“When we write with cutting-edge tools, it is easy to forget that whether it consists of energized particles on a screen or ink embedded in paper or lines gouged into clay tablets, writing itself is always first and foremost a technology, a way of engineering materials in order to accomplish an end.” (Baron 16). Right on Denis, when the first symbols were assigned to the corresponding phonemes, the technology of writing was born. And you go on to discus the impact of the pencil and how that brought access to historically underserved populations. And yes, Denis, you’re so very right about how old-time writing necessities were difficult to produce. I had to make petroglyph ink from green stones one summer while working for the museum and it was so freakin time consuming and difficult.
Baron’s discussion of pencil vs. computer brings up a good point, that once the pencil has been left in the dust by word processing, it’s just not possible to return to that time consuming method of composition. Word programs build on upon themselves and get easier, much in the same spirit that we, as instructors, “work out the bugs” in our pedagogy and improve when and where necessary. I recall the old-skool Word Perfect on the blue screen that you had to type in the F1-F10 commands for the program to function. Compare that to Word 2003, and if a working Word Perfect (5.1 I think) exists, I couldn’t go back to that torture of the template and F-commands. Now there is Word 2007 that blew me away – yes you can try it at the Graduate & Professional Center.
“Essays remain places with rhetorical power, as readers are consoled by writers who can organize corners of chaos, not just by gathering, arranging, and exchanging but by venturing to say what a part might mean.” (Hesse 48). Hesse explores much territory here from listserv and email literacies to the leisure with which Bacon drafted his essays. I was so much more engaged with Baron’s work, however I found points of interest sprinkled throughout such as the impact of email writing on the workplace.
“…becoming literate does not help a young Navajo woman feel that she has a real place in Anglo culture…(Wysocki, Johnson-Eilola 353). Perhaps it is the lateness of the hour shading my response to this thought, but Duh! What person, text, or other thing exists to help the young Navajo woman feel comfortable within the dominant Anglo culture? When she achieves the power of literacy, only Pandora’s box will be opened. Achieving a high level of literacy has the power to make this woman feel angry enough to purchase a black beret and host anti-establishment meetings in her basement apartment. Such authors playing a part in the inspiration to create underground organizations include, Patricia Hill-Collins, Rochelle Brock, Antonio Gramsci, Lesli Marmon-Silko, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, William Shatner (OK it’s really lateJ) William Shatner has never failed to inspire, especially in his role as the evil twin brother of a Comanche hero.