(courses without boundaries
across the curriculum series)
VOICE is All : Content is Galore
Thou has most traitorously
corrupted the youth of the
realm in erecting a grammar
school… It will be proved to
thy face that thou hast men
about thee that usually talk
of a noun and a verb, and
such abominable words as
no Christian ear can endure
to hear. Jack Cade, King Henry
VI, II W. Shakespeare
DEAD & ALIVE: let that distinction
stand for the difference between
“writing” and “speech”—mind on a
page (say) or a screen, and talk-in air.
“Writing” is like freeze-dried code,
resurrect-ible by any with a mind &
an ability to read: sleeping beauty,
ugly toad--& you, dear reader, can
kiss them alive. Raise the dead: a
miracle we are used to use/ abuse and
so—no miracle at all unless someone
can make the familiar strange, strange
familiar: which is what raising the
ead and deadening amounts to.
DEAD: inert, unmoving, inanimate—just
lies there, no wiggle surprises.
I love it dead!
ALIVE: ert, moving, animate—won’t
stay still, uncertain, unpredictable.
Hate it. Hate it.
Let that suffice for a distinction between
The Dead (and deadening) and
The Alive (and deadly)
NOW, it is the case that DEAD writing
can be ALIVE, lively & unpredictable;
and LIVE talk-in-air can be DEAD and
deadening. So even within the DOMAIN
called DEAD: I draw a sub-distinction
between dead DEAD and live DEAD.
As well as dead LIVE and live LIVE
(if you reflect on conversations in class).
The evolution of WRITING might be
described as a devolution from
ANALOGUE process …
(images that look like what
they stand for or re-present:
you know—a picture supposedly
is worth 1,000 words as if that
might make it more that words)
…to DIGITAL process, reducing the
continuum sound of talk to discrete
sound/letter correlation representing
morphemes, phrases, sentences, and
ideas of spoken utterance (can you
hear me now, my VOICE in your head?)
and so a word is worth 1,000 pictures.
In fact words and their written representation
(digital process) are much handier than
pictures and images. Words can represent
pictures and images. Pictures conjure words,
sure: but the thousands of words a picture
can conjure may not do the job any of us
want as far as nailing down a particular
deal, expression, command, question,
desire, damnit to make it dead and
still on a page. No jiggle room.
Words are so inadequate, we hear said—
often, generally in reference to emotional
transaction. But pretty adequate as far as
directions for how to get to
repair a lawnmower.
The evolution of writing is a devolution of
PICTURE (analogical pictogram, ideogram,
cuniform, logogram, syllabic) to digital discrete
alpha beta representation of the telling sounds of
Show & Tell: analogue and digital process.
Almost as fundamental a distinction as
DEAD and ALIVE.
Communication is evolving whether I approve or
not; whether I think we’re communicating or not
makes no never mind to Mr. Communication who
is always state-of-the-art, like weather.
Sallgood, as Snoop and Pope
Need we argue?
Of course. We must. Converse-action. It’s not
verse-action that goes on and on. But converse-
Always the opposition of unique points of view
on the one hand—versus the common sense of
conventional collective points of view on the
other hand. And I ask you: do you hear both hands