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FatCatRex's picture

Yes, to the reference text idea!

Aya, I totally agree about the reference text idea...and I really think it would be interesting to "read around" or excerpt portions of the OED, and maybe Urban Dictionary--although does it matter that it isn't what some would consider a REAL dictionary? how might that kind of 'real' play into the discussion? I just want put one last shameless plug for Samuel Johnson. Perhaps people haven't heard of him, or how interesting his dictionary was, but part of what intrigues me about that idea is that its not just reading the dictionary. His dictionary is more a narrative of etymology, or a narrative of English culture as it develops and then becomes speech and language. From the mundane to the bizarre, he covers it all, and it reads not like a dictionary but like a dictionary with candid notes, slightly stream of consciousness but also charming in its honesty. Anyway, I'd vote for that to go up with the OED of today and Urban dictionary and perhaps other "reference text" non-fiction.

I also love the idea of some comparative reading, as featured in one of the syllabus options. Even though I want some of that, I worry that I may glaze over if we try to compare too much in too short an amount of time. Its quite a shame, because all of those texts seem really interesting, I just worry about committing to a syllabus that may be difficult to adhere to and thus, a little bit of a disappointment. That being said, I think this model of syllabus points us in a fantastic direction: lets continue our pattern or reading and considering texts in the light of other works, I think it really draws the course together (and is fun, of course).

Like others, I also feel the strong need for an exploration of other forms and mediums in addition to further text-based discussions. I think considering other forms can only help us consider texts more critically, and that it would be worthwhile to have one or two film options and one other electronic source. My personal vision of our next six weeks, after our class discussion and all of your wonderful suggestions of syllabi, is to work with a model much like the one themed around the construction/questioning of, reality. My small tweaks would include adding Samuel Johnson, and perhaps also including the MTV suggestion to the section on 'Distortion.' It helps my filing-cabinet brain to think in themes and comparisons, and furthermore, to have a variety of forms/examples to store in my cabinets and pull out under and compare as part of thematic categories.

Obviously that is just my preference, but it seems like we have done some of that thinking productively, and could perhaps stretch that further in the second half of the year.


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