Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CATTt Practice

We are in the stage of forming the poetics that tells us how to construct the concept. The task or challenge of the blog part one is to use the discipline materials gathered via the CATTt to think more better other than we would on our own, just ad-libbing and well-wishing. Here is how the CATTt works (is supposed to work: it is a heuristic, not an algorithm). The acronym does not control the sequence we are following in the seminar, and in fact, the logical relationship among the parts is:
Contrast-Target set the problem
Analogy-Theory give the solution
tale provides a site of synthesis and partial demonstration of the proposed poetics.

In this matrix (simultaneous interactivity), in our case, the problem materializes as public policy (Target) discourse being dominated by commercial (Contrast) thought (not just narrowly, but more profoundly as commodity form, thinking by means of identity experience).

The seminar starts with Theory because Theory names a question that sets the terms of a project. In our case, D&G explain that it is possible to construct concepts, and that philosophy and philosophers do nothing else (properly). We propose to construct a concept, and adopt WIP? as the instruction book (task: translate it into instructions). In their blogs, students document these instructions. We have noted that D&G named our Contrast: Commerce, which they credit with having taken
over concept production, along with everything else in the order of public discourse.

We turn to Contrast, represented by Marchand, his account of the creation of the full commodity sign beginning in the 1920s (which is not the beginning of advertisement, but the first full separation of exchange from use value in guiding the mode). The second inventory of materials then is to discover what sorts of concepts Commerce makes. Remember that Commerce is Contrast because while we accept its formal discoveries (use of icons, schemas, scenarios, tableaux and the like) we reject its propaganda stance on behalf of corporate profit. In short, our goal is thinking, not selling/buying.

The real craft of using the CATTt generator comes at this point: How do we create (invent) a synthesis, a hybrid of D&G and Marchand, an emergent set of instructions
for constructing Internet concepts? Remember that our framing goal as a course in Digital English, is to ask after the sorts of concepts that work on the Internet, apart from the fully argued concepts of specialized literacy. For our project, the conceptual persona will take a more important role, perhaps altering the hierarchy of the literate concept, in which problem and persona are subordinate to concept (proper).

In any case, this negotiation between our Theory and Contrast is mediated by an important overlap or shared area of interest: opinion. The trick of Commerce, but also of sophistry or rhetoric in general, is the enthymeme. The argument is persuasive because it uses as proof what I already believe (a hidden and dropped premise). Modern theories of identity show that this enthymeme goes deep, on into the unconscious, and we can get into that region somewhat, however superficially, when we talk about "fantasy" (mentioned by Marchand). In any case, we put in the position of "product" as public issue (disaster), and the debates surrounding it (politics, ethics, decision, action). Contrast is for opinion and Theory is against it. Here is a key point for sorting out how to triangulate to our own poetics, by superimposing Theory and Contrast (our two books) and seeing what matches, what conflicts, what reinforces, and what diverges.

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