a Para/critical/sitical/sightical Reading of Ralph Smith's Excellence in Art Education1 (1987)
This is the "uncut" version of a tamer essay published under the same title in The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, No. 11 ( June 1991): 90-137, which was greatly toned down, shortened, and scrubbed of its excruciating mocking style. I have decided to let the "uncut" version stand here since it is consistent with "pun (k) deconstruction" as exemphfied in the second volume. It first appeared as a performance piece during an invited panel to respond to Ralph Smith Excellence in Art Education on Friday, April 23, 1987, at the 27th National Art Education Association (NAEA) meeting in Boston. This particular version includes the transcript of this "bad theater," as I call it. It retains its excruciating mocking style and hides under the pretense that it is a work of fiction, a familiar postmodern ruse. Reader be warned!
The idea of a "paracritical," "parasitical," and "parasightical" reading(s) drew on the work of Rosalind Krauss ( 1985) and David Carroll ( 1987). Krauss introduces the terms paracritical and paraliterary to identify poststructuralist criticism which "is the space of debate, quotation, partisanship, betrayal, reconciliation; but is not the space of unity, coherence, or resolution . . ." (292). Carroll uses the term "paraesthetics" to refer to the extra-aesthetic in general. He is interested in the philosophical, historical, and political issues raised by the question of form and the problem of beauty rather than in form and beauty as narrow aesthetic questions. The prefix "para" carries all the disruptive effects of dislodging aesthetics from its complacent moorings. As a preposition the OED gives it the meaning of