Monday, February 20, 2006

Argument hope


A few weeks ago I was beginning to draw together threads to basically say what Jenny says so well in her recent JAC article:
Interpretation and the productions of meaning are never far from the visceral, felt experience that doesn't always coincide with meaning. A writer's impact may not have the same effect as its meaning effects (151).
. . .
We need a literacy that acknowledges, along with Maurice Blanchot, that I am not the center of what I know. . . . That is, my ability to articulate and explicate the world cannot ever possibly cover its full operation. (152)

Exactly. And we don't need this affective literacy because recent public discourse has "declined." One of the things that I find particularly valuable in Jon's work is his demonstrating that the priority of affect precedes the postmodern; that the affective turn may be a theoretical turn even as affect has operated on people's bodies and habits long before that turn.

Just thinking about these things after a weekend of argument about the centrality of argument. And not even argument as "rhetoric" but argument as agonistic discourse. Argument hope: the belief that we can change society for the better by getting everyone to make good arguments.

What is that image of Johnny Cash arguing? It isn't. It's doing. It's affecting.


Jenny said...

Wow. This actually gives me hope that my article managed to say anything useful! Nice post, D.

Donna said...

And now I corrected the link so that it actually connects to your blog instead of the ether. And your article says much, much that's useful.