For some reason...

I'm the #2 MSN search hit for "photos of man and women without their clothes together and sexing with each other." Gasp! I'm trying to picture the person who used this awkward syntax.

Validation!

I've gotten a couple of warm fuzzy emails from students. One said:

Thank you for your hard work teaching us the last couple of months. I really feel as though I have learned a lot about technical and professional writing.

Another said:

I learned a lot in this class in terms of technical writing. I don't like writing but now I tend to like it. I hope this will continue.

They may be ploys to get better grades, but I hope not. I did work very hard teaching this summer, and now I feel as though it was worth it.

Why I could never be a mother

Leigh Anne's July 29 post. I always read Leigh Anne's blog because I appreciate her wit and grace. She's the only one who could write in such a way about being simultaneously the owner of a store that sells sex toys and the mother of two toddlers. But the July 29 story is too much. Charlie, you've said I'll change my mind (I'm 28 years old, will be 29 in about six weeks), but when I think of myself as a parent, I picture Leigh Anne on July 29, but WITHOUT the wit and grace.

Edited to add: I love children--and I know parenting is difficult and of utmost importance. I hope I didn't come off sounding like I think otherwise. It's just that stories like the one I linked to scare me, which says more about me than anyone else.

Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) presentation

One week from today, I'll be at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. I want to take photographs and notes that will accompany a material rhetorical analysis of the festival that I've done for one of my classes. My professor said that for a more grounded analysis, I will need to attend the festival myself, which I had planned on doing anyway. It will be a much-needed vacation...I'm done with teaching, but I have to turn in grades by Wednesday, and I have lots of other stuff to do between now and the time I leave too. Here's an abstract of the paper:

Since the mid-1970s, women have been gathering every summer for the Michigan Womyn

Burritos and Blankets

I love burritos from Chipotle. I could eat them every day for lunch and dinner, and maybe breakfast too if they were to come out with a breakfast burrito. :-)

My friends are having babies faster than I can knit blankets and booties and stuff for them! Amanda, I'm working on something for little Milo now. I really hope you guys like it.

Cyborg Bill of Rights

Chris Hables Gray has published a Cyborg Bill of Rights. I see that it was last updated in 1997, so it might be played out by now, but I'm sorry; I have to weigh in on this. It's one of the most right-wing (in the libertarian sense) things I've ever read! The word "individual" appears in it 16 times; the individual is privileged above all other things. This flies in the face of Haraway's strong critique of Western individualism--her use of the cyborg as metaphor for the fact that nothing is really individual anymore. We're all amalgams, and the fact that I'm part machine and part human, thanks to my prosthetic hammer, anvil, and stirrup, contact lenses, etc. can be analogized to community. Western individualism, Haraway argues, has interfered with unity among people, community. It seems to me that this Bill of Rights, which invokes the individual so frequently and earnestly, shouldn't invoke the cyborg at all. Consider this quotation:

Freedom of Consciousness. The consciousness of the citizen shall be protected by the First, Fourth, and Eighth Amendments. Unreasonable search and seizure in this, the most sacred and private part of an individual citizen, shall be absolutely prohibited. Individuals shall retain all rights to modify their consciousness through psychopharmological, medical, genetic, spiritual and other practices in so far as they do not threaten the fundamental rights of other individuals and citizens and if they do so at their own risk and expense.

What are the implications of this for community? If I want to take 100 hits of acid, that's my individual prerogative, right? MY self, my modified consciousness. That would surely kill me and affect my community, but so what?

Sheesh.

Link courtesy of Dr. B.

State of Anhedonia

Ugh, I am so burned out right now. I should be gearing up for the fall semester, all bright-eyed and refreshed, but all the work I've been doing this summer has really sucked the life out of me. Maybe Michfest will rejuvenate me. The melancholy just hit me today; last night I saw Bend It Like Beckham and came away from it with all the euphoria you'd expect from a feel-good movie. Now, though...another story. :-(

Student Introduction Writing and Dialogic Discourse

I've found that more and more often, my first-year comp students are writing introductions to research papers in this manner:



MONROVIA, Liberia -- Dozens of civilians have been killed as fighting continues between rebels and Liberian government forces for control of the West African country's second-largest city of Buchanan.

Rebels seeking to oust President Charles Taylor turned back a counter-attack by forces loyal to the government Tuesday -- one day after they seized the strategical port city, about 70 miles [112 kilometers] southeast of Monrovia.

"There are bodies all over the place. Dozens of people have been killed," one Buchanan resident told Reuters by telephone. "The wounded are on the streets and there is no way to treat them."

Another resident said the dead were being carted away in wheelbarrows when it was safe to retrieve them, Reuters reported.

Why is there so much conflict in Liberia? In this paper, I will attempt to answer this question, going back to the founding of Liberia by the American Colonization Society in 1817 as a home for emancipated slaves. I will trace the historical events that led up to the current civil war and argue that white imperialism and colonialism led to a corrupt government...


Why is that? (See, I did it too.) I haven't read any Bakhtin on dialogic imagination or dialogic novel or whichever it is, but will do so this fall in my genre theory class. I wonder what he would say. Discourse, especially "academic discourse," whatever that is, has always been a conversation, to use the Burkean metaphor, but it hasn't been common in my experience to see it presented in such an outright way. I never know quite how to respond to introductions like these. On the one hand, that's how composition is, and where it's going, but shouldn't they be able to write an introduction without relying on this kind of "prompt"? Sometimes it's easy to rely too heavily on this model of introduction--and sometimes it's better to be able to summarize and paraphrase events and arguments.

(Oh, here's the link to the Liberia story if anyone wants to see it. Here's another one that I used for fact-checking.)

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