe running it in his occasional publication papercuts, and so wz my pal dr vick (who among other things = contrib ed of an academic journal abt children's literature)ii. so i set to => and after a while had a vast big sprawling piece of 24,000-odd words... i'd missed jerry's deadline, and somewhat busted vick's max wordlength (3,000 wds) (heh) iii. but the point had always been that i cd cut a section out of it (or more than one) and publish a bit here, a bit there, then maybe turn the whole thing after a while into a book project (i mean, i've only got one unfinished book on my hands currently, and four pending) iv. so anyway vick proposed some obvious cuts — heidegger haha — and i said i'd slash and burn, then give to her so she could help me focus on what her mag wd like to runv. now dr vick = bonebreaking amazon space-pirate in real life, and cares not who she crosses (inc.me) => so when she found herself chuckling at my slash-and-burn long notes towards a short essay, on the train to see the other editors of the kidlit mag, she couldn't help telling them, and they said "let's see" and she said "oh ok" vi. so they read it and came back with non-plussed and alarmed comments (my favourite = "you said this guy wz a journalist! this is the most unjournalistic piece i've ever read!"), basically abt how it wz a big pile of notes and not really an essay they could follow, and maybe six essays could be mined out of it, and OH NO!! ITV WASN'T WHAT WE WERE EXPECTING!! OH NO!! vii. so i spent most of today trying to write a précis of tolkien's 1938 essay "on fairystories" bcz this is what they decided they wd maybe likeviii. i hate doing précises [sp.] bcz they always end up longer than the original w.me filling in all the missing stuff i think the author must have meant to say ix. bah!x. the journal are right in a way, and i am being a complete prima donna twat, but IT IS VERY HARD TRANSLATING WHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT INTO THIS LANGUAGE viz it has already cost me, in order to publish a 3,000 wd piece in a mag which pays zip, the intellectual labour of an actual real short book w/o in fact in any way producing an actual real book
the moral: i wish i wz n!ck h0rnby hence this = why i hate him so
― mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 20:59 (10 years ago) Permalink
Man who lives in a world of hazards is compelled to seek for security. He has sought to attain it in two ways. One of them began with an attempt to propitiate the powers which environ him and determine his destiny. It expressed itself in supplication, sacrifice, ceremonial rite and magical cult. In time these crude methods were largely displaced. The sacrifice of a contrite heart was esteemed more pleasing than that of bulls and oxen; the inner attitude of reverence and devotion more desirable than external ceremonies. If man could not conquer destiny he could willingly ally itself with it; putting his will, even in sore affliction, on the side of the powers which dispense fortune, he could escape defeat and might triumph in the midst of destruction.
The other course is to invent arts and by their means turn the powers of nature to account; man constructs a fortress out of the very conditions and fortunes which threaten him. He builds shelters, weaves garments, makes flame his friend instead of his enemy, and grows into the complicated arts of associated living. This is the method of changing the world through action, as the other is the method of changing the self in emotion and idea. It is a commentary on the slight control man has obtained over himself by means of control over nature, that the method of action has been felt to manifest dangerous pride, even defiance of the powers which be....
The depreciation of action, of doing and making, has been cultivated by philosophers. But while philosophers have perpetuated the derogation by formulating and justifying it, they did not originate it. They glorified their own office without doubt in placing theory so much above practice. But independently of their attitude, many things conspired to the same effect. Work has been onerous, toilsome, associated with a primeval curse. It has been done under compulsion and the pressure of necessity, while intellectual activity is associated with leisure. On account of the unpleasantness of practical activity, as much of it as possible has been put upon slaves and serfs. Thus the social dishonor in which this class was held was extended to the work they do. There is also the age-long association of knowing and thinking with immaterial and spiritual principles, and of the arts, of all practical activity in doing and making, with matter. For work is done with the body, by means of mechanical appliances and is directed upon material things. The disrepute which has attended the thought of material things in comparison with immaterial thought has been transferred with everything associated with practice....
Practical activity deals with individualized and unique situations which are never exactly duplicable and about which, accordingly, no complete assurance is possible. All activity, moreover, involves change. The intellect, however, according to traditional doctrine, may grasp universal Being, and Being which is universal is fixed and immutable....
The burden of proverbs and wise saws is that the best laid plans of men as mice gang agley. Fortune rather than our own intent and act determines eventual success and failure. The pathos of the unfulfilled expectation, the tragedy of the defeated purpose and ideals, the catastrophes of accident, are the commonplaces of all comment on the human scene. We survey conditions, make the wisest choice we can; we act, and we must trust the rest to fate, fortune or providence....
Hence men have longed to find a realm in which there is an activity which is not overt and has no external consequences. "Safety first" has played a large role in effecting a preference for knowing over doing and making. With those to whom the process of pure thinking is congenial and who have the leisure and aptitude to pursue their preference, the happiness attending knowing is unalloyed; it is not entangled in risks which over action cannot escape.
Didn't have time to proof this. Dewey is in effect making up an anthropology to explain how the split arose. But he doesn't buy into it, doesn't buy into the idea that "theoretical" knowledge is true knowledge and "practical" knowledge not so true. Anyway, my classroom-hallway metaphor plays a different game, in that the risk in the hallway is social risk, and it's the social risk that the classroom tries to minimize, and social skills that it denigrates. So it values description over behavior. As does journalism. So doing something to see what will happen (experiment, as it were), is not rewarded in journalism. And I find journalism, therefore, profoundly anti-intellectual; and the counter-trend (living your life on the page, experimenting, seeing what will happen) is misunderstood as "personal journalism" or "going wild."
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 21:03 (10 years ago) Permalink
But it's true that a good, thoughtful discussion needn't be based on a particular book or thinker.
Also, though this may not apply to the rest of you: I usually spend time here when I am at work, or while I'm waiting for a laundry cycle to end, or while I'm too tired to do much of anything else. When I have the time and the energy, I am more likely to try to catch up on my reading, or go out dancing, or something of that sort. And when I do find myself reading and posting at other times, I sometimes feel that my use of ILX has gotten out of hand.
― Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 29 April 2003 21:09 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 29 April 2003 21:10 (10 years ago) Permalink
― GWZeieKkQw, Monday, 6 February 2006 03:04 (7 years ago) Permalink
― j blount (papa la bas), Monday, 6 February 2006 03:23 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Dom Passantino, Saturday, 2 February 2008 22:28 (5 years ago) Permalink
you've been zinged by a smooth criminal
― That one guy that hit it and quit it, Sunday, 3 February 2008 00:06 (5 years ago) Permalink