Over My Shoulder

It's a NotMeme from Rad Geek:

  1. Pick a quote of one or more paragraphs from something you’ve read, in print, over the course of the past week. (It should be something you’ve actually read, and not something that you’ve read a page of just in order to be able to post your favorite quote.)

  2. Avoid commentary above and beyond a couple sentences, more as context-setting or a sort of caption for the text than as a discussion.

  3. Quoting a passage doesn’t entail endorsement of what’s said in it. You may agree or you may not. Whether you do isn’t really the point of the exercise anyway.

Okay, you ready for this? It's from an article in JAC 25.2 titled "Postmodern Pluralism and the Retreat from Political Literacy," written by Donald Lazere.

Nearly three decades after [critical pedagogical ("decode" advertisements, the major media, etc.)] goals for English studies were formulated, while some segments of our profession have continued vigorously to pursue these goals (most prominently, advocates of critical pedagogy and, most recently, Rhetoricians for Peace), the general tendency has been to marginalize such goals, in composition courses and textbooks, our professional journals, conferences, scholarly books and research. In this article, I will try to trace the complex of developments in the profession that have converged toward this tendency, to analyze some of the excesses in these developments, and to advocate the re-affirmation of the earlier goals throughout the profession. In brief, these goals include the excessive or exclusive privileging of the production of students' personal writing (both expressive and argumentative) over analysis and criticism of public rhetoric; of non-academic over academic discourse; of "women's ways of knowing" over allegedly phallogocentric modes of cognition, reasoning, and discourse; of local and identity politics, communities, and cultures over cultural commonalities and unifying political causes. In spite of the unquestionable intrinsic value of all these diverse "literacy practices," some of their more doctrinaire advocates, whom I call "diverseologues," seem to me ingenuous in acting as though such practices in local communities either can operate outside the influence of national and international centers of power or can somehow counteract them, so that the latter are virtually ignored as a subject of critique and action. Thus, although most of the advocates of these theoretical lines consider themselves and their causes as politically liberal or progressive, their insistence on unlimited proliferation of localism and diversity -- coincident with an age of unprecedented concentration of economic ownership, political power, and social control by multinational corporations and the right wing in America -- has had profoundly conservative consequences in obstructing the kind of unified opposition that progressive constituencies need to counteract the right.