Friday, June 8, 2007

public humiliation

this morning, i'm meeting w/ a graduate student who was present at last year's Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference, where, in my sesssion, after a young scholar gave a very traditional (and good) paper on something involving multimodality, i suggested in my time that in my utopian scheme, i would say nothing but simply screen the film. "however," i said, "i realize that we're not there yet, and so i've written this little paper." i proceeded to read 4-5 pages and then screen my 7 minute film. so far, so good.

then, one prominent rhetoric scholar spoke up, visibly flustered, angry, waving her hands in her moment, and she said that she couldn't have made sense of my film w/out the contextualizing language (thus, i'm thinking, the paper). she called me out for even suggesting something about visual rhetorics operating apart from verbal/lexical discourse. she sat on my right. on my left, a prominent rhetorician w/ linguistics training, equally disturbed, especially concerned about the film's inability to register a Toulminian warrant (i'm thinking, Toulmin isn't all of rhetoric, unless you want to obssess about intention, but so . . . ). because these were 2 such renowned scholars, i was immobilized and mute. i could not articulate a defense.

so the grad student i'm meeting today was there. she wants to talk w/ me about the session. i'm so glad to be able to speak of it beyond its moment. that's all.

i'll be talking about this at PSU, probably reliving that scene (so don't be too disappointed if you hear this again).

about the image: my new film . . . it speaks to these disputes, and, so i keep coming back to it.
moving on . . .

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