Monday, March 28, 2005


There's a huge amount happening tomorrow so hold on to your hats. In-class presentations on two of my favorite essays in the world: Wilde's Soul of Man Under Socialism, and Solanas' SCUM Manifesto. Links available elsewhere on the blog, so scoop them up and read them. I suspect it will take more than one class to work our way through these pieces. The Hyptertext as Collage essay from DD will start us off. I have papers to hand back and discuss, plus we'll need to get back our bearings in general. Fun/intriguing stuff on the blog to play around with as well. There's lots to talk about, so see you bright and early.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

Howdy, all. Taura, I have you down for an in-class presentation Tuesday, but I cannot remember what you'll be talking about. Can you let us all know again, and possibly post a link to the text online? We'll also be talking about Wilde's Soul of Man Under Socialism, so be sure to look over that piece again before you arrive. We'll also discuss George P. Landow's essay, “Hypertext as Collage-Writing,” from The Digital Dialectic. I'm still missing one mid-term paper that needs to get handed in to me, preferably via e-mail asap. If you have questions, comments, recriminations, etc. you know how to reach me. Enjoy the last bits of the break, see you all soon.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Maybe when we return to class from break at the end of the month we can turn our attention briefly to issues of exponentially recursive dissemination and ponzi schemes and other assorted annoyances that propagate with special virulence on digital networks.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'll be teaching a couple of courses at SFAI next fall

So, you know, tell your friends, warn your friends, or what have you...

English Composition A: "Ranting, Raving, Writing"

This is a course in argumentative reading and writing, which means for me a course in expository writing and critical thinking. But the works we will be reading together are anything but exemplary argumentative texts. Our texts rant and rave, they are brimming with rage, dripping with corrosive humor, suffused with ecstasies. In ranting and raving arguments are pushed into a kind of crisis, and in them rhetoric becomes a kind of poetry.

What does it tell us about argument in general to observe it in extremis like this? How can we read transcendent texts critically, in ways that clarify their stakes without dismissing their force, and enable us to communicate intelligibly to others the reactions they inspire in us and the meanings we find in them?

Anonymous, “Fuck the South”
Plato, Symposium
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”
Fiodr Dostoievski, “Notes From the Underground”
Virginia Woolf, Orlando
Allen Ginsberg, Howl
William Burroughs, “Immortality”
Film, Network. Dir: Sidney Lumet
Valerie Solanas, The SCUM Manifesto
Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”
Gary Indiana, “Reproduction”
Diane Dimassa, Hothead Paisan
Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body
Cintra Wilson, “Statement of Intent”

Critical Theory A: "Critique, Subjection, Prostheses"

The potted description in the catalogue says that "[t]he Critical Theory sequence develops students¹ facility in understanding and assessing theoretical models such as psychoanalysis, historical and dialectical materialism, structuralism and semiotics which extend their understanding of the visual image, the written word, and cultural phenomena."

My reading list begins with the very basic post-Emersonian turn against Platonic philosophy (in Europe post-Nietzschean philosophies, in America pragmatisms) and so Richard Rorty's “Hope in Place of Knowledge” provides the broad situation, then we shift into ideologiekritik, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, into culture and ideology, Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying,” Roland Barthes, Mythologies, and then use Louis Althusser's, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” to take us from ideology into subjection. For subjection we read from Michel Foucault's, History of Sexuality, Part One, then Wendy Brown, “Wounded Attachments” and Judith Butler, “The Lesbian Phallus and the Morphological Imaginary,” turning then to Franz Fanon's, Black Skin, White Masks, and then read Gayatri Spivak's, “History.” There we turn into "prostheses," techocriticism and technopolitical discourses, Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Marshall McLuhan, “Understanding Media,” Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” sections of Hannah Arendt's magisterial, The Human Condition, and then conclude with Donna Haraway's, “Manifesto for Cyborgs.”

Monday, March 07, 2005

Progress Report

Howdy, all. I've just returned from New York where I gave a talk on Peer-to-Peer Network Culture to a conference of advocates for a Basic Income Guarantee. It was a great meeting, but I've spent a whole lot of time in airplanes (no games of Simon Says with the pilots, I'm happy to report) and am a bit wiped out. So, I'm sorry I haven't kept up with the blog very well, and I realize I have a few e-mails in my inbox to respond to. Never fear, I'll get around to everything.

For tomorrow, the crucial thing, of course, is that your papers are due. I'll get those graded and back to you, along with presentation papers you've handed in, when we all return from the Spring Break later in the month.

Also, be sure to read Oscar Wilde's wonderful, hilarious (in my opinion) rant "The Soul of Man Under Socialism," for which we'll have an in-class presentation, and also Florion Brody's "The Medium Is the Memory," from The Digital Dialectic anthology. Big day coming up, but a big break afterwards in which to recuperate. Reading over the blog from the last few days, things are looking pretty good -- keep up the conversation and I'll see you all tomorrow.