In Blog

RESULTS: CCCC Theming Contest

Posted by: on May 26, 2008 | No Comments

Last week I announced a CCCC theming contest. As I explained, the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication always has a theme — and given the sheer breadth of the conference, the themes always seem to be vague metaphors (“Taking it to the Streets,” “Making Waves”). In turn, the themes inspire a lot of presentations with themed titles and, well, bad puns.

My challenge: to supply metaphoric themes for future conferences. The more outrageous, the better.

About the Submissions
First, a word about the submissions. I suggested that people submit themes via Twitter, blog comment, or FriendFeed comment. I received

  • 22 entries via Twitter public stream
  • 1 entry from a locked Twitter stream
  • 1 Twitter direct message
  • 1 blog comment
  • 0 comments on FriendFeed

for a total of 25 entries.

The contest post on the blog got a total of 65 hits, 54 of which were unique. Unfortunately I can’t tell how many came from FriendFeed vs. Twitter, but I notice a general surge in traffic to my blog from both.

The Entries
In no particular order, here are the entries:

  • Samantha Blackmon: dang, I thought spinuzzi was the theme for the next conference! (Okay, I am not sure this was meant to be an entry, but I like the idea. CS)
  • George H. Williams: CCCC2012 (St. Louis, MO): What’s the matter with Missouri?
  • George H. Williams: CCCC2012 (St. Louis, MO): What’s that smell?
  • George H. Williams: CCCC 2011 (Atlanta, GA): Writing as Kudzu +
  • Bill Hart-Davidson: CCCC San Franscisco 2008: Championing Gay* Writes! (*Gay 1. adj. Happy, joyous) !
  • Collin Brooke: CCCC 2012 (StL): MIssouri Loves Company
  • Lee Sherlock: late entry #2 – CCCC: Composition or Compost? Recycling the Waste of Writing.
  • Lee Sherlock: late entry into the theming contest – CCCC 2100: Writing in a Post-Apocalyptic Age.
  • George H. Williams: CCCC 2010 (Louisville, KY) Writing/Reading/Race(ing) the Derby
  • James Ford: San Francisco 2008: Battling the Front Lines of Mini-Meta-Metaphors While Peering into the Looking Glass of Hope and Change
  • Collin Brooke: CCCC 20XX: Eponymic Neology (Every presenter must use their last name as a verb in paper title)
  • Collin Brooke: CCCC 20XX: [Insert Theme Here]
  • Lanette Cadle: CCCC–Textual Carnies: Knowing when to shout, “Hey rube!”
  • Douglas Eyman: CCCC – The Completely Arbitrary and Idiosyncratic Theme Theme
  • J. James Bono: “CCCC 200X: Writing Themes” (had to be done.)
  • Collin Brooke: CCCC 20XX: The Audacity of Scope
  • Collin Brooke: CCCC 20XX: Gone Engfishin’
  • James J. Brown Jr: CCCC 2009: The Write Stuff
  • Lanette Cadle: For the next 4Cs in Louisville: Decomposing the Center. Oh, I sense horses and compost metaphors for that.
  • Billie Hara: “gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaalll”
  • Julie Platt: CCCC 2008: No Country for Bad Comp
  • Andrew Mara: St. Louis 2012: A Rising River Floats Your Boat
  • Alice Robison: CCCC 20XX: Growing Writing During Wartime: A Coalition of the Tilling
  • Alice Robison: CCCC 20XX: Wiki! How? Developing Foundations for Metaphorical Constructions
  • Bill Hart-Davidson: CCCC 2008 San Francisco: The Hills Are Alive with the Sounds of Writing

You can see how difficult it was for me to pick a winner. We have some really outstandingly bad ones here. But I called this contest and so I must award a prize.

Honorable Mentions
Really, all of these were strong contenders.

  • Bill Hart-Davidson: CCCC 2008 San Francisco: The Hills Are Alive with the Sounds of Writing. Bill’s entry evoked the Austrian countryside, and I imagined the loud scribbling of thousands of scholars. Like locusts, only less productive.
  • Alice Robison: CCCC 20XX: Growing Writing During Wartime: A Coalition of the Tilling. Alice’s was appropriately contorted in order to lead to the pun, plus I detect a Talking Heads reference. I really liked this one.
  • Julie Platt: CCCC 2008: No Country for Bad Comp. Julie’s entry is current, but not too current, and I can imagine the many presentation titles that would be yielded by the “country” metaphor.
  • Lanette Cadle: CCCC–Textual Carnies: Knowing when to shout, “Hey rube!” Lanette’s pun on the title of Textual Carnivals is a great inside joke, and of course it keeps alive the sneaking feeling that we composition teachers aren’t really doing any good. (For non-comp people, this sneaking feeling is FALSE.)
  • Collin Brooke: CCCC 2012 (StL): MIssouri Loves Company. Not technically a metaphor, but I am a sucker for a good pun. Short, to the point, sums up the feeling of a Saturday late morning session when there are more presenters than audience members.

But there can be only one.

The Winner
The winner — who will receive a certificate fit for framing, plus a bottle of beer or ‘chup, is:

  • James Ford: San Francisco 2008: Battling the Front Lines of Mini-Meta-Metaphors While Peering into the Looking Glass of Hope and Change.

James’ entry really captured the spirit of the contest. Not only is it a metaphor, it is a hopelessly mixed metaphor with many components that can break off and launch themselves with sickening thuds into the titles of multiple presentations. The martial metaphor at the beginning of the theme is totally at odds with the placid one at the end. The visual metaphor is present, as it so often is, and we see the themes of the Obama campaign come in almost verbatim for that hint of trendiness, the trendiness that seems so current when the conference is planned but so stale by the time it actually arrives. Speaking of stale, “looking glass” references Through the Looking Glass and thus the attenuated ties with literature that compositionists still, er, enjoy. And the brilliant “mini-meta-metaphors” tarts up the self-referential “metaphors” with not one, but two prefixes that pretend to add layers of meanings while actually subtracting meeting.

Well done, James. Well done.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.