Russ and I do tend to agree (no doubt because we share a general
My students joke that when they ask me a question about writing, I
generally respond, "It depends." This does not create relativism (I hasten
to point out, as Burke did in his essay on "terministic screens") because
we then go on to discuss what it depends on.* Generally that means
discussing rhetorical situations and contexts which make sense of the
conventions, rules of thumb,** etc. This underlines the point Russ made,
though: "we should be doing is equipping our students to navigate these
issues as they change, and continue to change." As Russ might ask, how
many of your students know that in manuscripts underlining =
italics? Since typewriters did not (except in their latter days) have
italic keys, underlining was just a signal telling the typesetter to set
the underlined type in italics. (But I would amplify Russ' point about
doublespacing: I think it was to allow editors to edit the text as well as
to instruct typesetters, and it still makes sense if the text is going to
be edited with a pencil or pen, as my students do when they revise (so that
I can readily see the re-vision).
*That rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition is, of course,
something up with which neither we nor Churchill would put. Because we're
all having fun here.
**We all know, I presume, that the once widespread belief that the phrase
"rule of thumb" had something to do with English common law and wife
beating is kind of an "urban myth," eh?
At 08:17 PM 10/4/2006 -0300, you wrote:
>Rick's right (why am I not surprised?):
>>Traditionally title pages of papers were not numbered--just as you
>>wouldn't number the title page of a book. But the style is changing, I
>>think. One reason is that computers rule, and a lot of users wouldn't
>>know how to tell their wordprocessors to number as page one what the
>>software counts as the 2nd page of of the document. In short, there are
>>two ways of looking at this: one makes sense to the human mind which is
>>capable of perceiving the title page as not a real page; the other makes
>>sense to the software, which has not been programmed for such subtlety.
>But (and Rick won't be surprised that I have a "but" [no snickers,
>please]) . . .
>Sure, this is made harder by puters -- who hasn't been tacked off by a
>*.pdf file which numbers its pages from the first screen, regardless of
>actual page numbers, so what _says_ "page 7" at the bottom is identified
>by the program as "p. 11" or something?
>This really underlines the point I made, though: what I think we should be
>doing is equipping our students to navigate these issues as they change,
>and continue to change; to understand why they are the way they are (how
>many of your students know that the hoary tradition of double spacing
>papers comes from the need for editors to have space to instruct
>typesetters?) and seeing what's important about them, in terms of gaining
>effective entry to the discourse communities you want to be part of.
>Department of English
>St. Thomas University
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To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
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