Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Nonsense

Monty Python & the Ad hoc, non-sequitor logical fallacy
There's something very summery about Monty Python--before TiVo and On-Demand TV, you had to fill summer TV watching with either strange movie recommendations from friends or settle with Golden Girls, Cheers and other re-runs. So it also happened to coincide that the summer between freshmen and sophomore year when I was exposed to the learned, and/or acquired taste of Monty Python.

I was thinking that I some how wanted to work Monty Python in as an example of ad hoc that which does not follow logically after one another. The Deus ex machina of the foot coming out of the sky provides its own kind of non-sequencial logic; yet, the ending of Holy Grail came to mind because of the anachronistic, meta conscious recognition of the film at the end of the film.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Latina/o Caucus Newsletter Article

Cross-Promotion Sin Verguenza
I was speaking with a colleague and friend of mine the other day and she mentioned that she'd seen the article I wrote in the most recent NCTE Latina/o Caucus Newsletter. It occurred to me that I had yet to post a link from my very own blog.
It's a really great issue, and I'm not just saying that because I'm in it. The editors Janie Jaramillo Santoy and Alexandra Hidalgo did an amazing job of working with the contributors and putting out a professionally crafted product.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Student Favorite

Over the summer, the topic of SB 1070 arose in my rhetorical analysis course because of our geographic context, the student population and the numerous discourses that frame both sides of the issue.
When it came to the issue of 'how do you tell who's illegal' without racial profiling, this Daily Show clip seemed to be an effective point of departure. Many of the white collar New Yorkers in the clip demonstrate the logistical issues related to proving citizenship. The humor of course derives from the fact that none of these people of privilege would ever really experience the legitimacy of their citizenship.
The Anthropologist DeGenova at Columbia makes an important point about the issue of immigration when he says that we need to pay attention to how legality is addressed because it shows us the uncertain state of our own citizenship and rights.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Suspicious Behavior on Cinco de Mayo
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Part of Rhetorical Question Don't You Understand?

The Unvoiced Assumption in Enthymemes Meant to Maintain Privilege

A favorite refrain on the right as a part of the immigration debate is: 'What part of illegal don't you understand?'
As a rhetorical question, it gets at the issue of language, but uses the law as its primary ethical appeal. The unvoiced assumption in the syllogism is that we all conduct ourselves in a manner in accordance with the "law."

In Chapter 10 of Book I in Rhetoric, Aristotle makes the point that there are two kinds of law: the specific to a community, and the understanding that exists within the social contract of treating one another civil.

“We may describe "wrong-doing" as injury voluntarily inflicted contrary to law. "Law" is either special or general. By special law I mean that written law which regulates the life of a particular community; by general law, all those unwritten principles which are supposed to be acknowledged everywhere” (Book I, Chapter 10 1369a)

While the "law" is often deployed as an end all to public discussions about right and wrong, the presupposed acknowledged understanding between humans goes ignored, and unacknowledged.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Great Student Work

Public Argument Assignment

It's hard to really say anything except I feel a bit the role of the proud teacher with these student videos that were done as a part of a public argument assignment based on their research and analysis of a controversy.




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"El Machete" as Talking Point

Lining Up to Buy Tickets

It's hard to believe that this trailer has been out since Cinco de Mayo and I've only just now seen it. What I hope is that El/The Machete takes on a Zoot Suit Pechuco-like status, a cultural symbol to rally around, if you will; hopefully the kitsch factor will outweigh representations in the film that inspire criticism. The representation of El Machete as an exoticized 'other' should be pointed out, with all of the over-sexualized "he gets the ladies" trappings of the person of color should be noted; yet, the Jessica Alba character seems to have a character arch that reflects the enlightening of a close-minded, self-hating Latina who becomes empowered all the while Machete goes after Brewer/Arpaio types.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Scabs Crossing the Picket Lines

Barbados-born, English and Canadian Musicians Ignore AZ Boycott

Apparently Rihanna's umbrella isn't connected to a picket sign; after low sales in Joe Arpaio's neck of Maricopa county, Rihanna moves her concert to Tucson, ignoring the boycott of musicians like Kanye and Zach De La Rocha of AZ due to SB 1070.

After Elton John sang at Rush Limbaugh's wedding (, personal politics don't seem to sway the Rocket Man as much as capital. As Meth and the Wu put it, John's motto might very well be: Cash Rules Everything Around Me, CREAM, get the money, dollar, dollar bills y'all.

I'm not hip enough to know the New Pornographers, but I imagine they could fall into this category on Stuff White People And everyone seems to know that Robert Plant can't hit any high notes anymore, but that shouldn't cloud his judgment. In the rhetoric of the right: What part of Boycott don't they understand?

Something tells me that these foreign born (un)documented migrant laborers won't have to show their documents before taking their respective stages. Tucson is a small market town that doesn't get very many Top 40 headline acts, but this is hardly a reason to condone SB 1070 by ignoring the boycott. Concertgoers, what's your price?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shared Assumptions about Mexicans Pt. 2

Illegal Alien Problems

Unlike the "Bionic Mexican" clip, this one actually brings up the issue of immigration with regard to non-Latinos/as even though in the clip, as in reality, the majority who are targeted are Latinos/as. Wanting to practice hermeneutic generosity, I find myself contemplating humor as art, although art tends to be defined as something un-cliche, unless its pop-art drawing attention to itself; so, I recognize the blurry territory of humor used to criticize and humor used to reproduce negative discourse that can be seen in this play on the immigration issue in California.

Shared Assumptions about Mexicans

The Bionic Mexican

There are a couple of these clips on the adult swim website from the Robot Chicken show. In each, we see a cliche image of a "Mexican" in a sombrero that plays to all of the hackneyed representations of Mexicans, reviving the image and thus keeping the dominant accusation of deficiency alive in the public discourse.