Class notes, assignments Friday, 29 October 2010, 09:44 AM

Dear Scholars,

Class this week was again beset with technical problems. Much thanks goes to Justin for letting us run the class on his computer and for handling the screen. Thanks also to online student LaRa for serving as host to online class visitors who were confused by the delay. This technical problem has been resolved but who knows what insidious glitches may plague us in the future. Apologies also if the lecture and class were less cogent and cohesive than usual — though as computer traumas do seem to be the norm, it’s not at all clear that there is any established precedent for normality in our class with which to compare. We keep hoping. The recording of the class is online, but the audio doesn’t start until about 10 minutes in.

The theme of this class was the written word, but time was also spent on discussion of innate and intuitive language learning as opposed to the the conscious study of language rules, together with a general discussion of rules as opposed to creativity. On a similarly subversive note, we also revisited the history of Apple somewhat, following up on Derek’s talk on Apple and the lecture by Stephen Fry given at the T3 Gadget Awards 2010 which was assigned for this week. We also viewed the 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial which referenced the dystopian world of Orwell’s Big Brother. This was particularly appropriate as our Windows Vista class computer was non-functional and the class was being conducted on an Apple. We considered the possibility of exploring further the works of George Orwell.

The American storyteller, Garrison Keillor was also mentioned and his
The News From Lake Wobegon broadcast that took place last week which was assigned for this week.

Our supplementary online class on Saturday afternoon was also mentioned. You can watch the class recording.

We also examined this Excerpt from a discussion of Obama’s foreign policy, noting one particular beautifully written but fragmentary sentence and did a quick tour of classroom resources.

Suggestions for the last few minutes of class were requested and 20 questions was submitted. We played 20 questions rather badly.

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
Please watch at least the first part of Unacknowledged Legislation — a speech given at Rutgers University on the power of the written word in politics and social transformation. It’s fairly long, so we’ll give it two weeks. Listen to it for its use of language as well as its message. Be sure to have your vocabulary journals and dictionaries handy.

Suggested writing project — the power of words: Put into words a complaint, diatribe or persuasive work. Express an opinion that you feel strongly about.

Please continue to post and read material in the Balderdash Forum. More words will be added.

Please continue your vocabulary journals.

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