Category Archives: discussion

Berger Essay

Hi, all. The Berger citation we were talking about in class yesterday is:

John Berger, “Che Guevara Dead,” in Aperture Vol. 13, no. 4 (1968).

Unfortunately, the text doesn’t seem to be available in the library, but it could be requested via interlibrary loan, if you’re interested…

Sh*tty writing – it’s a cultural thing

I watched this video about different cultural styles of writing the other day, and though fairly ridiculous (scenes of brush painting were followed by those of a close-up of a hand writing in Arabic, all nicely accompanied by generic “exotic” music) it made me think twice about my all-too-common rants against the incomprehensible writing styles of the theorists we read.  How much of their styles can be attributed to different cultural conventions for writing, and how much of my own dissatisfaction – well, let’s be honest here, anger verging occasionally on hatred – is due to my training to write in a more direct and explicit “American” style?  And though I do still hold that there is something deeply hypocritically about critiquing the classed nature of taste or the hegemonic function of the traditional intellectual while writing in a way only accessible to those deeply entrenched in academia, I wonder what would be lost if all theorists were as straightforward as I wish I could demand them to be.

Just something that’s been rolling around the brain.  And, if anyone wants to watch Writing Across Borders and be carried away to a magical land where music involves a lot of reed pipes and writing is likened to entering a cultural jungle, I’ve got the hookup…

Chick flicks that secretely hate women.

I came across this website that was funny commentary about chick flicks and how the movies “hate” women.

Too hip to be hipster

Hey all –

We’re going to talk about this article (as a technophobe, I don’t know how to make words into links, so I’ll just post the link at the bottom) in our discussion today, but if anyone is messing around on the blog right now and wants to check it out, please do so!

Note to all closeted and/or publicly declared hipster members of our class: We apologize if this offends your sensibilities…you offend ours.  NO – gah – just kidding, just kidding…

Everyday life=Culture?

I must admit that reading Michel de Certeau was as much of a challenge as an enlightening experience for me. The more I read, the more I wanted to understand and decipher all the layers of theory inbedded in his book. It could also be that I was reading the book on the plane as I flew across the continent to Orlando, and struggled to stay awake. I think this experience both enhanced and inhibited my understanding of “The Practice of Everyday Life.” I decided to post a comment to help me in pulling together all these ideas, which I will soon summarize for future use.

Michele de Certeau begins by positioning his book in a “continuoung investigation of the ways in which users- commonly assumed to be passive and guided by established rules- operate” (p.xi)  This would be what anthropology refers to as culture. Yet, my questions would be how attainable is this contextualization in humanity as a whole? or can we ever distinguish between the passive/subconscious ways in which people operate versus the purposely and dinamic choices people make.

 Michel de Certeau explains that he is mainly concerned with the thoeretical model of construction of individual sentences with an established vocabulary, a study of linguistics and its structural aspects which promise to enable a positivistic analysis of culture. If this type of analysis is possible, then can it be applied to other time and place? It’s interesting that he qoutes Chomsky’s theory of Universal Grammar, yet Chomsky himself has made revisions to it, trying to avoid a strict positivistic approach to it.

One aspect de Certeau discusses which I found very interesting is the study of la perruque. I think this is some what of a cultural universal. The way in which the worker feels the justified need to outsmart the boss, perhaps because of his/her position of subordination to the latter. I was thinking of examples from my life when I have done this, like when I worked at McDonalds and would give free food to customers and friends (though it’s embarrising to admit it now). de Certeau analysis of the motivation for la perruque reminds me of Marx’s theory of the bourgeousie and the proliterian relations. Particularly in his analysis of consumerism, when he states “the only freedom supposed to be left to the masses is that of grazing on the ration of simlacra the system distributes to each indiviudal. That is precisely the idea I oppose: such an image of consumers is unacceptable” (p.166). In this he is describing a condition we are faced with now. We have gone from being referred nationally as citizens to consumers, as our key role in the nation. It’s interesting to see how even after a major national disaster as 9/11, president Bush announcement encouraged people to shop. de Certeau would be sadden and disgusted to see the way our society is now.

An amazing quote

I’m using Zero Comments by Geert Lovink as one of my sources for the paper. Thought I’d share this quote with you, it is the first paragraph of the Introduction: The Pride and Glory of Web 2.0

“Blogging is a form of vanity publishing: You can dress it up in fancy terms, call it ‘paradigm shifting’ or a ‘disruptive technology’, the truth is that blogs consist of senseless teenage waffle. Adopting the blogger lifestyle is the literary equivalent of attaching tinselly-sprinkles to the handlebars of your bicycle. In the world of blogging ‘0 Comments’ is an unambiguous statistic that means absolutely nobody cares. The awful truth about blogging is that there are far more people who write blogs than actually read blogs.”, The Personal Memoirs of Randi Mooney, posted on May 5, 2005, (14) comments.


Horkheimer and Adorno are driving me MAD!  It’s just unending unending unending – if you aren’t going to let me break out of the culture industry, at least give me a break in a paragraph!  RAWR.

Okay, this post is adding nothing to the discussion – I just – I just thought for a moment that I might explode if I didn’t say something…and the beauty of the blog is that even when you are trapped in your room with two essays by three long-dead theorists, you can at least pretend that you are reaching out to someone…Oh god, I think that may support what Horkheimer and Adorno are saying.  Oh, no.

What’s the Matter With Cultural Studies?

There’s an interesting article by Michael Bérubé in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “What’s the Matter With Cultural Studies?,” which explores the failures of cultural studies to have its intended impact on either the academy or the wider political world. It might give you a sense of where we’re headed this semester — less in Bérubé’s sense of the field’s failures, than in the sense of what it ought to be. It would be good for us to keep this in view this semester, and keep in mind how the future of cultural studies might help correct these failures.