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Jan 24, 2008 08:35PM
In the continuing spirit of trying to prompt some dialog here (after all, some of the most interesting people on the planet are lurking here - at least relative to the nonexistent people lurking under my bed at the moment), I've just posted the bk that Brian & I have been discussing on the CD page. If anyone else out there has any bks that they think are paragons of paradigm shifting thru cognitive dissidence, please post them too - & tell us why while you're at it! In the meantime, I think I'll post a few personal faves.
Mar 22, 2008 07:52PM
I've been trying to add "Manifestos" to the "read" bookshelf here in Cognitive Dissidents world & it hasn't been working from my end. Do you mind adding it for me? I see that you've been able to add recently. If you search for it under "Manifestos by 16 participants" you'll find it. You'll get yr reward in an alternate dimension if you succeed in this mission.
(last edited Mar 23, 2008 01:48AM)
Mar 23, 2008 12:42AM
Okay, let me see... I get-- give or take the inevitable clerical errors-- & by means of adding the 867 characters listed below to the 13 characters in Alison Knowles' name: 880-- or perhaps 195 + 2 (which would explain the two bears) if you're counting words rather than letters. In any case, it's doubly odd (which might also explain the two bears) that her name does not appear on the list of contributors on the UBUweb version of the pamphlet & that her contribution is numerically out of place on the contents page.
The very question was pretty extra-dimensional if you ask me-- so I guess I don't require any alternate reward!
It's also interesting to note that Knowles' definition of manifesto-- "a public declaration, usually of a sovereign or person claiming large powers, showing intentions and motives; a statement of policy or opinion issued by an organization, party or school"-- is quite contrary to what we've been arguing here-- & seems to harken back to the use of this discourse genre before Marx & Engels appropriated it for counter authoritarian purposes of their own (although Martin Puchner claims in Poetry of the Revolution that the manifesto was used for revolutionary ends much prior to the publication of the CM). In any case, it's interesting that she evokes the original usage in a pamphlet so obviously belonging to the avant-garde tradition. Any ideas as to why?
I'm almost beginning to wonder if the pamphlet itself is perhaps constructed very subtly & indirectly as a feminist critique-- a "womanifesto" which relies upon the absence of her name as a means of emphasizing the authority of these various authorized "man"-ifestos.
Mar 23, 2008 06:02AM
Ah! Success! Knowles' "contribution is numerically out of place on the contents page" & so is Robert Watts'. The contributors are listed alphabetically & w/ those 2 exceptions are presented alphabetically. I suspect that Knowles' "Word Power" piece (that you've referenced so thoroughly above) is 1st for various possible reasons: She may've requested that it be so, it may've been chosen for 1st b/c the manifesto definition that's provided is a conventional one from a dictionary (more about that later), perhaps it was chosen b/c it's an interactive piece designed to stimulate the reader to find words w/in the word "manifesto" (as you did) - thusly getting people into the spirit of being a participant. Watts' manifesto was just the word "manifesto" & is placed out of alphabetical order b/c it's used as the centerpiece in the middle of the pamphlet.
As for "Knowles' definition of manifesto", as I've already written above, it appears to be taken from a not particularly good (but probably common) dictionary. Since, IMO, most dictionaries & encyclopedias serve ruling class interests (including, to some extent, even WikiPedia), it's no wonder that that definition is rooted in authoritarianism. The rest of the pamphlet explodes that initial definition.
Thanks again for succeeding where I failed in posting!!
(last edited Mar 23, 2008 10:42AM)
Mar 23, 2008 09:37AM
Ecxellent, excellent! Let me begin with your observations & "push, still push" a bit further-- "and let(')s take off from here!"
I further observed that the two entries which appear "out of order" also play with the notion of "word order" itself-- Knowles' is simply a list-- completely paratactical--unlike most of the pieces-- which follow some sort of grammatical & discursive schema-- & hence fall within various hypotactical schemas. Watts' piece is also "out of order"spatially as it appears diagonally across the page--violating the "order" of horizontal presentation. The "answers" which Knowles' provides for her own solution to her word game are also presented "out of order"spatially in that they're upside down-- although I recognize this as a conventional publishing strategy for such solutions-- as found in various printed solutions to crosswords & whatnot.
I also think it's significance that "power" & "order" are, although not quite synonymous, are very close associates-- both in the "worst laid plans" to organize & contain human modes of living & in the recitation of spells (of course in spelling as well if you will excuse the pun!) of word magik-- perhaps the latter made to undo the former.
Pushing even, even, even further... "word power"/"word order"-- these phrases come very, very close to "world power"/"world order." & much of the pamphlet is critical of the US as just such entity, non?
Beyond, beyond, beyond the above there is always the below... & your observation that the two pieces which occur "out of order" are placed at the beginning & in the middle made me ask myself "so what is at the end?" Well, if that last work is by Williams, it's not "out of order" on the contents page, but it does, quite obviously play with "word order" on the morphological level-- or simply "letter order" (an easier way to put it) as well as numerical reorganization. I also observed that his formulation of the date of the piece as "ailpr 1669" (presumably a rearrangement of april 1966) also connects with the note on Williams' 16 year absence from the US. So, perhaps, a sort of parallelism between Williams' physical, spatial, & temporal absence in that period, & Knowles' nominal absence from the front page contributor list.
If the connection is substantial enough-- what does it mean to reorder at the beginning the middle, & the end? My background as a graduate student in literary theory helped me recall Aristotle's Poetics-- which is an attempt to define & analyze the component elements of tragedy. One of the first things that he claims is that every tragedy has a distinct beginning & middle & end. & isn't this pamphlet-- insofar as it concerns American domestic as well as foreign policy in Viet Nam-- an act of intervening in a real political tragedy?
So we begin with, as you say, this very outdated and "politically authorized" definition of power & order, but through these reorderings at beginning, middle, & end-- which I want to claim have a discursive significance as well as a structural one-- we arrive at the phrase I placed in quotations in the last sentence of the first paragraph of this comment-- the last part of Williams' piece, excluding the date cited two paragraphs above the paragraph in which I am writing.
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