linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


you say effect / and i say affect

if only this had been as good as its unwittingly sophisticated title promised


been mired in papers and exams from fc-46.

it's been surprising to discover that a remarkably small number of HU undergrads appear to know the difference between affect and effect. (granted, it's a tricky one.) lack of adherence to basic essay structure is another woefully common error. don't get me wrong: i'm no stickler. but it really does help to get that thesis out in front--or at least state your argument clearly and directly at some point. few essays are in need of epic, abstract, or folksy introductions (and that goes for conclusions, too), and the biggest word is not always the best.

[full disclosure: i used to walk around with strunk&white in my back pocket. and this is my favorite rule. no, i don't follow it nearly enough.]

among the 40 or so papers that i read, there were essays on race/ethnicity/pigmentocracy, (legacies of) slavery, contemporary economic issues, costs and benefits of tourism, and the problem of AIDS. unsurprisingly, popular culture also provided a favorite realm for research topics, and the perennial favorites stacked up thusly: three a piece on reggae, ganja, and baseball. (bear in mind that all essays had to focus on the caribbean.) i read only one paper about pirates. and none on che.

speaking of che, did you see this che-trooper thing?

i'm really beguiled these days by such simple but profound image/video manipulations. from giffords to stabilized zapruders to bigfooted fakers, folks are using computers to make us see things in amazing ways.

the revelations are sometimes staggering..


before i leave the school stuff behind, allow me to share my favorite wrong answers. they all have to do with the identification of daddy sharpe, jamaican deacon and leader of the christmas rebellion of 1831. one student pegged him a posse leader, another said he was a dancehall DJ, and a third, recognizing the relation to senor yankee, declared him a reggaeton artist!

tra tra-tra tra!!

you can get a different kind of schooling over at redefinition radio, where kevin beacham has been broadcasting and archiving a wicked series on the history of hip-hop and reggae (see january 06). i don't have to tell you that that's a subject near and dear to me. and kevin's been doing it justice, digging up some gems and telling a great sonic story about a longtime relationship. (thanks to oh word for the tip.)


and because graders always need more excuses for procrastination (or, more charitably, taking a break), special thanks to cottoncandyhammer, that comber of the interwebb's wacky corners, for digging up--among too many other gems--an amazing(ly addictive) garfield randomizer.

here's a remix i clicked together. it's not the most accomplished, but you get a sense..

finally, because it's good and i just can't resist: hua hsu on crack.



Anonymous tV said...

#13. Thing is, identifying or arguing the necessity of a word is anything but precise. The argument of necessity (and of the unnecessary) is an argument which has a counterpart which by definition cannot be argued within the bounds of a specific cultural necessity.

Which words could have been removed?
Why not ask--how many more words could have been added?

Is the thetic necessary to academia or can it impression form an expression of the poetic? Is the -pression the thesis in cloak & dagger form and is not necessity the mother of all invention?

Anyways, the only way to conclude is to sympathize with your marking troubles with a, by necessity, common phrase that violates this very principle, and that of precise conclusions:

"I know what you mean, man."

5:49 PM  
Blogger Alice B. said...

Hey Wayne,
Hope the New Year is treating you better than those papers.


8:45 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

i hear you, tV. i suppose that's why i acknowledged right away that i break this rule all the time. no need to be draconian about expression--i'm sure that's counterproductive. in the end, though, at least for me, it's a tradeoff to be resolved in the process of composition (or to be undone in a moment of editing): sometimes economy really appeals in its elegance and tempo, sometimes alliteration is my best friend and worst enemy, sometimes i like to throw curve balls too. and sentence fragments. whatever effects affect.

of course one must be careful with words, ideological signs par excellence that they are.

the new year's been good, alice. but busy. so it goes. enjoying the slog all the same.

music is the best.

9:29 PM  
Blogger erin said...

ah...i too get to read numerous papers about the caribbean...my favourite this time was a paper analysing versions of the hard times so to demonstrate the truthfulness of LKJ's description of reggae in "reggae sounds." niceness. serious niceness.

10:51 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

right on, erin. wish i encountered as much niceness in my reading as you.

hey alice- can you provide any sort of perspective on things in haiti right now? can you point me to (various) haitian perspectives on what's been happening? i'm finding it extremely difficult to reconcile, say, today's article in the nyt with, say, lenin's recent posts on the subject.

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the folksy intro seems to be an american peculiarity, I get nuff of them from US exchange students here...but at harvard?? lol
Im my field every possible permutation the affect/effect thing comes up... very often... but no one seems to believe me when I explain that you "effect change" but are "affected by change" I pity those teaching english as a foreign language... Pete

2:43 PM  
Blogger erin said...

wayne--check http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/ for a wide range of articles...

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Working towards better institutional and individual assessment of student writing, a colleague recently passed me a stunning essay on the differences in argument-building among several cultural traditions. The expectations we hold to be true in western academia are often at odds with centuries of argument embedded in a students' cultural experience. For example, certain students may not restate facts known to their teachers for fear of being insulting!

Of particular note are visual representations of argumentation as pathways. One illustration is of a spiral while another resembles a sawtooth pattern.

I'll find a copy and make a scan.

8:04 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

sounds interesting, kevin. and again, i'm no stickler. i guess the orthodoxy i'm endorsing here is a rather specific one and is tied to a particular (cultural) context--i.e., western academia.

i'm all for various approaches to expression and argument. shit, i think text-based arguments appear rather impoverished compared to multimedia (and even/esp nonlinear) modes of presentation.

in this case, though, we asked for traditional research papers and we were clear about our expectations. when attempting to assess such papers on their merits, i usually find myself much more engaged and edified by essays with a clearly stated and supported thesis than by various sorts of (book-report-style) summations, however creatively rendered.

and i definitely see the strengths of clear, concise prose in my own experience as a "writer," though i definitely can appreciate alternative approaches. context is crucial, tho.

yeah, send/link that scan.

8:19 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home