Rick's is a point that I have been making for a number of years with the help
of a Peanuts cartoon (which is inadequately referenced, alas, having been
hastily photocopied from a yellowing copy of the Brandon Sun -- so
that means it's at least a dozen years old --)
Marcie is speaking to her academically challenged classmate:
"That's a good paper, sir, but you didn't use any footnotes."
Sir: "Why would I need footnotes, Marcie?"
Marcie: "You use a footnote when you give the source of facts that are not
Sir: "Then I'm okay... I don't know anything that's not common knowledge."
Despite what Russ says, I find my students generally quite quick to pick up the
notion that "common" varies from context to context, and we get some quite
interesting discussions of rhetorical problems such as "do I have to footnote
what my professor says in class or is it common knowledge in the class?" The
rest is practice, and just as it has taken most of us years to refine and
define our own practices of acknowledgement, I expect that my students will
also have to keep working at it. My "telling" them obviously won't bring them
to my own level of referential sophistication ;) but it will get them started
on the process. And once again I won't apologize for the artificiality of the
[log in to unmask]