Noticing How to Doubt

Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men.”  Victor LaValle, Big Machine

My job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice. Dionne Brand

Throughout the semester, I’ve been thinking a lot about doubt because of the Big Machine course epigraph. I questioned my own misunderstanding of LaValle’s quote and how important doubt actually is. In two of my blog posts, I navigated through and cycled back to this quote and came to the conclusion that doubt allows for intellectually conscious and independent perspectives. These perspectives are independent of institutions that may fail us. I chose to reproduce the Big Machine epigraph above because this is where my thinking for the semester started. Through thinking about doubt, however, it really made me question how I doubt as a student and where this doubt stems from. This is where the Dionne Brand epigraph comes in. Continue reading “Noticing How to Doubt”

How Do Doubt and Recursion Connect?

“Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men.”- Victor LaValle, Big Machine

After reading Victor LaValle’s Big Machine. I’m still thinking about the recurring idea of doubt. My blog posts “Doubting Doubt” and “Cycling Through Doubt” both deal with what it means to doubt and why people do it. At first, I thought that the course epigraph, reproduced above, cast doubt in a negative light. After reading through Big Machine and seeing the quote in context, I realized that doubt is is a necessary human trait. But I still have one question: what does this have to do with recursion, if anything? Continue reading “How Do Doubt and Recursion Connect?”

The Mutability of Language

In my blog post “Recursive Memory” I discuss how important it is for people to be aware of what “script” they are drawing from, using Dr. McCoy’s words. By this I meant that people should doubt the information they are disseminating and using in their lives. Quite frequently, words and phrases people use have connotations and contexts they never realized were there prior to some careful introspection. This is important to note, considering how influential language is to how people perceive the world and process information; that and how people perceive each other. Continue reading “The Mutability of Language”

Recursive Memory

After thinking about my previous blog posts, I realized that I unintentionally kept returning to art history. I alluded to Hopper’s and Motley’s paintings and the concept of the anchor (it’s also worth noting that art history came up in group conversation when I thought about tenebrism in Victor LaValle’s Big Machine art allusions). Looking back on this, my blog posts’ content itself aligns with a course concept: recursion. But in my thinking about this recursive process, I began to realize that this was no mere coincidence, rather, it highlights  how interconnected recursion and memory actually are. Continue reading “Recursive Memory”

Observation vs. Engagement

After discussing Suzan-Lori Parks’ Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, it was interesting to think about how art is performed and what people (those acting in the audience role) consent to when observing the art. At least from class there appeared to be a simultaneous scopophilic and scopophobic response to theater: people want to view the actors yet don’t want to be viewed themselves during a play.  This makes sense considering having actors stare at the audience might lead to some discomfort but, whether they like it or not, the audience is a part of the performance. Continue reading “Observation vs. Engagement”

Doubting Doubt

“Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men.” 

Thinking about cycling back and indefinite iterations, this course epigraph, what my first blog post of the semester dealt with, came up in my group’s discussion on Monday. This quote was the closing for chapter 50, the most recent section we were supposed to read, and one of my group members asked something to the effect of “what do you think of the course epigraph now that you’ve seen it in the book?” Continue reading “Doubting Doubt”

What Do You Mean by “Authentic”?

Within the paratextual preface to Jupiter Hammon’s works, it mentions his familiarity with his own “ethnic past” and how a view of ancient history provides a “source of pride and identity for African Americans.” Immediately after this, however, the preface’s author/s note that this connection with ancient history “has been an impetus for a recurring quest for authentic African history and culture.” At first, I wasn’t sure why the idea of “authentic” African history and culture resonated with me, and then I remembered Ron Eglash in African Fractals mentions this idea of authenticity amid a problematic natural-artificial struggle. What does “authentic,” in terms of African American, African, or any culture, mean?

Continue reading “What Do You Mean by “Authentic”?”

Something New Under the Artificial Light

After discussing Bernice Johnson Reagon’s article “Nobody Knows the Trouble I See,” originality’s importance to African American song actually made me think of art history. Specifically, I started thinking about two artworks: Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) and Archibald Motley’s Nightlife (1943). Continue reading “Something New Under the Artificial Light”

Cycling Through Doubt

“Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men.”- Victor LaValle, Big Machine

Doubt has always been something that I have struggled with, as many people do; the fear of always making sure I’m making the right decision and doing the right thing has led me to doubt myself many times throughout my college career, particularly. This is why I chose this course epigraph when thinking about my goals for the semester, especially considering it’s my last one and I think the goals, whether achieved or not, can cycle back post-graduation. Continue reading “Cycling Through Doubt”