Posted by: glue | July 8, 2008

Commonplace Moralia

3. Commonplaces

Another relay for blog composition is the commonplace method of composition used in schools of the manuscript era. Students kept personalized notebook archives that served them as generators for producing compositions both written and oral. The notebooks were organized by topics (general procedures of reasoning), with key examples of that sort by worthy models (such as Cicero). The Expression experiment of this blog is conducted within the larger setting of a general project for the invention of an electrate practice for an Internet public sphere. The principles and examples of composing with image-texts collected here are relevant to Expression and to everyday blogging. For example, here is an entry from Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia relevant to the formation of identity online.

“52. Where the stork brings babies from. —

For every person there is an original in a fairy-tale, one need only look long enough. A beauty asks the mirror whether she is the fairest of all, like the Queen in Snow-White. She who is fretful and fastidious even unto death, was created after the goat which repeats the verse: ‘I’ve had enough, can’t eat the stuff, bleat, bleat’; A care-worn but unembittered man is like the little bent old lady gathering wood, who meets the Good Lord without recognizing him, and is blessed with all her own, because she helped Him. Another went out into the world as a lad to seek his fortune, got the better of numerous giants, but had to die all the same in New York. A girl braves the wilderness of the city like LIttle Red Riding Hood to bring her grandmother a piece of cake and a bottle of wine…”

Will Kane

Will Kane

A translator’s note to the Adorno passage mentions that all the examples are from Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The principle extends to the movies (certainly in my case) and to popular culture in general.


  1. Popcycle Rhizome

    Adorno’s insight is relevant to the auto-ethology aspect of Expression. I am mapping my rhizome, but the ethological terms of amplitude, threshold, variation, are replaced by the discourses of the popcycle (the institutions that interpellate me into my identity position in my specific cultural situation). The cardinal discourses are: Family, Entertainment, School, Career. In order to locate my conative position, I first need to track the “quilting point” of my ideological construction, which is easy enough to do since the method is just to document my identifications (the Mount Rushmore in Me). Under the “rock” of each interpellated feature will be hiding a quality of my conatus.

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