Friday, November 11, 2005

two ideas

I watched a lot of ppt music videos today, and read student reflections about that work. Most students can see the value of choosing the right image to match with the song and the overall message; I wonder if the analogy to working with sources would make sense? Locating, choosing, and using a direct quotation from a source, for example, is similar to locating just the right image (not usually an easy thing to do) because there are many images--choosing the right one is important to the overall message of the paper / videos. Choosing a quotation from an essay might be like cropping a photo--sometimes we get images that have a lot of information, but we have to select and crop from within that image. That probably isn't a useful analogy, because most video composers use full images, rather than cropped images.

Thinking through this analogy, however, highlights some fair use and citation issues. In the video, students tend to use whole images, but I think they understand that they shouldn't just insert a whole essay into their own essay. Or maybe there is yet another issue highlighted here: students aren't sure how to "crop" an essay, how to pick out the right "image" from an essay that is full of images.

Well, I could say more, but I want to get my other idea down before I lose it. I was just thinking about one of my dream articles--what McLuhan means for English studies. I was thinking of Rice's article on McLuhan and composition, and the media ecology article on McLuhan for rhetoric, and there is the Frye-McLuhan comparision that Cavell has done, but what about McLuhan for the whole enterprise rather than breaking him up. McLuhan as the glue, or at least a touchstone, or whatever the right image would be--which in fact is something that McLuhan envisioned, although he certainly didn't have composition on his radar. I was also thinking about McLuhan as anti-environment for English studies: clearly more conservative, un-disciplined, vernacular and populist rather than specialized and professionalized. Starts to move in the direction of The Arts of Living. Hmm--that seems pretty good.

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