The question as a modality of reception
Having upheld, throughout an almost thirty-year course of inquiry, he irreducible privilege of the questioning attitude, having written that questioning (Fragen) was the piety (Frömmigkeit) of thought, Heidegger at least had to complicate this axiom. First by recalling that the piety should from the start have been understood as the docility of listening, thus making the question, before anything else, into a modality of reception, a trusting attention to what gives itself to be understood rather than—or prior to—the enterprising, inquisitorial activity of a request or inquest.
Jacques Derrida, “A Number of Yes,” 127
“It’s essentially doing what the private cable companies are attempting to do and throttle the internet based on usage habits,” said Lindsey M. Gay, a graduate student in English. Gay said the new policy has spawned fresh debates about the role of public institutions in ensuring access to the internet. “If the digital world is here to stay, how are we going to provide equitable access to that knowledge?”
My colleague Lindsey Gay talks to Inside Higher Ed in “Bandwidth Exceeded” about UT’s (proposed?) data usage policy, which heinously requires students to pay for wifi to visit any non-UT site.
Poststructuralist Luncheon Club
In ‘76, of course, Of Grammatology came out, and when Bryan came back he made us read it. It’s 1978 and we’re reading Of Grammatology together. We called ourselves the Poststructuralist Luncheon Club. … We met every Friday. There were four of us, and all of us published out of that experience. Our group which, lasted for about eight years, went on from Derrida and read other stuff. I saw right away the connection between deconstruction and sophistry. It isn’t exact, and of course you have to consider the historical distinctions. But it was like, Boom! … And I just couldn’t stop after that. Just couldn’t stop.
Sharon Crowley in Women’s Ways of Making It in Rhetoric and Composition, by Michelle Ballif, Diane Davis, and Roxanne Mountford, p. 224
It’s a mode of production through which something that feels like something throws itself together. An opening onto a something, it maps a thicket of connections between vague yet forceful and affecting elements (72).
Stewart, Kathleen. “Weak Theory in an Unfinished World.” Journal of Folklore Research 45.1 (2008): 71-82. (via rhetbit)
A thicket of connections.
Rhetoric/composition gets a mention in this underwhelming article, titled "In the Near Future, Only Very Wealthy Colleges Will Have English Departments" on the site but Advent of Digital Humanities Will Make English Departments Pointless | New Republic when shared on Tumblr. Hm.
Still: this is suddenly starting to sound like a familiar refrain.
What counts as language
Too much weight has been loaded on to questions and idioms of language in considering the doings of the great variety of animals and people alike. Especially for thinking about world making and intelligent intra-action among beings like dogs and donkeys, to ask if their cognitive, communicative skills do or do not qualify for the imprimatur of language is to fall into a dangerous trap. People always end up better at language than animals, no matter how latitudinarian the framework for thinking about the matter. The history of philosophy and of science is crisscrossed with lines drawn between Human and Animal on the basis of what counts as language.
Donna Haraway, in When Species Meet, p. 234
Rhetoric has the bigger tent, anyway.
Repeated blows to the reading ego
But no matter how witty or presumably witless one may be (the polarity always breaks down when the stupids arrive on the scene of reading), the battle of wits is a losing one, able to boast only provisional and recognizably pyrrhic victories. It is not long before it becomes evident that one has necessarily been outwitted (that is, outed as stupid) by the brazen betrayals of linguistic positing. Given the law of language’s outwitting nature, it is somewhat surprising that de Man maintains “the dull-witted reader” in its depreciated place, as if one could hope to sharpen one’s wits on subjective mastery, which language precisely disallows. One can only be dulled by repeated blows to the reading ego so that the sharpest become the dullest, the cutting edge the most blunt. Language smarts; the subject necessarily dulls.
From what I’ve been reading: “The Rhetoric of Testing” in Stupidity by Avital Ronell, p. 100