Note to readers

This is a blog that I'm required to keep that's full of unedited, near stream-of-consciousness reactions to similarly required and related readings in a graduate course in N.C. State University's Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media program. The way these posts are written help me interrogate and understand what's going on in our readings. I'm identifying what's troublesome so that I can give it more thought, but the posts aren't written in a style that's productive for audiences outside of our class to read. That's by design. I start with contestation, then spend heavens only knows how long researching, recutting, and reevaluating so that I can try and see what potentially productive readings I can extract from these source for use in my own work's contributions back to the field. Comments encouraged, but please, you'll likely need a thick skin if your work is quoted here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

David Brooks, Foucaultian

Op-Ed Columnist - This Old House -

If, indeed, we are going to have a once-in-a-half-century infrastructure investment, it would be great if the program would build on today’s emerging patterns.
The season of prosperity gives way to the season of economic scarcity, and out of the winter of recession, new growth has room to emerge.

Highlighting mine.

Yes, constructing seems to be a be a better alternative than creating, though I'm not sure the Xianized bias behind the creation is quite as important as it once was.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Put your source online

I'm doing a couple of projects that involve associated application development (that is to say, crappy applications speedily hacked in VB6), and thought I'd share that code by putting it on  Here's my rationale, entered as part of the application.

The public description is pretty accurate. I'm putting this online to encourage those who read the research to review the code on which it's based, as well as to serve as a model for empirical rhetorical studies in the future -- the code must be as open and auditable as the textual composition.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Created, not produced

Academicians (and myself; for now I'll treat the two as separate groups) have a bad habit of using terms with capitalistic connotations.

Until such a specialist is created, studies like Herring et al’s and those that are like or cite it open themselves to being undermined...

Until such a specialist is produced, studies like Herring et al’s and those that are like or cite it open themselves to being undermined...

That is, unless you want to give support for Corporate U, in which case produced does invoke the right connotations. Don't worry, this doesn't make you evil, at least not by itself.

I also really really dislike when people use "emerge" as in "Darwin says life emerged from pools of primodal ooze," (nevermind if he didn't) when what they really mean is that, "The evil beast emerged from its lair to snack on Hrothgar's thanes." Very little in human culture "emerged" in some passive selective system. That's oxymoronic. Something's usually created or, more and more likely, produced. This includes your new fangled idea. It didn't emerge. You feed it and created a room for it to grow until it sprang from your forehead. Though it may appear to have seemingly sprung fully formed form the start, we know the metaphor here is less Athena and more kangaroo fetus. *ewww* That's right. There's no passive emergence in society, folk. Quit being lazy and pick the word you mean to use.

I blame misinterpretations of Foucault for all the trendy uses of "emergence", by the way. It's supposed to be a code word for saying, "I'm a humanities scholar!" but is said with all of the conviction of Yoda in Thumb Wars telling us he's a puppet (about 15:20 in). Irony.


Now playing: The Black Crowes - Remedy

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unapologetically tootin' my horn

Awl hell, I hate people who pimp themselves, but there's a time when it must be done. This time is often about 12:30am when you've wasted a weekend looking at the same daggum paper, editing it like mad but knowing that you haven't made it a whit better than when you started, with the argument your brain's envisioning hidden behind the cruft you've managed to slap down on the page.

So yeah, I've been cited dammit. F'n L, yeah. Sure, I'd gotten the same jive used in a course at Duke, but never cited. I will not be influenced by the fact that the citation is in a master's thesis -- it's a doctoral thesis. Hells yeah. And it's in French, dang it. Beat that.

Dans « Inviting Subversion: Metalepse and Tmesis in Rockstar Games' ÇJrand Theft Auto Series », Wm. Ruffin Bailey a observé comment le jeu pouvait être subverti par les joueurs à travers des modifications effectives du monde numérique. Les conceptetirsde Rockstar ont rendu assez aisée la tâche d'altérer le code des Grand Theft Auto, en autorisant le joueur à modifier l'apparence et même, parfois, le fonctionnement du monde numérique. En opérant sur le code, un joueur peut, par exemple, manipuler les « skins19 » (fournir à Clouaux personnages de nouveaux vêtements) ou créer ses propres modèles d'automobile, plus puissants ou plus résistants que ceux qui sont inclus dans le jeu.

Let's do a poor English translation:

In "Inviting Subversion: Metalepsis and Tmesis in Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto," some arsehole has observed how the game can have been subverted by the gamers who use modifications to change the [game's] digital world. The [parbleu, non?] Rockstar has made rather easy the task of altering the code of Grand Theft Auto, and authorized the gamer to modify the appearance and even, at times, the function of the digital world. By changing the code, a player can, for example, manipulate the skins (to furnish the protagonist new clothes) or create his own car models, more powerful or resistant than those which are included in the game [by default].

Even though he leaves out Hot Coffee, the sort of climax of the piece (hardy har har), it's close a dammed nuff. Sweet. Now I must channel that plus Mr. Daniels to complete this City Paper.