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[Xmca-l] Re: Blokish struggles for power

Stop making sense.
p.s. Where can I go to see Andy Blunden in concert?

On Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 5:03 PM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>

> Just a push back on the idea of blokish struggle for power over particular
> words?   (Is there anybody out there having a power struggle over what
> blokish means?).
> There is I think another side to this, something that Vygotsky I think
> refers to which is that words have histories, and perhaps achieve a better
> understanding when we explore those words and their meanings in the context
> of their history.  This is important I think because really interesting
> words with rich meanings and histories tend to suffer what might be called
> a regression to the mean.  Somebody offers a simple, more visceral meaning
> and people pick up on that and then they forget the history.  A short
> anecdote on what I mean by visceral.  When I was in college the Talking
> Heads were at their height.  My friends would talk about how good the
> Talking Heads were and I would argue against them, being a fan of the
> Asbury Park/Jersey sound (Springsteen, Southside Johnny and the Asbury
> Jukes etc.).  Here was the thing, I never really listened to the Talking
> Heads except in the background at parties and had never seen them.  Why had
> I argued against them as a good band (late night dorm arguments) - well
> when I thought of Talking Heads I had this visceral picture of them as a
> bunch of heads on the stage mouthing New Wave lyrics.  It had little to do
> with who they really were as a band.  The ending of this little story is I
> finally was dragged to see David Byrne and the Talking Heads and to this
> day it is the greatest concert I've ever been to in my life (this includes
> multiple Springsteen and Dead concerts).
> So why this little story.  Because I worry that sometimes people hear
> words almost into the background and sometimes they get redefined based on
> almost visceral reactions to their texture.  People pick up on that and
> adopt it as part of their vocabulary without ever seeing them or going to
> see them in concert.  Much of the richness of the words are lost.  To give
> an example, I have been doing a lot of exploration of Ted Nelson's concept
> of hypertext.  What a rich, radical concept that is - really challenging to
> way we understand the world.  And yet it seems to me the way many people
> use the word is sort of as a regression to the mean, without recognizing
> its history, the ways it developed and the reasons behind its development.
> If somebody comes and says, "No, that's not what Nelson meant, you should
> see him in concert!" Does that represent a blokish struggle for power?
> It's a complex question, because of course there are always overt and
> covert hierarchies - and the people at the top of the hierarchy rarely
> recognize that they even exist.  But there is also a richness to our words
> that can be so easily lost.
> Happy Thanksgiving
> Michael
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
> on behalf of Bruce Robinson [brucerob1953@googlemail.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 5:45 PM
> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance [Language as a form]
> Henry,
> Your wife's question leads to another: who speaks for the silent
> majority, many of whom, like me, must be getting fed up with what David
> K calls a "rather blokish struggle for power over particular words'?
> [Not Richard Nixon :)]
> Bruce R
> PS: You may also note that I have not changed the subject heading of
> this message so that it bears no relation to the content. Something else
> I find irritating...
> On 26/11/2014 17:16, HENRY SHONERD wrote:
> > Sister Analisa,
> > Thank you for responding! I was just talking to my wife (getting
> personal!) about the chat. She asked me, “How does anyone get to
> participate in the (XMCA) chat if only a few people take part?” I wondered
> in my email below if too much was expected of written communication in the
> XMCA chat. With 800 people potentially taking turns, well…what is even
> possible logistically? Mike Cole has talked about this, and, I think, has
> some suggestions on how to deal with the bottlenecking. But even small
> scale communication can be daunting. I watched, with my wife, a Richard
> Linklater movie last night, “Before Midnight”. Two people, face to face, in
> a totally committed relationship, smart people, good people, trying so hard
> to get it right. Always a work in progress. But it’s worth it. The
> alternative is despair. I am sure of this: This chat, which seems to get
> bogged down in abstractions, pure thinking in the mud, is really
> consequential beyond the sensitivities of academics. I said we va
> >   lue Vygotsky’s “heroism”, but that’s too macho. I should have said
> courage.
> >
> > The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis is a powerful idea, often called
> the Whorf/Sapir hypothesis. Google it. Really. See what you think. One
> gauge of the power of an idea is if it has found its way into popular
> discourse. I just this morning heard an NPR radio program (thanks again to
> my wife, who was listening when she heard something she thought I would be
> interested in) that dealt with the Whorf/Sapir hypothesis in its strong and
> weak form.
> >
> > Henry
> >
> >> On Nov 25, 2014, at 10:11 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Dear Henry,
> >>
> >> Thank you for your reply.
> >>
> >> I don't think being personal (or even personable) requires being
> heated. Does this have to do with my comment of warmth as a sign of welcome?
> >>
> >> To speak about culture non-personally is not something I am adept at
> doing. We are always speaking from where we stand, the culture that we are
> in or from, what-have-you.
> >>
> >> Respectfully, I do not know what "linguistic relativity hypothesis" is.
> So please be patient with me while I connect this academic idea you have
> offered to this conversation so that I can relate that to my personal
> experience speaking on this thread, though clearly I'm not speaking
> literally right now, but it is speech from me, not a sock puppet with my
> voice thrown from the position of objective reality.
> >>
> >> You are talking about speaking two languages. But it seems we are all
> speaking English on this list. So I'm a bit lost right there what you are
> trying to say to me.
> >>
> >> Then, you speak of metalinguistics and how it represents different
> worldviews, if you don't mind me swapping your use of "perspective" for
> worldview. There is a lot of time clearing muckups to get it right. I'm not
> sure that it ever gets right though, which troubles me. I have found that
> many people who have different worldviews communicate by "talking to,"
> rather than "talking at." I feel, for example, you and I are talking to one
> another, despite our likely different POVs.
> >>
> >> I don't know what the "perish and dapple of Andy" means when you say
> that. From what I can tell he's trying to define something for himself
> asking for the help of others. That's fine and I'm learning that
> definitions are very bas-relief for him. I think my interests are a little
> different. So I'd prefer to orient to my interests, if that is OK.
> >>
> >> Speaking of metalinguistics, rather than debate over definitions, I'm
> more interested in speaking to the very different people who are on this
> list. The rumor is there are 800 folks out there. Where are you? :) To
> reference a highly academic quote from the Wizard of Oz:
> >>
> >> "Come out, come out wherever you are, and meet the young lady who fell
> from the star!"
> >> --Glinda, the Good Witch from the North (waves magic wand)
> >>
> >> I'm curious how others have been inspired by Vygotsky and sociocultural
> theory, and even other manifestations of his ideas, such as CHAT, etc and
> how people are using these approaches in their work. What is that like for
> you? And to be more specific, what is that like for women and people of
> color? I'm also interested in thinking-out-loud with others about
> Vygotskian concepts that are not easy to understand; to employ in real time
> dialogue and social interaction to leap over zopeds together. Isn't that
> what a listserv is for? Or am I being too idealistic?
> >>
> >> I have tried to speak in an open, easy, and immediate manner, to allow
> others to engage. But I fear that engagement is never going to happen
> because all that persists are conversations about definitions, or whether
> nothing can come from nothing, and voila! subsequent debates ensue. Or
> someone will say, "We already discussed this 20 years ago!" Which means I
> missed the party, I suppose. Unfortunately, if I disagree with a position
> because I interpret differently, then I'm told to go read something without
> really a clear explanation why I'm supposed to go read something.
> >>
> >> I don't really agree with the approach of "read this," as an academic
> argument. Anyone is free to use it, and I have myself, but because I know
> how obtuse that can be, I couch it with my reasons why I think it would be
> a good read for that person, and what I think there is learn from reading.
> I think the "read this" approach, when it is offered with the tone of "now
> go eat your vegetables!" fails in the making of speech between people. All
> it does is shut things down.
> >>
> >> If the reading truly is relevant, it seems far more productive in the
> moment of speech to cue a person what to look for, to supply a context,
> especially when referencing an entire book, for example, or the link to an
> entire website full of texts.
> >>
> >> Your assessment in the physicality of language is something with which
> I am completely in agreement. Especially since we all seem to agree with
> the material aspects of language. So the question at hand is a matter of
> form. Form has an aesthetic but also has a purpose. Are we throwing ropes
> or throwing boulders? If throwing boulders, where does that need to throw
> boulders come from? If throwing ropes, then at least connections are being
> made for those who might not be very clear about ideas and who may require
> a helping hand.
> >>
> >> Then there's the old, but handy, elliptical comment, something like a
> boomerang... meant to be subtle or ironic at the expense of someone who may
> not understand.
> >>
> >> At this point, I'd to emphasize that being ignorant is not being
> stupid, but it seems someone who is ignorant is frequently treated as
> stupid (um, on this list). This "phenomenon" has made me reflect upon how
> little time is spent upon the nature of ignorance in education and the
> dynamics of ignorance in speaking. Every one of us is ignorant about most
> things in the world. And yet being ignorant is seen as an embarrassment, a
> deficiency, a lapse in character. I vehemently disagree with this reception
> to ignorance. Even Einstein said something like, "The more I know, the more
> I see how much I don't know." Such an aggressive position toward ignorance
> is nothing but hurtful, even arrogant. Arrogance is a blister, a defense
> mechanism from previous hurt. A person who is honest about one's own
> ignorance is a very strong person and is showing a willingness to learn
> something. I think all teachers will agree that a person who knows one
> doesn't know is an easier student to teach than
> >    one who doesn't know one doesn't know.
> >> Iconicity is something I can hang my hat on. I see it is related to
> pointing. What I like about pointing is that it is a gesture, which implies
> movement, in the way the word is also movement. I hope I have made
> sufficient personal connections to your concepts without the heat. Thank
> you for offering them to me.
> >>
> >> Kind regards,
> >>
> >> Annalisa
> >>
> >

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602