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“Fertilizer means rice and socialism”

mwshealy / Theory / 1 Comment

Be the life of academic dinner parties!

CORPORATE – The evolution of corporate culture as a “number of internal, cross-cutting, and overlapping discourse sys­tems” (Scollon), interconnected with professional discourse, Utilitarian discourse, generational discourse, and gender discourse systems, by virtue of being identical with that of the development of Utilitarianism as the dominant ideology of a Western socio-economic “state,” haunts us in the crevices of our lives. The corp-orate “body” of capitalist-based law—virtual persons who exemplify Utilitarian ideas, being entirely fictive and…logically defined as…an economic [entities],” demands we internalize the anterior/posterior to remain incorporated in an economic rhizome, our dual purpose to make a profit (credit) and provide a service (consumption) being always forward in space and later in time—leaks from the remains of human shells…like petroleum byproduct. This corporate culture is the nexus around which business exchanges, financial formulae, parent-offspring relations, and gender binaries—for better and worse—are now able to engage what remains of a human subject.* I’ve worked off and on in corporate settings and found them not be a good fit. Is it because I’m a devolved throwback? I feel so ape-like.

GENERATIONS – The notion of generational exchanges across discourse systems strikes a chord with me. Maybe because I’m an early Gen X teacher of Gen Z enigmas. Puzzles to themselves and to me. The first “digital natives,” they make me feel too physical, too much a monkey man, as if I had one foot in a worn-out reality and one in a disequilibriumalizing dream. Because of their blind willingness to critique without content, “constantly being commented upon and commenting upon others,” I find it difficult to explain metadiscourse or metacommunication or metafiction to them. The entire enterprise of the poststructuralist can mean nothing to the post-postmodern citizen.

GENDER – Gender and sexuality, those touchy subjects that Scollon et. al. fear to touch on, but do a respectable job of talking around: perhaps because “the [impossibility] of speaking of gender and sexuality discourse systems [and] coming to terms with what is meant by gender and sexuality in the first place” makes us want to ignore what apparently is central to our self-identities (Butler fanatics aside). To play the Queer’s advocate, however, we just don’t understand men and women in conversation because the conversation revolves so often around gender and sexuality that all the metadiscourses metastasize each other. Who talks more? Who is direct and who indirect? “One apparent result of this supposed difference is that it leads to intergender miscommunication around the issue of problems and solutions.” I find their final bit of advice worth following, even if they don’t mean for it to be. Find the right fit for your age, race, gender, and corporate preference:

  • “Challenge the rules” – Are you the sort of person who dresses in drag? Reads Marx at stockholder meetings? Smokes pot on the subway? Then your corporate preference may be for Inductive Face in Oral Discourse.
  • “Follow the rules” – Are you the sort of person who feels comfortable in church? Who gets a kick out of organizing drawers? Who appreciates the beauty of a well-developed organizational chart? Then your corporate preference is for Deductive Face in Written Discourse.
  • “Bend the rules” – Do you crave gender-fuck? Do you like the ambiguity of retro- fin de siècle culture? Do you fantasize of polysexuality as a political stance? Then your corporate preference is for the Inductive Face in Written Discourse.
  • “Create new rules” – Want to start from scratch? Do you work to bring about the Apocalypse? Have you dated someone in ISIS? Are guns more important than Bibles in your worldview? Then Deductive Face in Oral Discourse is for you. Why improve on the transcendent when you can destroy the immanent?
  • “Fertilizer means rice and socialism” – If you don’t fit in any of the above categories but still want to self-identity in terms of generation, gender, and corporate preference, go with the newest trend instigated by Kim Jong-un, Counter-deductive Face in anti-inductive Discourse. Be the life of academic dinner parties!

*Scollon et. al. enact the very sort of Utilitarian-corporate discourse system they imply to critique.

Scollon, Ron; Scollon, Suzanne Wong; Jones, Rodney H. (2011-11-21). Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach (Language in Society). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Geetanjali March 30, 2015 Post Reply

So are these dinner part theorist those whom we could call “armchair-marxist” ? I would just love to be a cat in the corner.

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