Thursday, July 14, 2005


Pretty immersed in planning 110 right now; thinking about Klosterman as the first "affective" critic of the 21st century. Affect is the hot buzz word in pedagogy right now, but I haven't exactly seen it applied to writing, a style of writing, a kind of writing that is generally dismissed as emotional, sentimental, etc. He has been described as a "fanboy," fans and critics of his write about his enthusiasm, his optimism, David Byrne is quoted on the back cover as saying that Klosterman writes about how hair music feels, how our media saturated lives feel, and that seems to be a pretty ringing endorsement for Klosterman as affective critic. Oh yeah, and the feeling is in the details.

The affective critic would have some sort of relationship to the organic critic, but I will have to figure out what that is.

Sirc's writing strikes me as "affective," I like how it sounds, how it feels. He is hard on the voiceless, bodiless prose of academic writing.

These tensions continue to bump and grind in the way that tensions between professionalism and anti-professionalism or amateurism always bump and grind. The dynamic is give and take, not a matter of drawing lines in the sand. Sirc's affective writing, alt.dis movements, the personal in the academic, have all pushed the line of professionalism back, which then raises the question: if affective writing becomes the dominant prose style in the field, is it still anti-professional? I guess McLuhan would just say figure and ground have reversed, and that a call for professionalism--perhaps in a new form?--will return.

The pragmatic question is: will affective criticism do the work we want it to do? It does seem to be writing that is more like television, more like electracy; oh yeah, K. has written a MyStory. The formula: personal encounter / personal significance, cultural perception, cultural perception re-considered.


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