Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Article that Nullifies This Class

While Against Theory, by Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, is an interesting read, I am not sure what I think of it yet. The article focuses intensely on "what if" situations, and thus, I find it difficult to take it seriously. For example, when the authors mention the wave poem, they do so in a way that says, "What if we saw the wave generate a second stanza, thus realizing that neither stanza is really a stanza?" Okay, but what if we did not? What if we immediately left the beach to go look up the poem and find out if it was a previously published poem or an original (if we did not know)? What if we left to do something else entirely? What IF? What IF? What IF? By not seeing the wave generate a second stanza, we would not realize that there was no "intention" or "meaning." We would perceive it as language. Moreover, I find it difficult to think that, just because the poem has no "intentional" creator, it therefore has no meaning. It does not matter! If I see words, I am going to perceive them as words, especially if I do not ever find out that they ARE NOT words. Therefore, I will see meaning in them because I myself will see language; I will see something that I recognize as language, and therefore, it will have meaning to me, whether or not it has an "intentional" creator. Who knows? Maybe it is God himself, trying to tell us/me something. Do these writers believe in God, or a god? Needless to say, the article is very frustrating, almost to the point that I think it is an experiment or a joke. It is not a joke or experiment, though, right?

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