DISCOURSE as quilting

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Archive for December 2013

remnant 46: “the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard”

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Speaking for myself, I am utterly delighted to receive the Sydney Peace Prize. But I must accept it as a literary prize that honors a writer for her writing, because contrary to the many virtues that are falsely attributed to me, I’m not an activist, nor the leader of any mass movement, and I’m certainly not the “voice of the voiceless”.

(We know of course there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.) I am a writer who cannot claim to represent anybody but herself. So even though I would like to, it would be presumptuous of me to say that I accept this prize on behalf of those who are involved in the struggle of the powerless and the disenfranchised against the powerful. However, may I say I accept it as the Sydney Peace Foundation’s expression of solidarity with a kind of politics, a kind of world-view, that millions of us around the world subscribe to?

It might seem ironic that a person who spends most of her time thinking of strategies of resistance and plotting to disrupt the putative peace, is given a peace prize. You must remember that I come from an essentially feudal country -and there are few things more disquieting than a feudal peace. Sometimes there’s truth in old cliches. There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice.

Arundhati Roy: The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture


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December 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm

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remnant 45: “The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood”

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December 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm

remnant 44: “I make my own announcements. Into the garbage can, so it echoes.”

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What time is it right now? Do you have to go?

Yeah. It’s time for announcements.

I make my own announcements. Into the garbage can, so it echoes.


I tell myself to come to the office.


Then I pace in circles, waiting for me to show up. I wait and I wait, you know. I wait and I wait in the office, she said, but me never comes. (p. 188)

Titus and Violet, Feed, M. T. Anderson

Feed, M.T. Anderson

See Adam Bessie’s School ™: Resist the Feed, Feed the Resistance:

While many have commented on how accurate the 11-year old Feed is in its predictions of social networking and mobile technology, its dire predictions on the corporatization of education are no less accurate – and certainly, no less frightening.  Published in the same year as the No Child Left Behind was implemented, Feed takes Friedman’s anti-government belief on education to its logical conclusion: that of a corporate monopoly on our children’s minds.

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December 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

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remnant 43: “I would like to be that unnoticed”

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Variation on the Word Sleep

by Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

From Selected Poems II: 1976-1986 by Margaret Atwood. Copyright © 1987 by Margaret Atwood. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

Selected Poems II Poems Selected & New 1976-1986

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December 8, 2013 at 3:47 am

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remnant 42: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture”

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the problem 2

Can the Taught Book Speak?

Charles Bingham, Antew Dejene, Alma Krilic, and Emily Sadowski

Simon Fraser University

This figure of the teacher vis-à-vis the book might be formulated as follows: A teacher teaches a book. However, the teacher is not fully a teacher unless the book is not fully a book. That is to say, a teacher needs a book, but she needs a particular kind of book: a book in chains, a banned book, a book that does not speak for itself. If a teacher were to teach a free book, a book unfettered by place, space, or human voice, then the teacher would not be a teacher. A teacher without a book to call her own —without a book to chain in some way, shape, or form — ceases to be , as a teacher.

To put this another way, as soon as a teacher teaches a book, then the book ceases to be a book. A book, after all, is meant to be free . A book is written. It is written to be read. A book is a book precisely because it is meant to be read, and to be read by anyone. It is meant to be read by anyone who chooses to read the book. If it were not to be read by anyone, then it would not be a book, but would rather be a private communiqué. This bookness of the book signifies something important for educators. Namely, it is not in the nature of a book to be taught. Why? Because a book is, itself, language. It is language that speaks. If the book was not language, if it did not speak, then it would not be a book. A book is not intended to be interpreted into speech. A book does not require that people come to consensus about what it says. A book is itself  consensus. It already says something before any consensus. There is no book that requires or expects a teacher, just as there is no speaking person who requires or expects a teacher. A book speaks in and of itself. It speaks without the need of parasites, chains, or megaphones. (p. 203)

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December 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm

remnant 41: “poor Americans are urged to hate themselves”

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America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves….It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. (p. 164)

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

And thus…

Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor:

We don’t use the term “working class” here because it’s a taboo term. You’re supposed to say “middle class,” because it helps diminish the understanding that there’s a class war going on….

This is just one part of a long and continuing class war against working people and the poor….

The rich societies, like the United States and Canada, are acting in ways to bring about disaster as quickly as possible. That’s what it means, for example, when both political parties and the press talk enthusiastically about “a century of energy independence.” “Energy independence” doesn’t mean a damn thing, but put that aside. A century of “energy independence” means that we make sure that every bit of Earth’s fossil fuels comes out of the ground and we burn it. In societies that have large indigenous populations, like, for example, Ecuador, an oil producer, people are trying to get support for keeping the oil in the ground. They want funding so as to keep the oil where it ought to be. We, however, have to get everything out of the ground, including tar sands, then burn it, which makes things as bad as possible as quickly as possible. So you have this odd situation where the educated, “advanced” civilized people are trying to cut everyone’s throats as quickly as possible and the indigenous, less educated, poorer populations are trying to prevent the disaster. If somebody was watching this from Mars, they’d think this species was insane.

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December 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Kurt Vonnegut, remnant 41

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