class discussion: 8/29

sampling of questions rasied and discussed:

Is SB elitist? Is he defining reading as reading the classics? What about reading other kinds of symbolic texts or stories in other media: television, film? What’s wrong with television?

In addition to seeming to define reading narrowly, many raised the concern that he was generalizing too much regarding the technology he disdains. Several noted that he spends more time with his disucssion of print reading, but glosses through references to electronic media. For some, this issue of generalization extended to matters of style: his tone and voice coming across as preaching, unpleasant, condescending. We talked about ways we can start to look at his style (as we will do with all the writers in the course) and how style (not what he says but how he says it) matters in writing: if he wants us to listen to his argument and his concern, we need to be able to hear him.

A final question I thought of after these discussions: Are you/we reading The Gutenberg Elegies the way Birkerts wants or desires us to read? Why or why not?


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