Her Great Idea

On the train back from Edinburgh yesterday afternoon, Margaret was pressing me to publish my “Magritte and Krazy Kat” presentation and the “Sensing Hermeneutics” presentation. I demurred, arguing that they depend heavily on graphics and audio that would be hard to reproduce (affordably) in print, and that I don’t have the fastidiousness and stubbornness to fight for permission to reproduce all the images from rights-holders clearly enough to satisfy most publishers.
Margaret riposted that I should then put the presentations online, with the full rhetorical force of foisting my own ideas on me. It seems like a great idea, so I took her up on her offer to edit the presentation I gave yesterday, and I’ll hand over the “Sensing Hermeneutics” ms after “Magritte and Krazy Kat” is ready. Then I’ll whip up PDFs, and Kindle and iPad editions. As always, Thanks, Margaret!

3 thoughts on “Her Great Idea

  1. i want, kindle please! (my kindle has evolved to be my “serious reading” option, while my nook remains recreational, chiefly because of title availability on the former: only at amazon.) but why is publishing in digital format any easier, rights-wise, than traditionally? because the permissions rights are often, as yet, unspecified? or is it a distribution question? inquiring minds want to know! 🙂

  2. @e — Well, the copyright issues aren’t legally different, but I wouldn’t have to bang heads with a publisher’s lawyers. In reality, I’d just fold at the least sign of direct pressure, but would at least have gotten some versions of the essay out.
    @elliott — “Mag/KK/Hermeneutics” expatiates on some of Magritte’s language art (especially an essay entitled “Les Mots et Les Images” from La Révolution Surréaliste — I like saying “la révolution surréaliste” during presentations) and some themes from George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat” comics to lend credence to my point that words aren’t the paradigmatic medium of information, and that we can think through interpretive problems more satisfactorily if we begin by thinking of interpretation as a matter of anticipation/expression (on one hand) and inference/uptake/apprehension on the other hand, rather than as an effort to extract “meaning” from its containment or concealment in words. It’s my anti-“subsistent meaning” talk, with cool illustrations.
    “Sensing Hermeneutics” heads in the same direction by looking at the ways that written communication is always inflected by the appearance of the letters — so that the “meaning” can’t be simply an immanent quality of the words. It then goes on to illustrate other ways that non-verbal information affects “the meaning”, again such that (for instance) NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” is very different from Nina Gordon’s, even though the words may be just the same.

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