Knowing Making Telling

Matthew Kirschenbaum
Am I a Digital Humanist? Confessions of a Neoliberal Tool

"To the scholarly mind, every [sic] smallest datum of that inheritance has a right to make its call." In this McGann seems to follow Edward Said, who in Humanism and Democratic Criticism glosses Giambattista Vico’s famous verum factum principle — Vico is a touchstone for McGann too — as something like "We can really only know what we make" and "To know is to know how a thing is made, to see it from the point of view of its human maker." This ethos —  and the commitment to the arts of memory —  has become, as UVA’s Richard Rorty was wont to say, a part of my final vocabulary. I believe it is true, in so far as anything in this world is true, whatever epistemic frames might be thrown around it notwithstanding. It’s not that either the scholar’s art or the verum factum are sufficient on their own —  there are all sorts of considerations and contexts we want and need to bring bear — but this is where I start from. If it falls suspect to an ideological litmus test, if the space it opens for resistance or critique is insufficiently pure, then that’s it; I’ve got nothing left; I’m out of "moves." Better scholars and better players of the game than I have left it all on the field at that point. I’m off to go take a shower.

Or else I could just tell you a story.
I like the shift to simply telling a story which of course is another type of making.

And so for day 2175