• Writing onto the Clouds: John Durham Peters and Inscription Media

    Author(s):
    Jefferson Pooley (see profile)
    Date:
    2022
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies
    Subject(s):
    Communication--Study and teaching
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    digital media theory, Communication theory, Media theory, Communication studies
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/br5t-r470
    Abstract:
    This short essay suggests that John Durham Peters’ Speaking into the Air (1999) re-capitulates its arguments through form. In its written medium, with its hermeneutic mode, and by its promiscuous prose, the book exemplifies its own moral case for dissemination over (in Peters’ chilling phrase) ‘interpersonal mimesis’. The essay positions the book’s first chapter, on Jesus and Socrates, as an unannounced nesting, in which Peters uses the parable mode to endorse a parable about the virtue of parables. Another facet of the book’s formal re- enactment of its argument surfaces in Peters’ method of discrete and serialized exegesis of old texts. Speaking into the Air is, in its way, a celebration of temporary breakdown, of the otherness of the other, of slippage and ellipses. Thus, it is fitting that the bulk of the book’s page-time is given over to dialogue at a distance, suspended dialogue, dialogue with the dead. There is, finally, the book’s polymathic weirdness—aphoristic, punning, etymological exuberance. Peters, on most pages, is overtopping the levees of meaning—a nod, I argue, to the book’s skepticism about the dream of easy lucidity.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    9 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
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