Monday, May 26, 2014

Chomsky and Ai Wei Wei

Discussion of Two Activist Stars
Coke: Our next presentation: how about a comparison of classical and post-classical?
Rumi: Can you be a little more specific?
Coke: Well, classical is Aristotelian narrative, a story has a beginning, middle and end. Chronological linearity. Post classical is avant garde, fragmented, flashbacks. Discontinuous expository.
Rumi: So who do we take as examples?
Coke: American Noam Chomsky, the classical activist, compared with Chinese Ai Wei Wei, the post-classical activist. Chomsky proceeds point by point. He transitions between. Ai Wei Wei is impressionistically post modern. His scenes are jump cuts.
Rumi: So you propose analyzing films about Chomsky and Ai Wei?
Coke: Watching documentaries might be easier than reading essays.

There might be two false assumptions leading to false analogies here.
(1) Rational argument does not necessarily share a narrative trajectory with a story. An essay does not always have the same structure as a vignette. The discussants will need to argue that essays also can follow classical and post-classical argument.
(2) Films, augmented by visual footage, have a different structure to an essay.

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