Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Productive Discourse

I'm tired of hearing about 'productive discourse' from the most counterproductive voices on this blog. These 'productive discourse' advocates are constituted by voices that never, ever surface unless there's flaming to be done. Post a unifying letter of solidarity by Einstein, and you've got 0 comments. Post two peace-keeping, cogently worded, even tempered entries, and once again: no comments. But here, all it takes is one satirical response to an entry about time management, and you've got a gamut of knee-slapping one liners about brain tumors:

"What shape will your negative energy take on when they remove the tumor it causes in your brain?
My guess, a starfish.

Way to facilitate constructive dialog."

Rhetorically, this move is unimaginative and inarticulate. If you're going to critique negative energy, that is valid. But presenting a counterpoint to negative energy with more negative energy is illogical. Is this your definition of productive discourse? Is this how you teach students to structure their own forms of productive discourse?

This about 'Productive Discourse':

Why is it that every single time a positive blog entry is posted on GradExploit, no one responds? Why is it that a post that could be taken as slightly inflammatory is immediately populated by a flame war? Conversely, why is it everytime someone raises a cogent argument, the thread of inquiry suddenly dies?

This leads me to believe that 'productive discourse' isn't something you actually want. Why keep posting here, to let the rest of us know that we're creating unproductive discourse? What I'm gathering is this: you don't agree with the viewpoints posted here. You don't like the posters in the English Department hallway. You don't like the people behind the posters, or this blog. You presumably don't like the GSEU . Am I missing anything? What you dislike is abundantly clear. What do you like? How about contributing something besides your own brand of negative energy?

Here are some possible topics for future discussions. Consider taking part in them:

1. Without resorting to ad hominem attacks or belittling other graduate students, tell us your narrative. What do you like about the Department of English? What classes are you taking? Which faculty mentors do you find particularly helpful? How do you manage your time? Do you have any tips about how to get through the program at a faster, more productive rate?

2. Do you see any potential problems with this English department? What are they? What is your own productive solution to these problems?

If you do not perceive any problems in the department, simply focus your entries on question number one.

See, it's that easy. No tumors necessary.