[KB] Question about Resistances to Burke
Edappel8 at cs.com
Fri Dec 7 11:21:48 EST 2007
On this list, I guess saying someone wrote or mounted an "attack on
Burke" is equivalent to an attack on that person. I've been chastised for
employing such language in respect to Jim Chesebro. Stick with imputing
"resistance" or "recalcitrance." What appears to be an attack would be best construed
as an "extension" of some kind.
I won't fuss with those distinctions further. I will offer, in
respect to "Urban Jungle Jim Chesebro"---a sobriquet another grad student bestowed
on him while I was at Temple---the two opening paragraphs of a tribute I wrote
about Jim for a special issue of the American Communication Journal, Summer,
2003. This issue was in honor of Michael McGee, who had recently passed away.
McGee had started the "Know Your Footnote" feature that appeared in each
issue. The "Footnote" editor, Stephen Cooper, asked me to contribute one of the
several pieces that were to be included in this comemorative number. I chose
to do it on Jim, since he was my main Burke mentor at Temple, and I knew a
little more about him on a personal level.
Here are those first two paragraphs, which I present as a votive
offering and act of atonement for the sins I committed in yesterday's posts:
"You could call him my mentor, I do believe, although by now he might
wish to disavow any such relationship. Jim Chesebro---ubiquitous reviewer and
association office-holder, Past President of NCA and ECA, editor of two
communication journals, NCA Director of Educational Services, and author of scores
of articles and books in the communication discipline---is, as Gerald Miller
once said of him at a convention in Baltimore, a 'giant in the field.' He was my
focal teacher at Temple U., 1977-1980. I studied Burkeology, dramaturgy,
rhetorical theory and criticism, and popular communication under his tutelage. I
T.A.'d for him in his course on 'Sexual Communication,' covering gender,
orientation, the gamut of issues relating to the symbolization of sex in USAmerican
culture. It was a rich and original course that Jim put together entirely by
"Jim was a great, great lecturer. Being a left-brained and fanatical
note-taker, I found his teaching style consummately stimulating and rewarding
in all subjects. Jim's courses were chock full of clearly explained theory and
apt and up-to-date illustrations from the political, social, and artistic
arenas. He interlarded his talks with references to the most ancient and the most
recent scholarship. He asked probing questions of his students, prodded
thoughful reflections on the topic at hand, as well as pontificated with eloquence
and learning from behind the table or lectern. That hard work and deep thought
accompanied his course preparation was always evident."
You can, if you wish, read the rest of my tribute to Jim at that
journal's website. Just click into "Archives." I did go on to chastise him, I
think humorously, for "going after foreign gods" later in his career, and to
challenge him to a debate. Just joshing, of course.
One thing I want to make clear on this list: This encomium does not
mean I thought Jim the best scholar I encountered in the Rhetoric and
Communication Department at Temple University. That judgment I'll keep to myself.
Temple had a wonderful collection of communication scholars and teachers in the
late 1970s and early 1980s. Temple's department wasn't the biggest, but it was
really, really good. I got there just in the nick of time.
Mortification and victimage, sacrifice other-directed and
self-directed: I think I've covered the ground sufficiently broadly in these posts, in as
"purified" a way as I can. Morals are "fists," Burke says, in both P&C and
PLF. One should tread lightly in imputing guilt for the "sins" or "mistakes" or
"errors" of a supposed recidivism. I'll consider this my day in the
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