Sat, 9 Apr 1994 11:55:04 EST

When John McCreery asked for specific cultural phenomena
and I asked for commonplace examples with which we might
understand all that we seemingly do not understand,
Christopher Pound willingly responded with bibliography,
lots of bibliography. I am not ungrateful for his several
private posts. It's clear: Pound truly wants me to
learn. But I know how I learn: I learn through the
ordinary. I learn "mit Worten und Fingerzeigen" (to quote
Rilke.) I often tell my students that I cannot teach
them anything they do not already know. My job as a
teacher is point to what they know and make it clearer,
brighter, shinier somehow.

When I am lecturing, I illustrate my pointgs with simple
examples drawn from family life--getting up in the morning,
making a cup of coffee, feeding the cat...simple things.
I believe those were the sort of examples John McCreery and I
were wanting, too.If we were Pound's students (and we are not,
blessedly a doctorate is a terminal degree), his bibliographic
responses might prompt us to drop the course, rather than stay.

Christopher Pound used a similar rhetorical device in
response to Danny Yee's query. Somehow, Yee was supposed
to recognise a reference to "Futuristic (as in the avant
garde art movement)..." Omigod, even I didn't get that one,
and I've been teaching general art history for years.
Footnote here: Futurism is a term coined by Marinetti,
in 1908 for a short-lived movement in the arts glorifying
motion, and denying morality, the rights of women, and
the value of the past. The Futurists were most active
in Europe from 1909-16, mostly in Italy.

And when I queried privately Pound's use of "logos" in a way
that was unfamiliar to me, Pound responded with a happy face logo,
no doubt kindly intended, that I was supposed to recognize the
context as one found in Aristotle's Rhetoric. Oh my. But I
hadn't. I knew the neo-Platonic references, the early
Christian references...etc., etc., ah, but Aristotle? Naah.
I blew that one too. (Alas, poor Logos, scrunched down into
something called "structure of argument." But then it was
Aristotle who tried to kill the mythic in myth.)

Is it any wonder when folks complain that post-modern discourse
is abstruse, oblique, jargon-ridden...? It surely is. The
question was never did we know the jargon (we don't), but rather
I thought, we were asking for its meaning, for clarity, for
all that good stuff--we were looking for someone to do the
walk, not the talk.

Our error. John and Danny, we have to concede the battle. It's
staked out by Christopher on the field called Rhetorics, and
truly it's become rhetorical, all just so much rhetoric.

as ever,


Maureen Korp, PhD
University of Ottawa mkorp@uottawa