Heavy Ironing

Heavy Ironing

I was going through Cornel West’s chapter on John Dewey with great fascination. I haven’t read any Dewey yet, because I just have so damn many things to read. But I was really struck by some lines quoted by West:

If the older Scholastic spent his laborious time in erasing the writing from old manuscripts in order to indite thereon something of his own, the new scholastic also has his palimpsest. He criticizes the criticisms with which some other Scholastic has criticized other criticisms, and writing upon writings goes on till the substructure of reality is long obscured. (82)

I did a quick search of Wilson Web for some articles, so that I might get a sense of the contemporary perspective on Dewey. I discovered 251 articles from the last five years, including several long chains of responses to previous articles. I am actually going to read through one of those threads (on eros and teaching). Isn’t it ironic?

Now I really have to read Dewey. I had a good time in class today, teaching in a rather authoritarian manner while deconstructing the authority of an authoritarian article from the NY Times. Hmm, I sense an inescapable pattern here.

I’m not so sure I can finish West’s book in a week. I keep getting distracted by a monumental stack of reading. I started printing out Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Lady Byron Vindicated from ultrafiche. The bloody thing is 423 pages long! But quickly scanning the stuff as it came across the screen, it seems really fun. As hard as I try, I just can’t put anything pertaining to the British Romantics down.

Someone asked the other day why I was so fascinated by the Romantics. It’s the indictment of ideology, I suppose— the anti-systematic systematizing. Oh no, I’m doing it again . . . I’d better shut up now.