this is what I’ve been doing in my class this quarter–destroying Dominant discourse one day at at time. Enjoy! (also, it may be obvious that I have no warm feelings for Blackboard; are the days upon me where I can just post my weekly blah here? sigh.) Let it be known that this is the first post I’ve received a 100% on for this prof–ever. Proud moment, and it is in codemesh no less! :D
Hola amigas! Today we’re going to talk codemesh. During our last class discussion, I was hoping that at least one of us would mention having trouble reading Young’s piece, and I am wondering if any of you did. My “culture” is very similar to Young’s in a lot of ways, mostly because of where I grew up and where I went to school. So I didn’t have any problems reading it or understanding what he says. However, I wanted to know if anyone in our class had trouble with it because, maybe, some of you had never heard or seen his use of language before. Did any of you?
Though I am of Mexican descent and fluent in theoretical discourse, I struggled the most with Villanueva. That didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every word in his piece, but I found it more difficult than Young’s. And this kinda stumped me for a minute. Then it got me thinking. Here we are talking discourses and (D)iscourse, looking at two pieces that blend them all together, yet have completely different styles, as well as readability. Not only do they have these differences between each other as writers, but I started wonderin if they project these differences differently for every reader.
Need me to explain myself?
Check this: can you all help me out? I like me a good codemesh; I think it’s the most beautiful type of writing I’ve ever read. As a rhetor and a sometimes pretend linguist, I dig uses of language no matter the discourses—for the function of them. That’s what I do, and why I’m here. So this makes me curious of the way language is functioning to those of us interacting with it—rhetoric. Here is an example of some good codemesh from Sublime’s song “Caress Me Down”:
Sus padres sus padres me trataron matar
But they did not get [too] far
Un poco después tuve que regresar
Con un chingo de dinero ‘cause you know I’m a star
Yo fui a Costa Rica para comer y sufriar
Practicaba con la raza ‘cause they know who we are
Si no le diό cuenta and I bet you never will
You must be a muǹeca if you’re still standing still. (“http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/sublime/caress+me+down_20133080.html”)
This is the most inoffensive part of the song (if you see it translated, go with caution, haha). But it shows what Vershawn, Victor, and I are talking about: how multi-lingual uses of discourse can still be understood (sometimes with work) and be true to one’s own culture and heritage. And I know those of you that don’t know Spanish are askin me why I think this song is understandable because you don’t know what Sublime is saying. You’re going to Google translate, aren’t you?
Hold up a minute. It is okay that you might not know what it says. It is okay that Victor and/or Young are hard to read. That’s kinda part of the point here with discourse. They’re making it a point—but in different, awesome ways. What’s the point, you wanna know!
The point is that, for most of us (you’re one of us, admit it), reading all this stuff for our classes is usually hard. Sure, we read stuff that is easy and enjoyable; but, a lot of the time, it is difficult. Think back to reading Shakespeare or them Victorian poets. Dude, even Ezra Pound and Eliot are hard. We can talk theory and know Derrida, Foucault, even Plato—all those guys are hard to read. Do we give up? Eh, sometimes. Usually (and if we want to pass our classes), we wade through them, hoping our teachers help us out with them in lectures. Calling our friends to say, “Yo, I have no idea what dude said in this. Do you?” Yup, we get help, we reread, and we take whatever out of it we can, moving on to yet another difficult reading.
Oh, and that’s where tutoring comes in. I had a lightbulb moment just now and it is pretty cool. I’m wonderin if we all embrace our languages—live and breathe them in our work and lives—how that relates to meaningful tutoring. Say there is this ideal writing center where tutors of all backgrounds, heritages, languages and good stuff hang out and work. Say this writing center is in an institution that respects these things about their students and employees (ah, utopic visions). Say a student is powerfully literate in a few discourses, but needs to up their mesh with academic (d)iscourse. Say they get to spend a tutoring session with a tutor that knows a thing or two about that whole meshing thing. Maybe, just maybe, they can talk what codemeshing in the institution means, and what kinds of language that student can create for whatever assignment is on the agenda at that moment. Don’t that sound a little nice? I think so, but I’m meshed already.
To rewind the waxed utopic and get in the mindset of here and still-racist-now, I think we, as tutors, may still need to show the power of the codemesh to our students when they come not knowing what academic discourse is and what it wants to do to their writing and thinking. We may need to turn in pieces like this one here that makes a point, is grammatically incorrect in places, but pushes at the boundaries of what can be said versus what it will say. I am down to make sacrifices; I do with every paper at some point. And I still be passing my classes! Go figure. They ain’t kick me out yet (yet). But I need to know what y’all think about all this. Does it make sense to you? Are you offended by different types of difficult discourse? Because I know I get mad at Derrida all the time. I may live in that man’s collar (another class, another BB post), but he still don’t talk like me. Though, I’m learning how to talk like him so I can tell other people, “Dude is hard, yep. But here he says _______. And that’s kinda cool once you figure it out. Took me six times to read that piece.” I’ll take as many as it needs if that’s what it takes.