Anthony's article "Ushering Audience Out" is where I first ran across
"all those folks out there in chairs," and I don't _care_ where you got
it, Anthony. I got it from you (there's a Tom Lehrer song about that --
sort of biological multitextuality).
> I think,
> though, that the academic "audience" (still a totally unsatisfactory
> metaphor for me) is more accurately perceived as a critic in the theatre
> - a "reader" waiting to find fault.
Yes. My view exactly. That's why I think of them as "in chairs."
> Can we not agree that there are such
> things as authentic opportunities for reading, more or less, and that
> the academic reader is simulating such a reading?
The thing that bothers me, in fact, is exactly "simulation." The
problem with simulation is that it's _thin_. It just doesn't offer the
richness of real experience -- the trick of offering a workable
substitute for real experience is something that characterizes great
writers (it just occurs to me that this is right where literature fits
into composition. I'll get back to you on this . . .).
> The closest authentic
> reading situation I can imagine that "fits" reading student essays is
> the one we all find ourselves in as working scholars, and the evaluation
> we deploy against student writing is a measure of how far that writing
> falls from the writing we experience (or expect) professionally.
Thank you. Exactly. Except . . . as a _scholar_, I read "Ushering
Audience Out" not to evaluate it, but to learn from it. (Had I been
reviewing for _TSC_ I might have read it differently, though I hope I'd
have noticed, as I read, that I'd stopped being a referee and started
being a partner.
> I should add that I find Russ Hunt's one BIG idea both very persuasive and
> very big.
Thanks -- but in large measure I still think of it as an idea I got from
Inkshed, so it's not a surprise to me that some inkshedders cotton on to
Russell A. Hunt __|~_)_ __)_|~_ Aquinas Chair
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