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Minding the Body - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Minding the Body
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From: babyiwasshot Date: March 9th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The person reading the magazine while suffering from a headache or exhaustion is both aware that her or his body is conspiring against the task of reading and doing her or his best to suppress those surges of unease by focusing on the text as if it were not part of the physical realm.

Interestingly, the capitalistic obsession with fitting everything into rigid temporal structures elicits exhaustion (both mental and phsyical), and with the university (a milieu in which reading is paramount) increasingly adopting a capitalistic structure, it thus negates its (ostensible) purpose.....then again, I suppose the purpose of the contemporary university is to make money. I wonder how that "telos" would be received in the lyceum.


Regarding the distinction between physical and "quasi-physical" (online) content; to me, print has a decided legitimating function; when I read online content, I tend to do so without taking it as seriously, which then causes me to gloss more and pay less attention. Moreover, it's simply easier to "publish" online than it is to publish in print, which may/may not pertain to Benjamin's ideas regarding "aura" and "mass production"....dunno. HAh!Incidentally, what little I know of Benjamin has been picked up aureally, much as you picked up stuff from your books on tape.

I often remember details from a book in a process where look and feel are inextricably bound up with the words I summon from the depths of memory. In the absence of such mental props, I struggle.

I'm the same way.

Good post.

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 9th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Excellent thoughts RE: Benjamin. He's my fave. I've read that essay so many times and taught it a bunch too. What you say is right on.

I'm also interested in your point about the sort of reading that the academy asks of students and teachers alike. I'm not sure making a profit is the direct goal, since almost all schools lose money, but that doesn't mean that they're not set up to serve the interests of global capital. One thing I've been struggling with for a while is the tension between the lingering pre-capitalist structures in universities -- which, like religions institutions tend to preserve what Raymond Williams called "residual formations" a lot longer than they last in the "real world" -- and the increasing pressure to rationalize them along corporate lines.
From: babyiwasshot Date: March 9th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
One thing I've been struggling with for a while is the tension between the lingering pre-capitalist structures in universities -- which, like religions institutions tend to preserve what Raymond Williams called "residual formations" a lot longer than they last in the "real world" -- and the increasing pressure to rationalize them along corporate lines.

I'm reading Dos Passos's USA (published in 1938, I think) in one of my classes, which (in a biopic of Thorstein Veblen) mentions something along these lines, actually:

"At Carleton College, young Veblen was considered a brilliant unsound eccentric; nobody could understand why a boy of such attainments wouldn't settle down to the business of the day, which was to buttress property and profits with anything usable in the debris of Christian ethics and eighteenth-century economics that culttered the minds of collegeprofessors, and to reinforced the shaky edifice with the new strong girderwork of science Herbert Spencer was throwing up for benefit of the bosses" (849).

PS: Tell Scruggs about my dropping that passage if you see him; sometimes I think my dismal quiz performances--on account of being a slower-paced reader--convince him that I'm not doing the assignment.

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