to read or not to read...

Cynthia Haynes (
Sun, 23 Mar 1997 01:23:16 -0600

I recently saw Kenneth Branagh's new film HAMLET. It was long and the
Shakespearian language difficult to follow (unless Jack Lemmon or Billy
Crystal were speaking :). But, ohmigosh...what an incredible film, what
stunning performances! My partner, Jan Holmevik (who is Norwegian), found
it almost impossible to follow most of the time, though he was equally
enthralled with the film. He is completely fluent in English, but when it
comes to Texan-ese and Shakespeare...well, suffice it to say I had to
translate some things during the film. All this to say that it seems
rather analogous to the discussions on delivery at conferences, especially
the language issue and format issue.

To those of you who cringe at terms like 'problematize' and 'hegemony' I
want to ask this: What would your reaction be to a student in a tutoring
session who claimed that she didn't understand some of what her teacher
says in class, and that she didn't understand some terms in her reading

To those of you who expect conference presentations to be clear,
interactive, and brief, I want to ask this: What kind of 'thinking'
protocols (and reading protocols) are you demanding, and what is at stake
in your demand/desire?

To those of you who prefer 'moving' presentations to the kind of
presentation you would prefer to read in a journal instead, I want to ask
this: By what standard of 'value' are you measuring what moves us, and to
what end is our having been moved as opposed to our having been exposed to
ideas and thinking packaged as 'writing' a preferable experience at a

I realize (and hope) that these questions belie my own ambivalence about
possible answers. My (perhaps) clear, interactive, and brief answers
would be something like this: I would try to foster in the student an
attitude of hunger for learning new terms. I would explain how
interpretation and audience issues are part of a vast array of 'reading
protocols' that rely on often divergent assumptions about reading and
writing. And...I would remind myself as I tutored her, that what moves me
is something of a different register than what 'moves' a field of theory
forward, or what moves classroom and tutoring practices forward...though I
firmly believe 'both' registers of movement (pathos and progress) are
necessary and vital to our lives, I am conflicted about how pathos enters
the scene of assessment.

Here's the interactive part...<please respond here>

So -- rather than intoning that 'something is rotten in Phoenix'...could
we wrestle with the apparitions of 'problematizing' and 'hegemony' without
suffering the slings and arrows OR taking arms against a sea of conference

As Ophelia says...

"My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them."

And Hamlet replies...

"No, not I; I never gave you aught."


"My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
And with them words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind."


Cynthia Haynes

_____Lingua MOO_____http://lingua.utdallas.edu______
University of Texas at Dallas, School of Arts & Humanities
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