42 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2020
  2. Mar 2019
    1. NOTES

      General question: what are some fields of knowledge that Anderson needed to know in order to write this piece? What do his readers need to know in order to read his work? What are some of the different kinds of sources did he marshal to make his argument?

    2. If the tragicomic blues spirit of collective affirmation he identified with a music born in his youth was less frequently heard with the passing of time, Ellison worked all the more to commemorate the “romantic lyricism” of a receding world. Thus he offered the following dedication to his never-published second novel: “To That Vanished Tribe Into Which I Was Born: The American Negroes.”

      What is Anderson's evaluation of Ellison's legacy, in the end? What does he affirm about Ellison, and what does he criticize? Do you think Anderson gives a fair assessment?

    3. Putting his blues modernism to work on a nationalist project, Ellison transforms the embrace of the remainder into a new dialectic and an American jeremiad in an African-American idiom. Here he sides with the ideal of an unbuilt and prospective America. Rejecting one dialectical model of history but identifying with all that is left out of that model, the narrator brilliantly uses these very residues to fuel another dialectic of history.

      Unpack this very dense passage. What is "blues modernity"? What does Ellison preserve from the Brotherhood, and what does he revise or add to it?

    4. In order to move with fidelity toward the distant new world of an idealized pluralistic and post-racist America, an older segregated African-American world, with its joys and its restrictions, had to give way. Ellison could at least maintain fidelity to that past world through his home-made stereo and private archive that sonically reproduced the beautiful world of his youth as he imagined it.

      How does the phonograph--which appears in the novel as well--mediate for Anderson the conflict between Ellison's old-school tastes in music and the newer forms that are arising in the 1950s and 60s? What are some of the implications of this reading, in which the old and new co-exist in the same cultural moment?

    5. Moreover, the lurid tableau of Parker’s plunge into self-degrading performance before a “ravenous, sensation-starved” white audience closely follows a fictional precedent from Invisible Man: Tod Clifton’s final appearance as a vacant-eyed street performer indistinguishable from the paper Sambo doll he manipulates for small change. “Who wants Sambo, the dancing, prancing? . . . There’s no license for little Sambo, the joy spreader. You can’t tax joy, so speak up, ladies and gentlemen” (433). Here was the full price of vertiginous plunging.

      How does Anderson link Parker (well, Ellison's depiction of Parker) to Ellison's novel? How does the comparison of Parker to Tod Clifton work? Do you buy this reading?

    6. Ellison’s preferred mode of lyricism in African-American music belonged to what struck him as a comparatively optimistic pre-bebop music of social romance.

      How do Ellison's tastes in music link up with broader narratives in music history (swing to bebop)? How does Anderson explain Ellison's "lagging" taste, preferring the older swing of Basie and Ellison to the new 'bop of Parker and Miles Davis? Why does this issue of what kind of music Ellison prefers matter so much?

    7. Only in holding themselves close to their native community and its rituals of socialization were these men able to cultivate the deepest level of individuality and artistry. Mastering musical form in the swinging guises of jazz and the blues committed these musicians to what we might call a centripetal ethos of lyrical transition even as they enacted “from performance to performance” a more centrifugal and decentering process of what Kimberley Benston calls “multiplication and substitution.”(16)

      Two questions: a) is Rinehart the hero of Ellison's novel? Why or why not? and b) how does the long discussion of Rinehart relate to the encompassing discussion of Ellison and music? Playing music is about the only thing that Rinehart doesn't do!

    8. While “the Negro” functioned as a guilt-inducing and thus repressed or demonized presence within white American culture, a psychoanalytically informed post-war modernism might point to more sober possibilities for working through the nation’s racial pathologies. Here was another reason for Ellison’s blues aesthetic to eschew the romanticization of unmediated expression or naturalness in favor of a nearly classicist stress on restraint and self-control. The latter provided the firmest stabilizing equipment for the existential plunge into the “seething vortex” of modernity.

      What's the problem with the "primitive" for African American artists, according to Anderson? What other examples from IM can you think of that carry out this implicit critique of celebrating black "primitivity"?

    9. In such a case Ellison redescribed the African-American blues as a raft, if not a generating motor, for moving closer to the “democratic ideal.” At least on some occasions the blues came to the aid of his anti-racist dialectic of democratic national becoming.

      Unpack Ellison's figure linking the blues and the novel as a "raft" of sorts. How does this figure help us to see a kinship between the blues and the novel as cultural forms? What are the implications of seeing both as "rafts" rather than the kind of structures that grow out of "blueprints"?

    10. Ultimately, the narrator will summon Armstrong’s “beam of lyrical sound” as a heroic model for transforming slips, breaks, and plunges into opportunities to master “the swift and imperceptible flowing of time.” A dawning transvaluation of slips and plunges derived from the African-American blues, one of Armstrong’s chief idiomatic sources, will also enrich the narrator.

      How is musical form an analogue or aspirational model for writing fiction for Ellison? What's the logic of this connection? What can listening to Armstrong teach the novelist?

    11. At these points, the improvising soloist (usually singular) fills the otherwise empty sonic space with dramatic solo obligatti

      To get a sense of what Anderson is talking about sonically, check out Louis Armstrong's sublime set of breaks on "Potato Head Blues" (1927) with the Hot Seven. Go listen to like two hours of the classic Hot Fives and Sevens. If you just want to catch the breaks and have other priorities (sigh), here's a link that skips to the breaks.

    12. Armstrong may have been a representative of an African-American “underworld of sound” but his musical revolution was on intimate terms with the white mainstream of American popular music. The critic Nathaniel Mackey has recently elaborated a theoretical understanding of intimacy and discrepancy through a distinction between “musical othering” and “social othering” that is relevant to this discussion of invisibility’s ironic benefits.

      Anderson's argument gets a bit hard to follow here, for me at least. Is that a mistake on his part? Why might that be? What does this opacity tell us about his style and, perhaps, his method in this piece?

      Is it clear by the end of this section why Anderson took us on this seeming detour through his theoretical analysis of "invisibility"? What is the connection?

    13. On the level of vernacular culture (if not elsewhere), an invisible but irrepressible “underworld of sound” had already quietly taken over the mainstream. This, too, Ellison heard in Armstrong’s popular music. But how was the United States to pass from the sonic and cultural pluralism Ellison discovered to the post-racist social and political revolution of which it offered some kind of foretaste?

      What is the relationship between Ellison's writing and the pre-existing tradition of African American vernacular music in this passage? Also, note how Anderson uses a rhetorical question here: why? What's the benefit of pulling out this question at this point in the argument?

    14. especially the chapter on the “sorrow songs” in W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

      I TOLD y'all that book was important!

    15. Thus, musical othering can submit dominant “fixed equations” and aesthetic norms to what Mackey dubs a “dislocating tilt.”(10)

      What is the relationship between "musical othering" and "social othering"? How might this relationship reflect back on Ellison's novel?

    16. An extraordinary philosophical faith in the translatability, if not transparency, of meaning across artistic media shone through Ellison’s joint account of racial invisibility and musical technique.

      What is Ellison's implied disagreement with his mentors at Tuskeegee (remember: the model for the campus life depicted in IM)? What counter-model does he offer for thinking about "folk" materials?

    17. Musical occasions, that is, play no role in Ellison’s writing by figuring as sites of untranslatable otherness or estrangement. He regularly displayed a Malrauxian fervor for ritual interpretation in his explorations of southern and southwestern African-American music and folkways. Especially in Ellison’s early postwar work, a sense of modernization as an abrupt and volcanic process of cultural upheaval hovered over these explorations. What was happening to African-Americans’ “traditional” cultural tools – what Ellison’s friend Kenneth Burke called “equipment for living” – in the seemingly chaotic context of northern migration and urban proletarianization?(6) Ellison adapted the work of Malraux and other theorists to style his own response to the processes of disruption, survival, and transformation in African-American modernity.

      We get into the deep water here in Anderson's argument. How, according to Anderson, does Ellison think about music? How does his approach differ from other music critics? What were some of his models in developing this perspective, and how do they help him link African American music to other cultural objects? Also, note how Anderson starts with a pretty simple, clear intro and starts to tamp down on it here into something denser.

    18. A closer look at his skeptical commentaries on Parker’s prominent role in the stylistic innovations of the 1940s jazz modernists reveals Ellison’s fascinating and rarely discussed inhabitation of the posture of a musical revanchist committed to the musical superiority of certain pre-World War II idioms.

      What's the "intervention" Anderson wants to make with this piece? What does he have to say that hasn't been said, especially in a critical conversation that (as Blair points out) is already very crowded? More broadly, what can we learn here about how to create some "elbow room" for our own arguments in oft-discussed texts?

    19. revanchist


    20. the scene operated as a regulative norm for the mature Ellison.

      What does Anderson mean by a "regulative norm"? What is the "delicate balance" Ellison describes here? Why does jazz matter so much to Ellison, becoming more that mere entertainment?

    21. Within the first pages of the 1952 novel Invisible Man Ralph Ellison’s narrator relates Louis Armstrong’s music to his own desires and self-conceptions.

      What are the big questions Anderson asks the text of Invisible Man? What does he want to discover about the text in his reading? What kinds of sources or methods will he need to use to answer his question/s?

  3. Nov 2017
    1. statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend

      This statement is very interesting as it focuses on the workers of society as a fundamental key to "individual happiness". I believe this opposes sentiments of our own time where people believe they can generate their own happiness. This shows how much more the people from this time were concerned with society and how much each individual person depended on it. I think that this relates to one of the goals of the liberal arts education; to become a better citizen and engage more with society in order to give back after all we have been given.

    2. Education generates habits of application, order and the love of virtue; and controuls, by the force of habit, any innate obliquities in our moral organization.

      I believe this is an extremely important sentence as it reflects the thoughts of what an education should be. They want students to become more applied and become better people, not those designed for specific jobs. Our morals our driven by what we learn in school and this shows how important schooling is to society and to each individual person. School is where a student is developed in order to become a citizen of the working world.

  4. Oct 2017
    1. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness, but a besotted veneration for the supposed supe[r]lative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization.

      This sentence exemplifies the "superior" mentality of the people that are part of a industrialized society as opposed to the indigenous population. Although education is important in furthering the knowledge of humankind and making advancements to help, it is also important to look back and learn from the past. It is not as if the indigenous people didn't learn, they just never learned to study the subjects of ideas. They were grounded in their own ways and they refused to change because they were happy with what they had. Civilization has brought people many great advancements but it also has wrung terrible consequences. The times of simplicity are gone and, the peace of that simplicity, with it.

    2. To develope the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds cultivate their morals, & instil into them the precepts of virtue & order.

      This is an interesting quote when one considers the implications of the time period with when this was written. In today's world, many adults are opposed to the ideals that the millennials are bringing into the world because they are different. I am unsure if, when writing this document, anyone considered the monumental changes that could occur if they allow the youth to develop and "cultivate" their own morals. People might think ideally but when change comes along they believe it is wrong even though it is what they wanted in the first place. School is a very important place to learn about society and culture and this is why students' minds are shaped by schooling. They develop their own thoughts based off of what they believe is right for society by learning about its strengths and weaknesses. After schooling however, people still need to accept the fact that they are still learning about the world and everything is subject to change; they cannot stay within the same frame of mind or else the world will not be able to advance towards a better future.

  5. Mar 2017
    1. With the dissemination of large textual data- bases via media such as disks, authors and editors lose control over their work: users can generate subsets, modify them according to their own sense of what constitutes improvements, and even change them so as to avoid charges of plagiarism and copyright infringement.

      Interesting how this sense of loss of control always comes back. I think nowadays we wouldn't say this. Cf. Shapiro et al 1985.

    1. p. 25

      Perhaps the attribute of electronic mail systems that most distinguishes them from other forms of communication is their propensity to evoke emotion in the recipient--very likely because of misinterpretation of some portion of the form or content of the message--and the liklihood that the recipient will then fire off a response that exacerbates the situation.... All these factors taken together create a novel situation that must be taken into account repeatedly in using electronic mail systems.

      One additional factor often mentioned is anonymity. It would appear that persons sending electronic mail to others over a network who are not know in person might be freer in communicating feelings than to friends or associates. [go on to say that they haven't seen this]

    2. Interesting that this argues for editorship--i.e. McCarty's approach, rather than free-flow, Conner's.

    3. p. 21

      One of the most surprising things about electronic mail is the ease with which misinterpretations arise. People are used to reading "body language," voice intonation, and numerous other cues when interpreting messages deleviered in conversation, or even on the telephone. Those cues are missing in electronic mail, and what was meant as a casual comment, or an attempt at humour or irony, is misinterpreted.

    4. pp. 15-16

      Interesting discussion of typographic contextualisation cues between quick informal email and more deliberate one. Recommends that the READER take a different approach to each.

      Why do we care about the level of formality of a message? Simply because the content of the second message should be given more attention and care when received than the first. Words were chosen in the second, and therefore could be expected to be chosen carefully to convey the meaning intended. In the first, informal, message, the words might well have been dashed off, and should be taken quite lightly. You should not try to read deep meaning into a hasty note. (In our other written correspondence, we have other clues: scribbled notes on the back of an envelope are treated more informally than typed letters. However, on your terminal, all electronic messages in one sense look the same, so greater attention must be paid to what clues there are to their level of informality.) [Emphasis added].

    5. p. 14 reference to "Smiley face"

    6. p 14. Discusses "the tradition of flaming" on ARPAnet.

    7. p. 13 Already aware of the issue of proliferation

      Electronic mailboxes fill up with peripheral material that needs to be scanned and continuously culled. If one of your recipients decides that somebody else needs to see a message, it can be forwarded at that time.

      Consider an extreme but possible case: A message contains a distribution list of 20 people. Let's say the message asks for comments on a position paper. Each of the recipients responds, copying all the original recipints... Each of those answers is in turn comments on by each original recipient, copying all original recipients. This process generates 421 messages in every person's inbox, with the total system containing 16,421 messages. If each message takes an average of 100 characters, this process has used up 1.6 megabytes of disk storage.This is, in addition, of course, to the social cost of all the human time and effort that has gone into this electronic correspondence.

    8. p. 14 Recommendation for people to summarise replies on "special insterest group"

      A related phenomenon is the "special interest group," a named group of recipients having a common interest, and exchanging messages on that topic, accross computers and across the country. Within these groups, a common means of reducing message prliferation is for a message author to ask, in the message itself, that replies be forwarded directly to him or her; the original author will summarize in a later message the replies received for the benefit of the group. This is a good idea that should become a common protocol, invoked by a commonly understood keyword or phrase in a message.

    9. p. 11 recognise the emotional aspect even then

      Within these categories, we highlight the issues related to the emotional impact of electronic messages, since the immediacy of the medium, and yet the remoteness of the participants, leads to some unique problems in this regard.

    10. p. 11. How it is different from other things

      We have tried to indicate that electronic mail is different. Part of what we mean by that is that the old telephone or letter-writing rules of behavior do not automatically transfer over to this medium and work. You don't write business letters as electronic messages; messages are usually more informal. And yet electronic messages are not printed telephone conversations either. What we find is that the medium is different enough, and the average user's experience has been short enough, that problems arise. Meanings are misunderstood. Tempers flare and cause ill-conceived responses to be written. Many recipients' time is wasted reading content-free or irrelevant messages.

      What we need is a new set of rules: how to be a constructive, courteous sender and receiver or electronic messages. We certainly do not have this set of rules, all tied up in a tidy package. We do, however, feel it is important to hasten the cultural evolution toward this goal. What follows, then, is a discussion of some of the important guidelines we've observed from experience.

    11. p. 11 Point about evolution and new technologies

      People have had about 50,000 years' experience in the use of speech and gestures, 5,000 years' experience in writing, and about 100 years' use of the telephone. This cultural history should not be taken lightly; the entire fabric of our society has been shaped in significant part by cultural accommodations to our means of communicating.

      As individuals of the species, living within a particular culture, we have a particular messaging history: from borth, we learn speaking roles and rules from conversations. By age 4 or 5, some basic telephone habits are learned (such as: "Say something when you pick up the receiver have it rings--don't just stand there sliently"). By age 7, we are writing non-trivial messages. The average adult has accumulated hundreds,--perhaps thousands--of rules of behaviour regarding telephone and written ethics and etiquette, from practical experiences with these tools since those early years.

    12. p. 9 Note that pre-email, all correspondence went via secretary.

      Traditionally, Organizations have channeled and filtered their message flows long corporate hierarchical lines. For example:

      • You do not send a memo to your supervisor's boss without a copy to your supervisor, and usually not without explicit prior permission.
      • Secetaries filter incoming mail, telephone calls, and inter-office memos. For senior executives, ALL communications (other than in meetings and conferences) pass through this important filter.

      These mechanisms have evolved to support the corporate structure, and to conserve the time and attention of its executives. Comparable mechanisms are not yet in place for electronic mail. Executives working in the evening at personal computers at home can send messages without "copying" their secretaries, resulting in those secretarties being "out of the loop" on matters of which they're normally aware. A junior executive can send a message to a senior executive, bypassing several | levels of control.

    13. Shapiro, Norman, and Robert H. Anderson. 1985. “Toward an Ethics and Etiquette for Electronic Mail.” Product Page. http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/R3283.html.

  6. Mar 2016
    1. I stick up for people when they're right.

      This may be Trump's main point. He is sticking up for Lewandowski because 'he's right'. A show of loyalty despite the cost - "It would be easier to fire him than sit talking to you about this all night long". The show is political, and appeals to his base.

  7. Sep 2015
    1. historical political boundaries of the native Americans

      We view the world in these simplified 2D representations of clearcut political entities. Fredrik Barth and Benedict Anderson have said quite a few important things about these issues of maps and boundaries.