October 01, 2002

This will be fun... Typed

This will be fun...

Typed "Helene Cicoux" into Google, because she, moreso than any other literary theory hack(ette), pushed me over the edge into reality and far, far away from academia when she asserted that the doorknob in Edgar A. Poe's story The Murders in the Rue Morgue was not in fact a doorknob, but a clitoris. Really? Well that just clears everything up, Helene! Thanks so much. There's a reason these folks don't publish online, people, and it's because crap like that doesn't fly outside of the rarified air in the ivory tower.

So anyway, typed in "Helene Cicoux." And discovered a course at Kansas State University. I'll translate what this course really means for you, the uninitiated in the ways of Graduate Level English Courses--woo. My comments are in bold.

ENGL 604 — Expository Writing Workshop
Subtitle: Women's Writing and Feminist(s) Rhetoric(s) This isn't about students learning to form arguments. It's about learning that the way they've been forming arguments is wrong, because the rhetorical style was invented by men. Men! They Stink!

Fall 2002
Course Objectives

This course will focus on non-fiction writing by women, feminist rhetorical theory, and writing by students in the class.The unspoken assumption here--and it's probably true--is that this class will consist of 99% wymyn and 1% guilty white men.

Genres will range from speeches, to essays, to autobiography and scholarly articles. Readings in the course will be offered as models of women's use of rhetoric and as theoretical positions from which to think about how women have used rhetoric with and against traditional rhetorical paradigms. When they say "with and against traditional rhetorical paradigms," what they mean is that you'll be studying some really crap arguments that will be held up NOT as poorly argued pieces of writing, but as "examples of feminized rhetoric"--not bad, just different!

We will also be looking to developments in 20th Century rhetoric by such figures as Paulo Friere and Kenneth Burke that may be useful in thinking about the goals of feminist rhetors. Yes, because women are oppressed.....I'm sorry, what? Dozed off there for a moment.

Questions we might pose and try to answer: Do women have an authentic rhetoric apart from men? Do you mean do we speak our own language? Hello? I can save you some time, sister mine.

In what ways do race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference play a role in choosing rhetorical strategies? In the way that you cry oppression and get special consideration, I would guess.

When women speak and write, is something different going on? Yes, we're actually doing laundry. Speaking and writing are clever CODE for housework!

How have women used, subverted, and transformed rhetoric? You know how there's no correct answer to "Do I look fat in this?" That's because our innate feminine ability to use, subvert and transform the male response is awesome to behold!

Some Feminists have called for a “rhetoric of non-domination.” What would such a rhetoric look like? What would such a rhetoric accomplish for its practitioners? It would look like a bunch of pointless yammering and accomplish nothing. Reminds me of a classmate who wanted to replace the word "seminal" with "ovacular." A rhetoric of non-domination would be at least this stupid, and would have the added bonus of rendering everyone incomprehensible to everyone else, because we'd all be free to determine what our own terms meant. Don't oppress me with your dictionary, evil man!

This course will also help you gain some perspective and appreciation on how diverse populations approach communications situations.
Men are welcome. Sure, but please leave those oppressive testicles in the jar on the professor's desk.

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