Propaganda and language

an article from the NYtimes sent to me by a student in my Phil and Lit class last fall, connecting philosophy of language with the ethics of argument and the definition of propaganda:

 

Fiction/Non-fiction and the ontology of characters

You may have heard recently about the heterosexual men blogging as lesbians (if not, you can listen here, or go down to the story Lez Get Real Fake: http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/episode/2011/06/14/tuesday-june-14-2011/ )It's particularly interesting to me, with my interest in gender, that the editor, who is so angry that the men claimed to be women, is herself a male-to-female transsexual.  It adds another layer to the question about the "realness' of characters and personae.

What is literature for?

Chip Sinton, a student who will be taking my class on Philosophy As/And/Of Literature in the fall, sent me the following articles about young adult literature.  The first is an article by Meghan Cox Gurdon:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576357622592697038.html?KEYWORDS=Meghan Cox Gurdon

and this is a response written by Sherman Alexie:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/06/09/why-the-best-kids-books-are-written-in-blood/

 

It's interesting that Alexie points to young adult literature as a source of comfort for teenagers. According to Alexie, young adult literature should aim to help young adults deal with traumas and challenges of growing up (or maybe the kind of horror-filled literature that Gurdon criticizes aims at this, and that is what is valuable about it).  Gurdon, though, seems to think that there is something prurient about this indulgence in the traumas of life.  It raises the question, really, about the right relationship between "didcaticism" and aesthetic qualities, but also about what literature is supposed to do for us.

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