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Posts Tagged ‘rhetoric’

With regards to ecology

October 5th, 2009 2 comments

Collin Brooke takes an interesting look at the canons of rhetoric in Lingua Fracta, but what interested me most was his insistence on the ecological perspective because it was so encompassing and relative. Relative to what? All facets of text, hypertext, how and why we produce. Brooke considers it a more accurate term than context. It is indeed metaphorical, almost poetic, to call this system of canons and texts an ecosystem, but it is more accurate. He states his case on page 42:

The appeal of ecology as a conceptual metaphor is its ability to focus our attention on a temporarily finite set of practices, ideas, and interactions without fixing them in place or investing too much critical energy in their stability.

Brooke says later, on page 44, “When we have paid particular attention to one or more canons, it has often been to render it more static.” While he presses us to treat the canons “at the level of generalized activity” (44), the very ecological model he is defining requires us to temporarily reduce a canon or two down to a certain practice or series of practices. When finished applying the canon appropriately we can release it back to its almost theoretical status.

He discusses briefly the ecologies of practice but admits that “distinguishing them from the ecologies of code and culture can only ever only ever be a temporary, conceptual maneuver – one that does not translate into actual practice.” (52) Brooke says that this means there is no “pure zone” in which the ecologies of practice reside. I understood this to mean that the ecologies of practice exist, but only in theory, and any attempt to distinguish them from culture and code is futile.

Prior to this, back on page 44, he explains with a little detail how the ecological approach can be applied to invention and quotes Karen LeFevre from 1987 as defining the ecology of invention to be “the ways ideas arise and are nurtured or hindered by social context and cultures.” This is nearly identical to the concept of intertextuality. The conference that Brooke said to have attended is a form of discourse community. I don’t make these associations throughout Brooke’s text as a way to boil down his ideas to irreducible regurgitations of overused arguments, but rather as a habit of learning by attribution and extension.

That’s what I felt Brooke was emphasizing – an extension of our definitions and theories as a form of adaptation.

Cinderella’s Online

September 30th, 2009 1 comment

More and more people are changing the way they think of reading and text.  Tools such as The Kindle and sources such as Google books and Project Gutenberg allow us to access more titles more easily than ever before.  With digital text becoming more and more popular it is no surprise that other companies are jumping on the proverbial bandwagon.

According to the New York Times article Disney Tries to Pull the Storybook Ritual Onto the Web by Brooks Barnes The Walt Disney Company is launching a new subscription based website that will offer hundreds of Disney books. Previously Disney only offered a few titles on Kindle and Leapfrog.  Media analyst for Forrester Research, Sarah Rotman Epps, states “They are the first to say, we’re putting our whole catalog online in this one place, and we’re selling it straight to parents.” The site is organized into age groups and levels of reading skills.  Starting with a “look and listen section for beginning readers, where the books will be read aloud by voice actors to accompanying music, with each word highlighted on the screen as it is spoken.”  For children who can read on their own, there is another section and if they find an unfamiliar word they can “click on it and a voice says it aloud.” For teenagers there are chapter books and trivia.  The vice president of digital media, Yves Saada assures concerned parents that “this isn’t going to replace snuggle time with a storybook…We think you can have different reading formats co-existing together.”

Reading this I found myself wondering how this will affect future generation’s perception of digital text.  There is a certain romantic notion to the physical printed book.  People have libraries in their homes and refuse to throw them away.  But if we are conditioned to read digital text from childhood will these nostalgic notions still be there? What will that mean for printed books? Does it matter?