[Air-L] the case for critical commons

Charles Ess charles.ess at gmail.com
Fri Jan 22 12:37:59 PST 2010


Before it gets too late for me to think in any way approaching rational
clarity ...
A) i would have thought that the point of this sort of thing was to make an
argument, and then underscore that argument one way or another - e.g., as
Jeremy suggests, by attaching emotion, and/or as many others have suggested,
by attempting humor.
If that's true, then
B) it seems that for at least a few of us, the effort at humor doesn't work.
I did notice in the reference that Robin Cheeseman kindly sent along that
the director himself has to turn down the sound in order to "get" the humor
of the added text.  This suggests to me that a certain kind of literacy is
called for here - one that requires separating the film, including the
passion of the original voices in these incredible performances, from its
own sound track, larger cultural context (e.g., what this film meant, for
example, for German artists and actors who could, after nearly five decades
of self-imposed silence, produce such a profoundly moving and insightful
movie), etc.  My apologies for not being up to speed on this, but thanks for
the generous efforts to educate me (really).
Still, within this perspective, as one of the German comments on the
reference Robin sent put it:
So unterhaltsam ist's doch nicht!

Whether or not we are able to find the clip humorous -
C) while I'll give the posts a more careful and fresh look after I finish
moving apartments this weekend (starting this evening) - I do get the
impression that our discussion of this so far resembles the response to the
following video:
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vBn2_ia8zM>
As pointed out to me by a wise and experienced film scholar colleague, who
uses this in his film classes - when he asks the students afterwards what
they notice about the film, they all point to the various ways in which it
is funny, etc.
Nobody notices or remembers that it's a commercial for Berlitz - and in that
sense, while it may be a terribly funny video, it fails in its primary goal
of making Berlitz stick in the mind of the audience.
In the same way - while I was clearly not as clear as I needed to be in my
original post, part of my point was that
> As sympathetic as I am to the argument attempted to be made here - this
> seems to me to thereby works directly contrary to its intentions.
Again, perhaps I've missed something important in the postings, and if so
apologies - but it seems to me that the focus has been on whether or not the
meme works as humor, etc., _not_ whether or not it works to support the
argument(s) attempted here.
Given that there are important arguments to be made about such important
matters as raised in the video - e.g., whether or not tenure must depend
upon publication in print media - it's interesting that we have not taken up
the arguments, but rather the question of humor.
This is not meant as a criticism of anyone - but an observation that seems
to reiterate my point: it's not clear to me how successful this is, in the
end, at leaving us with an awareness of important arguments (and/or possible
critiques thereof).

In any event, good night and thanks for all the fish!
With great gratitude and cordiality,
- c.

On 1/22/10 9:04 PM, "jeremy hunsinger" <jhuns at vt.edu> wrote:

> The point is to attach emotion to text, now whether this text does that
> effectively or not, we can debate.  However, the appropriation of the meme to
> make the point to the population that it was attempting to reach, which is
> clearly not all of AoIR, but perhaps a significant group within it, 




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