Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Evelyn Ch’ien on Weird English

English Is Getting Weirder. R We?

By Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch’ien

Evelyn Ch’ien is the author of Weird English (Harvard University Press, 2004)

English is getting weirder. Many of the same catalysts for the stretching, breaking, and reconstruction of English is happening to all utterance that we call speech and mark-making that we call writing. In the 21st century, technology has been the driving force of English proliferation. Our fascination and love for all that is aesthetic about language and communication, by our immersion in the linguistic experience, can be enhanced by technology and thus render us creators of linguistic worlds. To be a teaching world literature at this moment, and writing about weird English, is to not only teach the texts and the stylistics that are evidence of this change, but to conceive of how our subjectivities are changing, to see that the human race is thinking, feeling and designing the mental world differently, and that new linguistic tools are being invented to help in that architectural project. It is to acknowledge that only is English getting weirder, but so are we.

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Dohra Ahmad on Rotten English

“This is Ma Trooth”

By Dohra Ahmad

Excerpted from Rotten English: A Literary Anthology, edited by Dohra Ahmad. Copyright (c) 2007 by Dohra Ahmad.
With permission from the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Mandakini Dubey on the Trooth of Defiance

Review of Dohra Ahmad (ed.), Rotten English: A Literary Anthology (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007).

By Mandakini Dubey

It may be in English: but often it is in an English which is like a howl, or a shout or a machine-gun or the wind or a wave.
Kamau Brathwaite, History of the Voice [1]

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William Castro: Notes on Modernization as Crime

Notes on Modernization as Crime

William Castro

In The Globalisation of Crime: Understanding Transnational Relationships in Context (1999), which “charts th[e] evolution” of “crime and its traditional boundaries […] into predictable and active features of globalisation,” the criminologist Mark Findlay argues that “[c]rime operates amongst the other market solvents in globalisation, and as such may now be analysed against features of ‘commodification’ which are presently expanding and penetrating every corner of the planet” (1). At the same time, as Findlay immediately informs us, “the process of time-space compression, which is globalisation, has enhanced material crime relationships to an extent where they require analysis in a similar fashion to any other crucial market force” (ibid.). In effect, crime and globalization con-form a Möbius strip in Findlay’s formulation since crime, which is variously described as a “lubricant” (8) and an “agent of flux” (1, n.3) of globalization, is itself raised to the level of a “feature of the emergent globalised culture” (2) and is “unburdened of conventional legal and moral determination” (1) by globalization itself. That is to say, that crime is itself globalized in the process of “lubricating” globalization processes. Through globalization, crime comes to constitute an element of an emerging “universal [i.e. global] culture” (2). The effect of Findlay’s analysis is to render timid the apparently blunt affirmation with which he opens The Globalisation of Crime: namely, that “[c]rime has been a silent partner in modernisation” (1). In light of what follows this somewhat belated pronouncement, this “partnership” appears to be closer to an essential symbiosis than to a convenient—and therefore dissoluble—pact.

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Rashna Wadia Richards: Re-Viewing Cinephilia

Re-Viewing Cinephilia: The Movement and the Moment

Rashna Wadia Richards

Perhaps it is not cinema which has ended but only cinephilia—the name of the distinctive kind of love that cinema inspired.
—Susan Sontag, “A Century of Cinema”

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Andrew Cornell: Pre-Empting Dissent

Pre-Empting Dissent

Andrew Cornell

I couldn’t tell whether it was the officer’s boot or knee that was pinning my head to the sidewalk as another cop cinched my arms together behind my back with plastic ties. I could tell that all around me people were running and yelling, panicked, and that the friends I had come with were also on the ground in various states of incapacitation. It was a rough arrest for the minor infraction of “Parading Without a Permit”—the charge NYPD officers were using to justify indiscriminate mass arrests of people otherwise lawfully protesting the Bush Agenda during the 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC). The arrest was especially rough considering that my friends and I weren’t even in the march in question. We were a block away trying to see what was going on when police in riot gear swarmed us.

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Jeannie Yoo: Metaphorical Theories and Imaginative Criticality

Metaphorical Theories And Imaginative Criticality
The Many Possibilities Of “Friction” (2005)

Jeannie Yoo

What is “Friction”? One way to answer this question is to begin with what Anna Tsing’s recently published ethnography is about: “Something shocking began to happen to Indonesia’s rainforests during the last decades of the twentieth century. Species diversities that had taken millions of years to assemble were cleared, burned, and sacrificed to erosion. The speed of landscape transformation took observers by surprise… Corporate growth seemed unaccountably chaotic, inefficient and violent in destroying its own resources. Stranger yet, ordinary people–even those dependent on the forest for their livelihood–were joining distant corporations in creating uninhabitable landscapes…” (2). However, destruction was only one part of this story. During the same period in which the eastern Meratus Mountains of Borneo were being transformed into a ‘resource frontier’, a vigorous national environmental movement was also established. “Opposition to state and corporate destruction of forest-people livelihoods became a key-plank of the emergent democratic movement… An innovative politics developed linking city and countryside, bringing activists, students and villagers into conversation across differences in perspective and experience” (2). The devastation of forested landscapes and environmental activism spanning local, regional and national groups are “emergent cultural forms” that are a central loci around which this book revolves.

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Pat Larter from Kitchen to Gallery

Among the many works by the artist Richard Larter in the National Gallery of Australia, are four works catalogued as ‘Femail art, 1975’ (NGA Accessions register 80.1136 – 80.1139). These were donated by Daniel Thomas, who was then senior Curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery. The National Gallery of Australia does not claim to own work by Richard’s wife, his model, Pat Larter. But not only was she the sole author of one of these works (80.1136), she also contributed to two of the others (80.1137 and 80.1138), and originated the name ‘femail art’.

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The Political Philosophy of Needs

In The Political Philosophy of Needs, Lawrence Hamilton contends that ‘[m]odern moral, legal, economic and political thought is characterized by an unwarranted glorification of the values of justice and welfare at the expense of political participation, democratic sovereignty, and the satisfaction of human needs’ (1). Hamilton’s most basic point is thus that political philosophy has long concentrated on issues of justice and welfare at the expense of the satisfaction of human needs. This decision on the part of political philosophy has resulted in a certain amount of degradation of human well-being. Hamilton believes that needs talk solves this problem as it ‘clears a path between the abstract objectivity of rights on one side and the particular subjectivity of preferences on the other’ (9), and thus can inform public policy in such a way that takes well-being into account.

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Action Chicks

Recent cinematic adaptations of female superheroes, such as 2004’s Catwoman and Elektra, were unsuccessful at the box office, and film critics found them largely without merit. However, fans of the comic books of the same names lay the blame for this on the films deviating too far from the original characters, rather than as a showing on the unpopularity of the genre of the female hero. The successful seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where creator/director Joss Whedon transformed the traditional screaming blonde victim into a smart-ass blonde victor, offer proof that displays of physical strength are now an attractive (and highly marketable) quality in a female lead. Whedon is currently at the helm of the new Wonder Woman movie, his critical and financial success with Buffy giving investors much confidence in his abilities.

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