It was hard for me not to read Rose’s piece and his discussion of remedial writing and not think of the Pharmakon, unjustly I–or rather unjustified–i think, yet maybe also fitting somehow if we consider that the three pieces here all take up or take on the privileged site of “standard english writing” and its counterpart, familiar speech or writing, and to lesser or greater degrees explore a liminal bridge between the two, or decided where to apply the scalpel. Both Mike and Patrick establish the various positions in a helpful way, so I would like to think about process some more and Villaneuva’s insights in “The Composing Processes of Unskilled College Writers” since it harkens back to some of our past discussions on compositions by the old familiar Hair Elbow in which the emphasis was placed on the breadth of influences in the writing, and the affirmation thereof, as opposed to restricting the scope to the final written product. Not to dip to deeply into the past, but, again, I find it hard to imagine how in teaching writing a conversation about process, since most students are not able to produce the sort of writing sought after by automatic writing.
Though I first approached Villaneuva’s accumulated statistics skeptically, I found it hard not to resonate with his observations intuitively. Growing up in between two languages (something this article made clearer for me), even now when I write I proceed on sentence by sentence only slowly and skeptically, often consulting both the OED and the Duden every several words, a really frustrating process at times, though I would like to think (or hope…) that this sort of writing produces a divergent form that draws up and on its arguments laterally instead of vertically. Coming to understand how bilingual and bi-cultural positions influence the writing process is helpful in improving the writing only insofar as the arc of standardization tends toward WE and not toward preserving the tongues of dead white men as cryogenic ideals. To this end, Canagarajah’s article is helpful for imagining an expansion of the academic discourse, though I cannot but show reservation when I hear that the use of AAVE is established by its subjugation to the academic register since this reality determines the fate of a Dave Chappelle as the “I’m Rick James, bitch” comedian, and not the comedian whose jokes are still spreading out an elaborate root system of signification.