Response for July 16
7/15/2014 07:53:00 am
I once again found myself surprised on the aspect of the human body being viewed as rhetoric. With the Introduction to “Rhetorical Bodies” as well as the Afterword, I had many different thoughts come into mind surrounding how much emphasis society has placed on the “perfect” body and the extremes that people put themselves through to get to that point; this “perfect” view, is entirely unrealistic, but people become blind sighted by what appears to be obtainable. Before going into the downside of the representation of the human body, I have always known certain aspects of the body to be art, such as tattoos and piercings, but the excerpt about the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven describing how “she literally prepared a ‘body’ of poetry by inscribing original verses on her torso…she favored unusual colors and habiliments, sported an inverted coal scuttle on her head, and shaved and shellacked her head and painted its two halves in contrasting colors” (4) really captures how a person can evoke deeper meanings through their bodies. It’s similar with tattoos nowadays and piercings and how people have the freedom of expression through their bodies. Most of the time, tattoos have deeper meanings than just the representation. Leads to the question of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus’ intentions, is this art, or just looking for attention? But I digress…
7/15/2014 09:22:18 am
Emily VanLeuvan-Reflections on Readings for July 16, 2014
7/15/2014 12:48:20 pm
“Language and rhetoric have a persistent material aspect that demands acknowledgement, and material realities often (if not always) contain a rhetorical dimension that deserves attention: for language is not the only medium or material that speaks” (8). This was the first line in Jack Selzer’s introduction to Rhetorical Bodies to spark my interest. It is interesting to consider that material realities contain a rhetorical dimension. He goes on to state that the body has more recently become the focus of rhetorical inquiry. Some contributors have insisted, “that material, nonliterate practices and realities – most notably, the body, flesh, blood, and bones, and how all the material trappings of the physical are fashioned by literate practices – should come under rhetorical scrutiny” (10). It is true. If you think about it, the brain controls our ability to think, speak, and write. These are all components of rhetoric and if the brain controls it (and the brain is part of our body), then yes, the body should be given rhetorical consideration. Altogether, it is an interesting concept to contemplate.
7/15/2014 11:54:50 pm
Once again, a plethora of possibilities bombards my brain…yet, despite the inclination to ignore the magnetic draw to respond to the most obvious choice for me, I choose to be drawn in by the magnetic pull. I am compelled by the inherent argument for differentiation and art integration of Daisy Levy’s presentation on her project, “This Book Called My Body: An Embodied Rhetoric.” (What would Jonah Lehrer contribute regarding, How I (We) Decide?) Despite the irony of my choice in relation to Levy’s position, as she posits, such a choice “maintains a standard relation or an accustomed relation in any case,” I do decide to explore her work in relation to my life, and more specifically my teaching praxis. Subsequently by choosing to respond to her work, I may not be ‘challenging my nervous system,’ and “Without challenging the nervous system, without new different confusions, our bodies and our resulting scholarship practices the same patterns, already well-rehearsed, well substantiated at the level of our cells and tissue.” Yet it is because the work she presents resonates at a cellular and tissue level I must go here.
7/15/2014 11:56:37 pm
(the rest of it...) ‘plastic,’ and ‘cyborg-like.’ Next, I get them out of their seat, which is met with sighs, moans, and groans inevitably and predictably. I have not yet, asked them to stand on one leg, simply to ‘stand up’ before the bell, in my efforts to “teach them how to find a relationship with gravity in the simplest way possible, through their body.” From this point on the magic and re-orientation begins, as I instruct and drill them on an extremely simplistic choreographed sequence of steps, which involves “rehearsing and practicing the same patterns over and over again.” Ultimately, the ‘community’ of learners experience frustration, with themselves and with one another. Teamwork is essential, although it is the responsibility of the individual, and their neurological focus to perform the basic simple movement in order to mimic the uniformity of the Busby Berkeley chorus line. The participants slowly begin to comprehend the difficulty of ‘unison’ and the role and responsibility of the individual when attempting to achieve ‘uniformity.’ We remain standing, the desks cleared away, and discuss the experiment, and then they return to a seat, any seat, anywhere in the classroom and write about their feelings, and how those feeling relate to the dystopian setting of Ellison’s dystopia. Next, we view a clip from Fritz Lang’s 1928 science-fiction film, “Metropolis,” depicting factory workers entering a factory. These workers are clad in dismal attire, and exude dejection, oppression, and hopelessness. I ask my students, “Why did Ellison choose the Busby Berkeley allusion, and not this Metropolis allusion?” They respond, “The citizens in Ellison’s “Repent” do not know they are miserable. They do not realize they are being controlled, oppressed.” I propose, not only “…in order to change our movement patterns we must change our neurological activity,” as Levy posits, we must change movement patterns to change neurological activity.”
7/16/2014 01:00:14 am
Critical Response – Readings for July 16, 2014
7/16/2014 02:19:25 am
Selzer’s Introduction and Afterward to Rhetorical Bodies sincerely resonated with me. In the Introduction, he stresses the validation of the material world and our physical bodies within rhetorical scholarship: “Language and rhetoric have a persistent material aspect that demands acknowledgement, and material realities often (if not always) contain a rhetorical dimension that deserves attention: for language is not the only medium or material that speaks.” Here, his allusions to phenomenology and the biological universe in which we live once again reminded me of my course work studying Bachelard and Merleau-Ponty; however, the most personal connection that I could make is to my favorite poet, Walt Whitman. Two years ago, I had a tattoo placed on my right thigh that has two vines with leaves and the words, “… and your very flesh shall be a great poem…” The quote is a partial line from the following passage from Walt Whitman’s Preface to Leaves of Grass:
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