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Re: [BKARTS] WOID #VIII-7. Mr. Nass Steps to the Bat



I didn't know that writing words so they could be read -- or writing in a
fancy style -- was repression. I thought it was expression....
Walter Moriarty

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul T Werner" <paul.werner@NYU.EDU>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 11:20 AM
Subject: WOID #VIII-7. Mr. Nass Steps to the Bat


> On today's New York Times Editorial Page a certain Henry E. Nass,
"business-development consultant," weighs in for penmanship: "The process of
learning to form the loops and curves teaches children [...] patience,
discipline and the rewards of practice. [...] The mastery of penmanship is
thus a grade schooler's first metaphor." He forgot to mention chastity, but
no matter.
>
> It's not a new argument, not even contestable; just naive. Melanie Klein
argued the same about eighty years ago: when a child, male or female, first
confronts the suggestively shaped pen, he or she adopts it as a symbolic
instrument for the control of bodily functions, which now become *social*
functions. What's naive is Mr. Nass' opinion that pens may be better suited
to that process than any other device. I suspect, in fact, that it's the
phallic connotations of pens that make them unpopular now, in a society as
committed to Gleichschaltung as ever, even beyond distinctions of gender.
*Master*y of pen*man*ship, indeed. And I'm not prepared to argue, as Mr.
Nass does, that the practice of Spencerian script is innately more punishing
than Italics: they both can be turned into instruments of repression.
>
> Those of us inside the Prison-House of Writing have taken up the
liberation of Writing through Writing. This is our historical task - why
impose it on others? There will always be plenty of forms of repression
left.
>
> Paul T Werner, New York
> http://theorangepress.com
>
> WOID: A journal of visual language
>
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             ***********************************************
            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
                      <http://www.philobiblon.com>

        Archive maintained and suppported by Conservation OnLine
                    <http://palimpsest.stanford.edu>
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