Rhetoric of Cool: Ch 6 Nonlinearity

Rice, Jeff. “Nonlinearity.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media.” Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 111-32. Print.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“variations in mode of discourse” produce multiple variations (Rice 111)

modes enforce rationality and coherence (quoting Berlin, Rice 111)

Research in Written Composition says “modes project writing as…a rational act clarified in formulaic arrangements” (Rice 112)

“a culture has been a mechanical fate for societies, the automatic interiorization of their own technologies” (qtd McLuhan, Rice 112)

“Print locked words into space and thereby established a firmer sense of closure” (Ong qtd in Rice 114).

nonlinearity maneuvers around textual closure (Rice 114)

Manovich shows “without expanding definitions regarding how interactivity affects nonlinear writings dependence on a fixed, and not very helpful, understanding of new media and narrative will continue” (Rice 115)

tools that help writers “envision complex alternatives” (Nelson qtd in Rice 115)

narrative = indiv strands of thought
Rice suggesting multiple strands (116)

“the multiplicity is the rhetoric” (Rice 116)

Databases are tomorrow’s encyclopedias (Rice 116). This is how the social work grad students are using them, in a way. Yes, for research, but also for basic ideas and information.

“Among choices and alternatives, among differing threads of data” (Rice 117).

“training in all of the procedures that can increase one’s ability to connect the fields [of information] jealously guarded from one another by traditional organization of knowledge” (Lyotard 52, qtd in Rice 117).

encourage connection, inter-disciplinarity (Rice 117)

note where they intersect, rather than where stories are told (Rice 118)

“employ narrative to deal with new media and hence neglect to utilize new media for so-called “new” purposes” (Rice 118)

audience’s responsibility to engage with the multiple strands and intersections (Rice 119)

“nonlinearity challenges of how we order information in the digital” (Rice 119)

“The challenge for composition studies is how to write in such a manner without resorting to narrative storytelling” (Rice 121).

can “appropriate… rhetorical ‘communicative devices’ for writing to the Web” (Rice 122)

can use literature “to apply a nondigital rhetorical method to digital writing” (Rice 122)

“Kerouac’s rhetoric of nonlinearity” (Rice 122) discussed 120-122

Tim Berners-Lee talks about digital production and its “nonlinearity is not tied to narrative… but to expression in general” (Rice 123).

“This matrix of data can be composed and written in any number of ways” (Rice 123).

“Writers think in terms of relationship, not separate threads of thought. … They generate nonlinear, associative links among a variety of sites and images.” (Rice 123)
hmmm… mind maps do this visually–association is a form of memory, too. I’ve started talking about books by authors alphabetically following the one my husband and I were just discussing because that is how the books are arranged in our bookshelves.

“The rhetoric underlying this nonlinearity is association” (Rice 124).
so the rhetoric of association… mind palaces came to my head

Amazon.com and Aol.com use “semantic information structures toward information creation and distribution” (Rice 125).

How can we use consumer-driven nonlinear associative threads/strands for composition-oriented writing? (Rice 125)

Thinking here that this book and these assignments might make an interesting/useful advanced composition course. Do we teach that still? Who teaches it?

Talking specifically about Hewlett Packard’s CoolTown software (125), which he doesn’t like, but mentions things that are important (and relevant to the attempt and compositions studies and writing), adding WebCT to them (129):
“first-class citizens of the Web” (Rice 126)
“users must rethink how communication operates” (Rice 126)
“writers compose on the fly…from a variety of positions at once” (Rice 126)
“present multi-threaded points and ideas; to be simultaneously in contact with multiple audiences” (Rice 127)
“to transfer writing from the static, printed page to the mobile” (Rice 127)
“a new media pedagogical vision” (Rice 127)
“anytime/anywhere” learning (Rice 129)
“multi-threaded experiences of information gathering and production” (Rice 129)

Pedagogical approach to nonlinear writing
values nonlinearity, but not in relation to a specific technology or software (131)
“asks students to compose for the Web via a series of threads” (Rice 131)
This informational thread series creates/uses/is nonlinear organization. (Rice 131)
“In place of the linear model encouraged by the fixed places of argument (the topos), cooled topics branch out according to how users discover new connections among words, ideas, quotes, allusions, or some other issue” (Rice 131).
in flux, state of change, created to maintain changeability/preserve permeability

“Burroughs’s random topics can be expanded upon in a number of ways based on associative reasoning. Each phrase … can be interlinked and extended in connection with one or more of the others” (Rice 131).
Is this like 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon or is that an example of misuse and linearity?

“writers explore a number of thoughts at once based on how they produce” links (Rice 132)

Assignment
“a list of ideas or thoughts centered around a given topic or series of topics” (Rice 132)
“students develop multiple threads around each point or idea through association, research, discussion, or another method of idea development” (Rice 132)
create either hypertext or wiki
“a wiki can serve this pedagogy better… because of how it leaves each hypertextual project always open for further changes and edits” (Rice 132)
“Each project… can then be connected to the next…” (Rice 132)
multiple points of entry

Reading list:
Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan
Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson
Easter Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow (science fiction) conceptualizes writing and thinking

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