Books | Art | Critical Theory | Music | New York

The thought just popped into my head that my impulsive desire to buy book after book, to have them in my posession, without the ability or time or temperment to read them all, is a kind of capitalist-driven commodification of the worst kind. I like to imagine that owning and buying these books is a literary comfort, a high-minded form of participation in the materialist cycle which is uncriticizable--hey look at me, I spend my money on knowlege instead of big screen TVs. But it's still, I think, a form of materialism, however (thinly) disguised in intellectualism or academia or all those thing which are supposed to be exempt and pure. Beyond the fact that the the whole thing smacks of being a poseur, I dislike the way I'm possibly more interested in owning the things than reading them. The commodification of knowledge.

I'm working on a custom edition for an English textbook for a college writing course, and the instructors at this particular school want this, among other grandiose texts, inserted as a new introduction (emphases mine):

Since the late sixties and early seventies, writing as a process has emerged as the most recognized and most respected way to teach composition. Unfortunately, popularity frequently alters good intentions, so much so that process has in some cases become just another formula devoid of meaning and purpose. To the novice writer, prewriting, brainstorming, and the like can seem far removed from the finished product, the text. Furthermore, the revolutionary attack and eventual victory by process forces against the forces that focused on writing as finished product have, in some cases, entirely removed the text from consideration. The product vs. process wars have left the text itself undervalued and often neglected. Because the process revolution began as an antidote to the unimaginative, insipid, and downright awful texts produced by students all over the country, the current neglect of text, coupled with the development of process-as-rigid-formula pedagogy, constitutes serious breaks in the chain that links processes to texts.

"Who are these forces? Where do we sign up for the revolution? Where is the cafeteria?"

About me

  • Blake
  • Chicago, IL, United States

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