[KB] Question about Resistances to Burke

Edappel8@cs.com 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 
confession box.



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