Rhetoric of Cool: Ch 2 Chora

Rice, Jeff. “Chora.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media.” Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 30-46. Print.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“Chora,” as a chapter, begins and ends with example. The opening example is his attempt to understand 1963 outside of written texts on rhetorical history. He looks at iconic representations of 1963 and discovers JFK’s assassination (my main public association) and MLK Jr’s “I Have a Dream” (which I didn’t know was given in 1963), which he expands to include the cool of James Dean, James Brown’s music, and American Graffiti.

Basically, he took “cool” and looked for where and how it was used. The topos driven ad imagery of cool was young, fashion related, hip, popular, and rebellious (31). Rice takes Aristotle’s place and offers the internet as the organizing principle (is that right idea?). What things does he discover about cool by surfing around for it?

Looking at cool this way re-structures what is cool. He cites Gregory Ulmer’s Heuretics: The Logic of Invention and says that we can expand our writing by using all the meanings.

Chora teaches “how to make connections” (Rice 35).

Rice says both readers and writers are participatory within chora as it is created on the internet. Hypertextual links allow/require the reader to engage and linearity is limited. (This is the connection I was attempting to make with my Old English Readings course when we were reading the bestiaries, particularly the works online: Aberdeen Bestiary and the Book of Kells.)

I also noted in the margin that this is the practice/push for the new Tenure and Promotion packages scholars at my university must create; the T&P “binders of doom” have been replaced by a blog with links and images. On a related and somewhat discursive note, I wondered why they had not just adopted iBooks as our T&P production method. But iBooks may actually provide/force more linearity than they wanted. I guess I will find out as I work on my non-linear T&P portfolio online this summer particularly.

Through his embedded invention discussion, he prioritizes the digital because it was online that he sought and found the streams of competing and complementing ideas of cool.

Rice mentions (rather than discusses, because there is limited development) an assignment he has given his students. It comes, or has come, in two iterations. In one, he asks students to find a word in their discipline, their field of study, to research and see all the different ways that word is used.

Come to think of it, that is very much like what I am doing with this study.

The other option is to examine all the courses the student is taking that semester and find a single word that is involved in all of them and investigate that.

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