Saturday, April 4, 2009

Schizoids vs. Fascoids

Vitanza creates a catalogue of historiographies to "establish a category that would destroy the categorizing, that would unname the naming" (84).  What's at stake is none other than the attenuation of fascism.  Let's get to it.

Fittingly it is a system of 3, which produces a host of subcategories.

1.  Traditional
(a): time/narrative as a controlling device
(b): time/narrative not as a controlling device

The logic that binds here is the "covering-law model." Events have causes.  They can be sifted to the surface.  Facts can be archived.  Historians can be objective.  Ideology can be put off, cast aside, silenced for a time for the good of the history being written.  This is, of course, a fiction and in itself an ideology.

2.  Revisionary
(a):  full disclosure
...seeks to bring overlooked evidence or incorrect interpretations to light.  This doesn't mean that revisionary history must address a previously made argument (i.e. as "correction/addition"); it can also assemble evidence in a new way to demonstrate the erroneous thrust of a prevailing ideology or convention (i.e. working as "recollection/reconception").  Thus, it is more ideologically aware than traditional historiography.

(b): self-conscious critical
...admits no facts as facts.  Everything is an interpretation, even the self-aware ideology (see full disclosure) a form of self-deception.  It springs from Vitanza's triumvirate of "Post-Enlightenment, self-conscious critical practices"—Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud.

3.  Sub/Versive
A practice that radicalizes Nietzsche's call to doubt and suspicion.  It distinguishes itself from "self-conscious critical" by how it approaches the gaps and ambiguities in the writing of history.  Instead of merely trying to speak to them, address them, Sub/Versive historiography endeavors to exploit them, to play within their contradictions and thereby reveal the machinations of power that heave and ho within every history.  This last category posits possibility as a curative to power, the schizoid instead of the fascoid, all the while knowing that a final revolution, an ultimate cure, is impossible.

Now to categorize some essays via vv:

vv himself names him so.  But to defend my label on my own terms, take this one sentence:

"Of all the rhetorical systems that have appeared down through the ages, classical rhetoric had the most to say about style, so that if we want to consciously cultivate style, we will get the most help from the classical rhetoric texts, which took style seriously." (67)

The visual metaphor of "down through the ages" itself is a tip of the hand.  One can see almost the straight, unbroken line of narrative, peaking stylistically in the classical period before sloping into our own time.  Also, clearly for Corbett, classical texts comprise a period with marked conventions and unities.  They can, thus, be ascribed a single voice, one that proclaims "We take style seriously."  No mention is given of the generalizations and exclusions necessary to make such a claim, nor of the politics involved in doing so.

Revisionist (full disclosure)
The article is specifically and consistently directed to "professional communicators" who are likely to be under the influence of false or muddy understandings of copyright law and are in need of "a more thorough understanding of the principles upon which modern copyright laws are based" (407).  Prevailing social conventions need realignment.

So the essay is recollection/reconception, falling at times into the methods of traditional historiography (see the "facts" of the British origins of copyright law), and, at others, into the ideological awareness of Post-Enlightenment self-criticism (see the preface), but never exploiting ambiguity enough to subvert the article's purported power to empower professional communicators in the workplace.

Revisionist (self-conscious critical)
Zappen is primarily concerned with "differences in point of view...both historical and historiographic" concerning the scientific rhetoric of Francis Bacon (74).  In delimiting these, Zappen is careful to situate his own view of a plain style within a network of other approaches.  His qualification that "these possibilities are not exhaustive or conclusive" finishes an argument that embraces pluralism, is skeptical of monolithic voices, yet still strives to clarify an ambiguity which more sub/versive writers would exploit.

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