[editors note: Daniel was our guest on the Deleuze episode recently and will be posting a bit in our blog over the next couple of weeks]
Since I discovered Deleuze in grad school, he has pervaded in various ways my teaching, writing and thinking. My dissertation proffered a model of rhetoric and specifically the trope; its final chapter focused on Deleuze.
And so when I began teaching the Intro to Rhetoric at at UC Berkeley (where I also earned my doctorate), I delivered a highly Deleuzian view of rhetoric (even though we never read Deleuze in that course —an intro lecture is no place for Deleuze). The texts included Barthes’ “Death of the Author,” JL Austin’s How To Do Things With Words, Nietzsche’s “On Truth & Lie” and Plato’s Phaedrus. I taught that for the sophist a text is never right or wrong, true or false. It’s our job as readers to maximize what’s interesting in a text, to articulate its performance (not just what it says but how it says). This, alas, is how Deleuze and Guattari argue we should assess philosophical concepts: Not whether they are true but whether they are interesting, remarkable and important.
Those podcasts put me in touch with various folks including PEL. After our lively discussion about Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy?, I recorded a podcast just to get all my ideas and rants off my chest. It’s about a 20 minute screed in which, in one great whoosh, I try to explain the book.
Another person I’ve virtually connected with is the writer Doug Lain on whose podcast, Diet Soap, I have appeared a few times, one of which was dedicated to Deleuze.
When my rhetoric lectures were podcast I discovered a wide world of interested and interesting people. So I left teaching — mostly for financial reasons — knowing that I could still interact with people via the web. I blog about philosophy, film, books, capitalism, tequila, whatever strikes my fancy. But what connects my writing is a rhetorical approach to life which, to me, is a relentlessly critical practice that operates at the juncture of ideas and life, of what it means to lead a life of the mind.