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May 2010. Interrogating Twitter. Paper given at Sydney Writers Festival, May, 2010.

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5 responses

13 05 2011
Leslie Jamieson

Hi Ruth,
I was just contemplating buying your book Expletive Deleted. I was raised with a healthy fear of bad language, and am surprised at the increased usage of bad language among all social classes. I was wondering why the term Nigger hasn’t increased as well, along with Faggot. Facebook users many times say WTF, WTH, LMFAO, FML and Where the eff is ….and so on. Lately, I am noticing an increase in just spelling the word without abbreviations. I don’t think I am a language snob, but would no more use the F word than call someone a nigger. I have a theory that it is socially acceptable to put down religious groups, namely Christians, but not socially acceptable to put down Gays or Black people.
What are your thoughts?
Sincerely,
Leslie Jamieson

13 05 2011
ruthwajnryb

Hello Leslie, thank u for your comments. I like the contemplation about the purchase of my book and hope it moved from inside your head right up to the cashier. Only joking! I assume you’re in the US? The book is called Expletive Deleted there, but is published under other titles in Australia and the UK.
A few comments on your comments:
1. I’m not sure that I can agree with the phrase “a healthy fear of bad language”. Certainly once one understands where it (bad language) comes from and how it works, there’s no fear at all.
2. I don’t use Facebook but I suggest the reductive codes are less a matter of euphemism and more a case of economy of effort.
3. I agree wholeheartedly that “fuck” and “nigger” are not in the same category: “fuck” is to do with the taboos related to sex, largely gone now; “nigger” relates to the (new) taboos on minority identity, and they apply very strongly now. That’s why you’ll find “fuck” on every corner, and not “nigger”.
4. In a nutshell, the kinds of words that are taboo in a particular time and place vary by where that society is “at” – right now, in the Anglo Western world certainly, it’s taboo to denigrate a person on matters of their identity, esp when these are not a matter of choice (eg colour, sexuality). Religion is another matter – when it’s not mixed up with race (eg as in Judaism), religion can be seen as a matter of choice, therefore is not one of the politically correct minority groups that are covered by the taboo.

Am I making sense?
regards, Ruth

26 05 2011
marie carruthers

Hello, Ruth.

Love your work!

I have written a short paper on ‘Vortextuality’ and wonderded if you’d be interested in reading it.

Regards,
Marie

26 05 2011
ruthwajnryb

dear Marie,
Sure! I’d love to know what Vortextuality is! So yes, in response to your question!
Ruth

27 05 2011
marie carruthers

On Vortextuality

This paper is, in part, a response to Dr Arnold’s paper on “Understanding and Critiquing the Electronic Text”. Due to the urgency of gathering stronger methodologies for the support of interactive learning, the writer encourages the development of a new taxonomy of IMM and its concomitant benefits for learners. As a subjective participant in the virtual process, the writer also wishes to modestly address, from a position of binary opposition, (us and them) a louche desire to insert herself into a ‘world that actually writes itself’. (Spivak, 1989: 95)

In essence, the writer proposes that the intersection between theory and practice has become subjected to the breaching forces of the New Shallowism and needs to be further bolstered, not by the use of a mere quadripartite system, but by a fluid, far-reaching, quinpartite amalgam. Since the in-built redundancy of extant criteria will only lead learners further up the scholarly garden path, it is time for the ‘gatekeepers’ to submit to the new forms of ‘oracy’ and position themselves outside the epistemological certainty that restrains new thought. “Let the technology speak for itself,” as Postman so unequivocally surmises. After all, it is the technology that has firmly decided its uses, after the fact of its own evolution and design; technological determinism must be alluded to vehemently in any discussion on vocal equivalence.

The premise of this new amalgam is a fifth arm, constituted by a radically new term: Vortextuality. In the vortextual environment, theory becomes subject to the suctional forces of its own multiple discourses; technology, with its own flippant voice, creates the conditions for shallowism and ‘a post-paradigmatic diaspora’ to thrive. This new order creates the final full stop on the ‘totalising narratives’ so ardently condemned by Norris et al. The castrating effects of the great ‘meta-narratives’ can be put to rest and their remains buried under the immediate dispersal of certainty.

The academic crossroads of postmodernist deconstruction cannot remain barricaded against the cultural apartheid of disengagement forever. The lack of authorship evident in cybertext must be embraced as a way of ‘vortextualising’ the new frontier of academic pursuit. The totalising nature of vortextuality supersedes any discussion on intertextuality and the writer will amiably submit to the judgment of her peers for further discussion of these issues.

copyright: M. Carruthers 2011

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