1.02.2008

Becoming 2008

I had thought about doing a list of things that distinguished 2007 for me: Top albums, books, movies, etc. However, I have been reading too much Deleuze and criticism on Deleuze, so I figured Top-whatever lists were pretty segmentary. As an alternative in a more becoming sort of way, here is what is rattling around with those things now:

Let's jump right to music: After 15 years of listening to Rage Against the Machine's eponymous first album, I finally used a Best Buy gift card to buy it (oh, the irony!). Fascinating how it is only recently that I have had the need to buy it because of its ubiquity. Along with this, I picked up Patti Smith's Twelve, a cover of twelve classic rock hits from the Beatles to Nirvana. It's a bit heavy on sixties rock, covering "Within You and Without You," the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," the Doors' "Soul Kitchen," Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" and Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?" These are all excellent remakes, as is her cover of Dylan's "Changing of the Guards" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The one I could do without, though was the remake of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." On top of that, I checked out Kings of Leon's recent album, "Because of the Times." They are new to me, but I like their grit and sound.

Right now, I am re-reading Into the Wild since i assigned it for my Expository Writing course. I like the different ways Krakauer builds a case out of his research. It is an excellent model, I think for students in that it blends his researched data into a definite perspective, using multiple rhetorical appeals and strategies. While the weakest in terms of logic might be his own personal relation between him, his father, and his experience climbing Devil's Thumb, it is nonetheless HUGELY engrossing and persuasive. Here at the office, I am also skimming William Germano's From Dissertation to Book, which I highly recommend to anyone undergoing this process. He's more readable than the authors in The Thesis and the Book and for that, I appreciate his candor and style. Oh, and Deleuze? Criticism, mostly: Clare Colebrook's article from Topoi, Zizek's Organs Without Bodies, and Rajchman's (Again) Deleuze Connections. I also cracked Michael Smith's Toward the Outside, a book on Levinas. My main concern in the theory here is 1) that ecocomposition acknowledges what I think is a real thorn in its side: the connection between its subject and its object. Broadly, ecocomposition finds it to be socially constructed all the way down OR posits some reality that can be accessed and must be saved from all this constructivist nonsense. How, then, can we remain committed to "sustainability" or saving the planet? 2) to get at this, I am researching what the links are/ have been/ and how we might look at writers as ecologically situated. This means 3) that they are at the intersections of ecologies rather than their interfaces. It's not enough these ecologies meet clash and grapple, but that they are, in the figure of the writer, virtually indistinguishable.

While I have been interested in Deleuze, I haven't seen too many movies. I got a HDTV for Christmas, so LOTR looks better as does my gift copy of Easy Rider. Jess is going back through Harry Potter, both books and films, so we just got through half of Sorcerer's Stone.

Ah, well, there is more to become and I could go on about politics and war and environmentalism, which are also part of my work and life (volunteer for Obama, community screening and discussing War Made Easy in February, organizing Focus the Nation in January). But my syllabus for Professional Writing needs attention before a 2pm meeting.

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Not always theoretical... not even always academic.. but always written..