Great stuff — thanks to my friend Chris Slaughter for sharing this link!
SOME RULES AND HINTS FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS
by John Cage
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student – pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher – pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined – this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.”
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything – it might come in handy later.
When we talk about plagiarism these days, we’re not just talking about cheating, we’re talking about a major cultural paradigm shift that’s taking place. We can’t control the shifting paradigm, try as some might, but we might be able to shape it, if we listen to and read with an open mind what our students are doing.
Digital technology makes copying and pasting easy, of course. But that is the least of it. The Internet may also be redefining how students — who came of age with music file-sharing, Wikipedia and Web-linking — understand the concept of authorship and the singularity of any text or image.
A worthy pre-occupation, or an enormous waste of time and energy? Discuss!
A small but vocal subculture has emerged on Twitter of grammar and taste vigilantes who spend their time policing other people’s tweets — celebrities and nobodies alike. These are people who build their own algorithms to sniff out Twitter messages that are distasteful to them — tweets with typos or flawed grammar, or written in ALLCAPS — and then send scolding notes to the offenders. They see themselves as the guardians of an emerging behavior code: Twetiquette.
Grammarians be dammmnede, language is always in flux!
Not until the 17th century did people begin thinking that the language needed to be codified, and the details of who would do that and how have yet to be resolved. Should it be accomplished through a government-sponsored academy, an officially sanctioned dictionary, or what? These and other means were attempted, but meanwhile ordinary folks, dang them, kept right on talking and writing however they wanted, inventing words, using contractions and so on.
Nice piece on the origins of rock, as in “to rock the mic.”
In “Rapper’s Delight,” the M.C. Big Bank Hank raps, “I’m gonna rock the mic till you can’t resist,” using what was then a novel sense of rock, defined by the O.E.D. as “to handle effectively and impressively; to use or wield effectively, esp. with style or self-assurance.” To be sure, singers in the prerap era often used rock as a transitive verb, whether it was Bill Haley promising, “We’re gonna rock this joint tonight,” or the bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup more suggestively wailing, “Rock me, mama.” But the M.C.’s of early hip-hop took the verb in a new direction, transforming the microphone (abbreviated in rap circles as mic, not mike) into an emblem of stylish display. Later elaborations on the theme would allow clothes and other accessories to serve as the objects of rock, as when Kanye West boasted in a 2008 issue of Spin magazine, “I rock a bespoke suit and I go to Harold’s for fried chicken.”
In the spirit of the holiday, I offer up this quite lengthly discussion of Jefferson’s use of chiasmus in the Declaration of Independence from the Language Log (I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough to hold forth on this subject).
The full article includes some very information detail, and some criticism of Strunk & White. I love S & W, but I also love it when linguists and grammarians correct and/or criticize S & W — I’m weird like that.
Here’s the main gist of the article:
Close to the end of the Declaration comes the bold
(1) We must… hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
Yes, yes, this was deliberate. It’s an instance of CHIASMUS, a rhetorical figure in which elements are inverted in the second of two matched phrases, so as to foreground, and emphasize, these elements. (It’s also an example of ASYNDETIC COORDINATION, lacking an explicit conjunction, but that’s not my topic for today.) Still, it falls foul of Strunk & White’s 19th principle in their Elements of Style, “Express coordinate ideas in parallel form”; in fact, it’s a much bolder violation of this principle than the example that Strunk & White begin their discussion with: