Digital Dennis:
Hypertext Exegesis

The point of this "hypertext exegesis" [1] exercise is - perhaps - four-fold. First, it is an opportunity to sharpen your skills at internet research as well as some pretty simple HTML coding. Second, it's a chance for you to say you're truly "hip" to what Dennis Miller is subreferencing in at least three of his "rants" which deal with topics of interest to us in this course. (While the book is highly recommended, it is not required reading for the course.) Third, it gives you a chance to see what Miller has "done with" Areas I, II, III, IV, V, and VI of the rubric as well as how his skills are in what we'll call "TQIC." If there's a fourth "fold" to this exercise, it's that it's fun!

Be warned, however. By his own admission, Miller uses swear-words an awful lot. ("Let's face it," he's said, "if it weren't for my [HBO] show, I'd just be the guy at the deli who says 'f***' a lot.") He maintains this "language" intensifies both his positions and his humor; you may disagree. Nevertheless, while we will hear and see his texts uncensored, we will use asterisks to indicate missing letters - as in the example given just above - in our final products.

 NOTE 1: If you somehow "know" you'll be too offended to hear Miller's "R-rated" swearing - or if during the playing of the tape you find you're overly offended by his swearing - you are to sign in for class, tell both me and your Moe of your decision to leave, and head for a nearby computer center to do internet and library (i.e., "book and magazine") research for a brief biography of Miller. (Hey, somebody needs to write one, anyway!)
 NOTE 2: This applies only to being overly offended by his swearing; simply disagreeing with a position he takes is not an acceptable reason for not attending this class and participating in the rant choice.

First thing we'll do is listen to a selection of five of Miller's rants during class. They are:

NOTE 3: Again, these are hardly arbitrary selections, as each deals - directly or indirectly - with topics we will investigate and discuss further during the semester.

During the playing of the tape, list your preferences of which rant you'd most like to perform a hypertexted exegesis on, ranked from #1 (your favorite) to #5 (your least favorite). As you do this, jot down some of the references you didn't "get" right away. Next, you'll quickly get in your groups and choose a preference.

The steps to complete this work may be described as follows:

That is to say, when this is all done, the rant will be "completely explained" (if that's really possible) through hyperlinks and will be included on the class homepage for potential future reference. Plus, as every student is to contribute to the hyperlinking of their class's selected rant, everyone will learn some basic HTML-coding skills which will come in handy in this and many future classes. Additionally, we'll all get a better sense of what a well-liked (if not always well-agreed-with or even well-respected) writer has to both say about some topics of interest to us and just howhe has to say his "peace" to his specific audience.

And, to be sure, this should all turn out to be fun! Of course, that's just my opinion ... I could be wrong....


[1] Basically, that's a fancy way of saying you'll fully explain the references in the sourcetext with a bunch of links! [back]

[2] es-ú-ter-ik - adj.1.a. Intended for or understood by only a particular group. b. Of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people. 2.a. Confined to a small group. b. Not publicly disclosed; confidential. Source: American Heritage Dictionary; software. Copyright © 1994, SoftKey International, Inc. For further information, see the on-line Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary definition by typing in "esoteric" when prompted for a word. [back]

last updated: 2.2.99