Re-reading bits of my college biology text book today…

…[Campbell’s fourth edition BIOLOGY – same as my AP Biology text] after spending some time with a new find, Tan Lin, feeling very jumpy, from one half of the brain to another...Oddly enough, it wasn't the poetry that had me on the right side...the Campbell's text moved me into that mode of thinking much more than Lin's fragmented, binary code-like poetic configurations which directed me to the left. < ! --more on Lin later -->

Campbell:: Mating behavior relates directly to an animal's fitness


Most animals probably do not have any conscious sense of reproduction as an important function in their lives, nor do they have the kind of continuous attraction to members of the opposite sex found in most humans. Often there is a strong tendency for an animal to view any organism of the same species as a threatening competitor to be driven off...In many animals, potential partners must go through a complex courtship interaction, unique to the species, before mating. This complex behavior often consists of a series of fixed action patterns, each triggered by some action of the other partner and initiating, in turn, the other partner's next required behavior.

SIDEBAR>**In linguistics, that last part would be considered establishing (and reestablishing) footing in a frame of interaction.

I was thinking of this basic sense that everyone we meet that is NOT us, we consider a threat. There are some great pictures of a cheetah "marking" his territory by spraying a tree trunk, a non-verbal, non-visual warning sign whose design is to lay claim to a area in the environment, a node in the network. I've been intrigued by the non-visual for a long while now:

  1. as a vehicle for artistic expression;
  2. since I have been feeling a deconstruction overload [!]
during the last two semesters, one that prevented me from taking Ron Scollon's Public Discourse course this semester.

Ever since structuralism/post-structuralism and semiology's crowning-as-king there has been this huge academic concentration on the visual --- hence, the creation of Visual Culture or Visual Studies programs -- not just at the MA, but also the PhD level. [i confess that i too have considered a PhD in such a place, mostly because i don't know where else i would fit -- but that's for another time/blogpost]. And, of course, don't forget the tried-and-true field legitimation standard, "The ____ READER" (insert field-hopeful in the blank; The Visual Culture Reader, and of course, the official professorial hand-holder, Teaching Visual Culture, note: reruns of Friends and Buffy the Vampire Slayer sold separately). This emphasis gives a literal "blind eye" to the other senses that inform our relations with and interactions in the world (which to me is discriminating to those without the privledge of sight, and to those that navigate the world through synesthesia -- I only wish I stayed with a career in Biology in order to study this fascinating field of perception). Funny how none of the texts dealing with semiology (that I've encountered) admit these challenges to their theories exist --- if they were to at least admit them, they might claim "majority rules" and continue on with the emphasis on the visual. To me, this is just another form of hegemony, perhaps one of the worst kind since it is structurally bound to the theory itself; it is part of the [A]adenine, [T]thymine, [C]cytosine, and [G]guanine of the theoretical code of semiotics.

---Tomorrow I will get back to my original thought with the Courtship paragraph...

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