Saturday, 26 December 2015

Celebrating epic novels - the long view


The Guardian recently selected Richardson's Clarissa as No. 4 on its list of the Top 100 great Novels of all time. Are such lists a snap-shot of current reading habits. Perhaps the choice of this 984,870 word text from 1748 is pure nostalgia.
In my view, however, it sometimes makes sense to spend the entire week on Clarissa, or Middlemarch, or Tom Jones, or Bleak House, or War and Peace ; at other times several sonnets command the same investment of spirit, intellect and emotion. Clearly the great epics also repay re-reading, or at least selective re-sampling, of favourite passages and turning points.

With regard to Clarissa, the reading process is an ordeal, a pleasure, and a discipline (rather like Foucault on sex). Reading an abridged version is perhaps like the difference between a one night stand and a longterm relationship...

It's a different question how well these longer novels function academically in an over-crowded superfast highway curriculum. Increasingly, core courses select shorter fictions. Perhaps in the future we'll be studying a ceaseless flow of the most enigmatic and witty tweets. (And many long works are currently being tweeted daily.)

I've recently read Ngugi wa Thiongo'o's epic satire Wizard of the Crow, but I seldom come across any postcolonial scholars who claim to have read this fantastic book. And many people have unread copies of A Suitable Boy on their shelves.

In addition to finding time for the 1,000 page book what about a sustained run through of the complete works of Zola, or Balzac, or Walter Scott? Just for the sheer pleasure of it? 

Does anyone nowadays have the space for such a project?
On the other hand, the average person will "spend" 25 years sleeping, 12 years watching TV, 6 years online ... etc. 

At present I'm one third of my way through a second reading of Tolstoy. I vaguely recall that there's some prolix theory of history coming up, but I know for certain that I was too you when I accomplished my first reading as an adolescent.

And what happens when Tolstoy meets Thiong'o ? Now there's the beginning of a new book or an academic thesis.




Another Top Ten Long reads is also published by The Guardian .... here.


Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(Quibble Academic) 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Networking and Impact in Academia




One of the advantages of Academia is that it is a quick and efficient way to share your work and connect with scholars across the world, whether employed in public or private universities, or working elsewhere as independent or retired scholars.


Although the statistics provided by Academia are not a measure of scholarly ‘impact’ they do help to illustrate the academic ‘reach’ of this site and its efficacy in empowering the free dissemination of scholarship.

Admittedly, the statistics do not evaluate whether those academic ties are ‘strong’ or ‘weak’; but they do indicate the range of connectedness and suggest the vibrancy of a public sphere that is far greater than the physical international conference circuit, which is often unaffordable for the majority of less affluent academics across the globe.

As an example, my work has connected with scholars in the following countries:

Venezuela, Ukraine, Mauritius, Mexico, Czech Republic, Albania, Armenia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burundi, Benin, Bermuda, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Algeria, Ecuador, Estonia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guam, Guyana, Honduras, Croatia, Iraq, Iceland, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Moldova, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic Of, Myanmar, Macao, Malta, Maldives, Malawi, Malaysia, Namibia, New Caledonia, Norway, Nepal, Oman, Peru, Puerto Rico, Palestinian Territory, Occupied, Qatar, Réunion, Serbia, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Senegal, El Salvador, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Virgin Islands, U.S., Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe; in addition to FORTY other nations.





I would welcome improved options for social media functionality on the Academia website, in order to forge stronger ties with many of my visitors, and to find out more about their work.

In the meantime, it’s great to keep in touch with so many people through blogs, Twitter, and to a lesser extent through University English on Facebook.




Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Sundry reflections on academia



Toronto: University College, 1858



Its marble towers of urbanitas; its fertile meadows of pastorale; its lofty epic contests; its festivals of comedy and its fleet footed intoxicated lyrics;  the grins and grimace of the satyr and the harsh winter land of tragedy; this other academia and that ...

“It was a perfect title, in that it crystallized the article's niggling mindlessness, its funeral parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems.”
― Kingsley Amis.

"There is this tremendous body of knowledge in the world of academia where extraordinary numbers of incredibly thoughtful people have taken the time to examine on a really profound level the way we live our lives and who we are and where we've been. That brilliant learning sometimes gets trapped in academia and never sees the light of day."
— Malcolm Gladwell.

"If I stay in academia, I might end up going someplace random."
— Lauren Willig.

“Whenever she opened a scientific book and saw whole paragraphs of incomprehensible words and symbols, she felt a sense of wonder at the great territories of learning that lay beyond her - the sum of so many noble and purposive attempts to make objective sense of the world.”
― Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy.

“Who but an English professor would threaten to kill a duck a day and hold up a goose as an example?”
― Richard Russo, Straight Man.
 
"It is extraordinarily difficult, even in academia, to find a job that will let you do whatever you want with your time. If you are determined to spend your time following your own interests, you pretty much have to do it on your own."
— Antony Garrett Lisi.

“Well, I am a dilettante. It's only in England that dilettantism is considered a bad thing. In other countries it's called interdisciplinary research.”
― Brian Eno.

“The views of intellectuals influence the politics of tomorrow...What to the contemporary observer appears as the battle of conflicting interests has indeed often been described long before in a clash of ideas confined to narrow circles.”
― Friedrich Hayek.

“Thanks to my solid academic training, today I can write hundreds of words on virtually any topic without possessing a shred of information, which is how I got a good job in journalism.”
― Dave Barry.


Kate Kennedy Club - St Andrews University


“Most of us are pseudo-scholars...for we are a very large and quite a powerful class, eminent in Church and State, we control the education of the Empire, we lend to the Press such distinction as it consents to receive, and we are a welcome asset at dinner-parties. Pseudo-scholarship is, on its good side, the homage paid by ignorance to learning. It also has an economic side, on which we need not be hard. Most of us must get a job before thirty, or sponge on our relatives, and many jobs can only be got by passing an exam. The pseudo-scholar often does well in examination (real scholars are not much good), and even when he fails he appreciates their inner majesty. They are gateways to employment, they have power to ban and bless. A paper on King Lear may lead somewhere, unlike the rather far-fetched play of the same name. It may be a stepping-stone to the Local Government Board. He does not often put it to himself openly and say, "That's the use of knowing things, they help you to get on." The economic pressure he feels is more often subconscious, and he goes to his exam, merely feeling that a paper on King Lear is a very tempestuous and terrible experience but an intensely real one. ...As long as learning is connected with earning, as long as certain jobs can only be reached through exams, so long must we take the examination system seriously. If another ladder to employment were contrived, much so-called education would disappear, and no one be a penny the stupider.”
― E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel

What is the University for? 
What do academics do? What is a scholar? 
Parody and preaching with more than a whiff of reality? 
The home of lost causes or the last frontier of objective enquiry and cultural enrichment?

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Art of Dedication


Anaïs Nin


Dedications, like Prefaces, are a neglected field in the study of book construction and creative composition. But they can reveal quite a lot about power and politics; authorship and authority; celebration and bitterness.

In critical terms deconstructionists would argue that a preface displaces and defaces the text that follows, perhaps (humorously?) tripping it up, or tying it up in precursor knots.Often Jacques Derrida never got past the deconstruction of the preface, or a footnote therein, in order to make his 'point'.

And you probably recall all the levels of ludicrous entrapment that Jonathan Swift employed in A Tale of a Tub (1704) ?



Have dedications grown shorter and more ironic (or bitter) since the decline of aristocratic patronage? Are they still a zone of praise or insult?

What about this one, taken from Herman Melville's Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile (1854)

TO
His Highness
THE
BUNKER-HILL MONUMENT

(Discussed in detail in Edgar A. Dryden's Monumental Melville: The Formation of a Literary Career, Stanford University Press, 2004; and in Ian S. Maloney's Melville's Monumental Imagination, Routledge, 2006).

America repaid the 'compliment' on a 20c stamp.(See below)

Recently, I came across a polite call to action from the late 1960s.

In those days dedications offer a different diet for democracy:


This book is dedicated to sensitive Americans.
 May they create a sensitive America.

- Anaïs Nin, The Novel of the Future (1968).

If you're interested in this topic a good place to start is Alasdair Gray's anthology and commentary: The Book of Prefaces. (I started reading it backwards, beginning with the cleverness of G.B. Shaw and the haunting words of Wilfred Owen).

Have you come across any memorable prefaces or dedications? Let me know if you have!


Herman Melville postage stamp

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Association, causation and the purely random: ideology and astrology in the classroom



Since the replacement of the octagonal mahogany dining tables with pine benches you can never be quite sure who you'll end up sitting down beside during the lunch break in the Senior Common Room.

Yesterday, Dr Ptolemy Macrobius, Reader in Paranormal Psychology, was expounding some of the key advances that had taken place in reaction to the limitations exposed in Theodor Adorno's dialectical materialist debunking of the topic in The Stars Down to Earth and other Essays (1952-3 / 1994).

Yet this work deserves a little respect! I responded:

“It pretends to a higher level of scientificness than the supposedly more primitive forms of esoteric wisdom without, however, entering into the argument itself: the lack of a transparent interconnection between astronomical observations and inferences pertaining to the fate of individuals or nations… Astrology attempts to get away from crude and unpopular fatalism by establishing outward forces operating on the individual’s decision, including the individual’s own character, but leaves the ultimate choice to him… Astrology undertakes the constant encouragement of people to take decisions, no matter how inconsequential they may be. It is practically directed towards action in spite of all the lofty talk about cosmic secrets and profound meditation. Thus, the very gesture of astrology, its basic presumption that everyone has to make up his mind at every moment falls in line with what will later come out with respect to the specific content of astrological counseling: its leaning towards extroversion.”

--- I said --- reading from the Amazon site on my iphone, 'Still relevant?'

In fact, looking at this topic from another angle, I've always considered the curious micro-narratives of astrology as an artful shorthand that repay close critical scrutiny, especially during those yawning intervals in cultural studies seminars, when the grand narrative theories have come crashing down, and one needs to begin the creative task of rebuilding - scaffolding - from more experiential and pragmatic foundations.

And the role of the aleatory in creative foreplay has long been accepted in postmodernist circles, has it not?

Although there's not much on astrology and pedagogy in the research literature, I was curious to discover that the scientists are still conducting their own research in this field:

 Treating astrology’s claims with all due gravity.
Steven K. Lower

“I teach an introductory science class at my university, which typically enrols many non-science majors. During a lecture on the gravitational force, I imply that if planets such as Mars exert a force on any object, including humans, then perhaps there is something to astrology’s idea that celestial bodies exert a force of influence on our lives. I encourage my students to undertake a test I have designed for this notion.
I present the students with 12 randomly numbered horoscopes from the previous day, with the corresponding signs of the zodiac removed. I ask each student to record the horoscope that best describes the day she or he had, and the astrological sign (for example, Aries) corresponding to her/his birthday. My scientific hypothesis is that planets may exert a force on our bodies, but it is purely random — 1 out of 12 (8.3%) — whether a horoscope foretells the events of one’s life.
I am pleased to report that, as Shawn Carlson has noted, “astrology failed to perform at a level better than chance” (Nature 318, 419–425; 1985). The results from my classes are: 8.0% (n = 163 students), 8.4% (n = 155), 7.0% (n = 143), 8.0% (n = 138) and 8.0% (n = 100). In other words, as John Maddox has commented “astrology is a pack of lies … There is no evidence that the positions of the planets can affect human behaviour” (Nature 368, 185; 1994)./”

Nature 447, 528 (31 May 2007).

Further information, prior to reaching a tentative conclusion and provisional predictions

"... Multivariate analyses of results based on a random sample of individuals support the medical
encounter and postmodern hypotheses and show that the set of postmodern values, in
comparison to dissatisfaction with the medical encounter, is by far a better predictor of attitudes ..."
See: Siahpush, Mohammad. "Postmodern values, dissatisfaction with conventional medicine and popularity of alternative therapies." Journal of Sociology 34.1 (1998): 58-70. 
'This condition implies a new form of cybernetic control, governed by the aleatory play of the code.'
 See : Clarke, David B. "Consumption and the city, modern and postmodern." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 21.2 (1997): 218-237.
'He embraced multiple serialism, aleatory technique and electronics, but he is best known for his pioneering explorations in music theatre, radio play, film and mixed media.' See:
Heile, Bjorn. The Music of Mauricio Kagel. Ashgate, 2006.

Conclusion?

I confidently predict that we have not yet witnessed the terminus of astrological pedagogies and aleatory methodologies, nor the sublime of big data, nor the sinister predictability of the commercial algorithm that perpetually haunts each keystroke of social media participation.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Ticklish Subject


Slavoj Žižek

The anxious researcher is unsure about placing the entry on philosophical humour between phallic ritual and physical comedy. Encyclopaedic collisions and incongruities abound.

Is this a breach of academic decorum?
Would it be safer simply to abandon the alphabetical approach to comedy and humour in this book on Aspects of Comedy?

Another anxiety: is this entry concerned with the philosophy of humour, or humour in philosophy?

How much space should be allocated to Slavoj Žižek? (A philosopher, a public intellectual, and a comedian).

In parenthesis ---

("there is a case to be made that Slavoj Žižek is really the Ken Dodd of post-Lacanian Hegelianism." --- Lindesay Irvine, Guardian, 6 January 2012, here) ---

And how funny is Žižek's The Ticklish Subject: the absent centre of political ontology (Verso, 1999)? I have my doubts.

I guess his work will always divide opinion. Take a look at his highly controversial review essay on Benigni's film Life Is Beautiful:

Laugh Yourself to Death: the new wave of Holocaust comedies! (15 December 1999)
 
And this judgment might benefit from further critical analysis of the relationship between humor and irresponsibility:

"The Muslim is thus the zero-point at which the very opposition between tragedy and comedy, between the sublime and the ridiculous, between dignity and derision, is suspended, the point at which one pole directly passes into its opposite. If we try to present his predicament as tragic, the result is comic, a mocking parody of the tragic dignity, and if we treat him as a comic character, tragedy emerges. We enter here the domain that is somehow outside or, rather, beneath the very elementary opposition of the dignified hierarchical structure of authority and its carnivalesque reversal, of the original and its parody, its mocking repetition. Can one imagine a film rendering THIS domain?"

Further reading:
Shaw, Joshua. "Philosophy of humor." Philosophy Compass 5.2 (2010): 112-126.
By the way, I'm collecting quotations that deal with comedy and humour. Here.

At the current rate of writing my book will be finished by April 2016.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

GCSE - SOS Q&A - What to do next

Can I improve my exam and/or revision technique?

Absolutely. You can typically improve your exam performance by working on technique, and by having a better revision strategy. Seek out the other tips on this site for more information. You might be able to improve your grades by 5-25%. Try this programme.


How important are GCSEs ?

It depends. Our culture is traditionally dominated by paper qualifications. Typically you will need Maths and English for career progression, plus 3 other subjects.

But GCSE performance does not predict success at A-level or at University, unless you've scored 10 X A* .

Remember that life skills, social skills, volunteering and other experience are also valued by employers.

I have to confess that despite my C in English Literature, I went on to receive the class medal, and first class honours in this subject.

What should I do if my results are not up to scratch?

Consider re-taking key subjects such as Maths or English.
Seek advice from your teachers
Sort our your exam technique and your revision strategies.

Is it worth having a re-mark?

Re-marks seldom result in significant grade shifts. But you may be able to find out where you went wrong and therefore have a better idea of the areas where you need to improve.

Should I write to my MP and complain about political interference?
From time to time this is a question last year. New exams in English Literature, for example, will be closed book, which means that you cannot take the book into the exam.
Ofqual head tells MPs qualification will remain vulnerable to inconsistencies until arrival of remodelled GCSEs in 2015. Here.
Girls could be disadvantaged by plans to axe mid-course tests as boys were often 'more confident' at end-of-course exams. Here.


Should I change schools?

Undoubtedly some schools gain better results than others. But the final responsibility for your performance is YOU.
Did you do enough to perfect your exam technique?
Did you revise thoroughly, efficiently, and effectively?

It is possible to check your school's inspection report and their league table position. But these tables often mask the work of poor or brilliant teachers.

Some parents even seek private tuition as a supplementary solution. (And even children at the most prestigious private schools also have private tutors...) An expensive option, but perhaps a decent investment in a world of unequal wealth and mixed opportunity?


Other options?

Perhaps it's time to consider a more vocational qualification, work-based learning, or an apprenticeship?

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

City Scenes, Or, A Peep Into London

City Scenes, Or, A Peep Into London,

 for Good Children (1809)



COME, peep at London's famous town,
Nor need you travel there;
For one foot up, and one foot down,
In future, you may spare:
At home, a hundred miles away,
'Tis easy now to look,
At City Scenes, and London gay,
In this my little book.   
 (“Introduction”)

I've recently been examining a wide range of sketches, illustrations, scenes and caricatures from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. I'm particularly interested in the inter-connections between visualised text and the 'reading' of images. I'm also interested in how other senses are called upon to suggest the smell, feel and touch of the writings and depictions.

There is also the deconstructive question concerning the image/text relationship. To what extent does the one silence, screen, or block out the other? Does the book as supplement to a real jounrey engage with an imagined journey that supplants the life of the city in order to project on to it the ideological messages of the authors?

Furthermore, do text(s) and image(s) creatively interact, perhaps throwing mutual light on each other? In a still more complex ambiguous way, there are the wider interactions between groups of texts/images within the same book.

A still wider scope might also focus on the field of vision, perhaps taking in a comparison/contrast with, for example,  Blake's poems and texts. Indeed, some of the sections of Ann Taylor and Jane Taylor's City Scenes, Or, A Peep Into London, for Good Children (1809) work in a range of moods and modes, invoking pathos or surprise, distaste and admiration. I'm also thinking that the complex sensorium of Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market might be relevant here.


A selection of extracts is printed below.

49. The Book-Stall. 

Now this old gentleman has found a treasure; some rare and valuable book, for which he had been hunting at every book-stall in London for these twenty years; and here it is at last! worm-eaten through and through, to be sure, but then, as there is not another copy in England, he does not care. For my part, though I would not be disrespectful to an old gentleman, I cannot help thinking, that a good new book, upon some useful subject, would be more valuable; and where the pleasure can be, of having a thing merely because nobody else can get it, I cannot tell.

28. Shop. 



Two ladies have just entered one of these fine shops, to make purchases. There go five guineas for a morning dress, which the lady owns she does not want, only it is so pretty, and so cheap, that she must have it.

Five guineas would make a poor perishing family happy. And how many poor perishing families are there in this crowded city!

O lady! do not squander such a sum upon useless finery, while there is one starving fellow-creature within your reach.



9. Going to Bartholomew's Hospital.

As this poor man was at his work, he fell from a high scaffolding and broke three of his ribs. It is quite as much as a working 'man can do to live and support his family, in health, in these hard times; but how is he to bear a long illness, to pay nurses and doctors' bills, while work is standing still, and no wages coming in? All these thoughts rushed into poor Master Chip's mind, the moment he came to his senses; and gave him more pain than even his smarting wound; while the cries and lamentations of his wife increased his agony. A gentleman passing by and enquiring the cause of the bustle, recommended them to apply to Bartholomew's Hospital; and the poor man was immediately conveyed there on a litter. The hospitable gates flew open to receive the stranger; and he was put into a comfortable bed, where his bones were set by a skillful surgeon, and he is now in a fair way for recovery. He feels truly thankful for the benefit he has received, and hopes he shall always remember with gratitude, a charity which has probably saved himself from death, and his wife and children from want and misery.

10. The Garret.

What a dismal place!—However, it may do us good for once, to see such a wretched sight. Let us wait at the door, and observe them. See this poor mechanic and his starving family. His hands are so benumbed with cold, that he can scarcely grind his rusty tools. His wife and children seem stupefied with cold and hunger; they sit motionless, and appear given up to despair. There is not a spark left in the grate, and the last morsel of bread has been devoured.
Let us step in and offer them some relief; and whenever, in future, we may feel inclined to murmur and fret at the little losses and crosses we happen to meet with, let us remember this unhappy family, compare our comfortable dwellings with this miserable garret, and learn to be grateful and.content.

 


An Extract from Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market

with grotesque illustrations by Laurence Housman (1893)


               Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes,—
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”—

               “Good folk,” said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie:
“Give me much and many: —
Held out her apron,
Toss’d them her penny.
“Nay, take a seat with us,
Honour and eat with us,”
They answer’d grinning:
“Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry:
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavour would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us,
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.”—





Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Caption and commentary





Discriminate. A companion to "don't." a manual for guidance in the use of correct words and phrases in ordinary speech, (New York: 1891.) instructed its readers

Discriminate in the use of CAPTION and HEADING. It is a perversion of the word caption
to use it in the sense of heading, although this is frequently done in the United States.
Caption means seizure or act of taking, and not headship. Don't say, “The caption of a
chapter, section, or page”; use heading. (p. 22)


In his Dictionary of Americanisms: a glossary of words and phrases, usually regarded as peculiar to the United States (1848), John Russell Bartlett explained

Caption, this legal term is used in the newspapers where an Englishman would say title, head, or heading.
 



On the other hand ... Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1995) noted


You will find few of them who object to December being used for the twelfth month, when its Latin root means 'ten,' or to manure being used as a noun meaning 'to work (land) by hand.' So when you read, for example, that caption must refer to matter above a picture because it comes from Latin caput 'head,' keep manure in mind."

In one sense there is a battle between the linguistic prescriptivists who privilege the origin of a word (etymology) in an attempt to fix its true meaning, over a description of its current usage which might be quite different from its original use, so far as that use can be traced in texts that have survived the ravages of time.

Moving on to a philosophical perspective, in his book Thinking from A to Z (Routledge 1998), Nigel Warburton provides a lucid account of the etymological fallacy, while also admitted that words bear 'vestiges' of their past use:


‘Those who have spent many years perfecting their knowledge of ancient languages find the etymological fallacy extremely tempting and frequently succumb to it. Nevertheless etymology should only be used when it is genuinely illuminating. The trouble with it is that the meanings of words often do preserve vestiges of their original meanings.’ 

In terms of social media, images that do or do not bear captions are open to the play of being newly captioned, or re-captioned. The new caption, or comment, then participates in the flow of commentary, so the real-time meaning is both presenting and postponing. Does this mean that the caption is no longer a form of image seizure? Have images lost their legal entitlement? Have they been de-capitated in being captioned? 

(This is starting to feel like a vertiginous whirlwind of deconstruction. I'm reminded that Derrida has been charged with merely employing the etymological fallacy ...)

But perhaps also the caption is pro-vocation; it is a call for action, for research, for critique, where image, text, and commentary, engender critical combinations and creative collisions within the spaces that they open and close. De- and/or re-territorialization of the nomadic caption?