“Well, I understand you’re going to have to write [military] doctrine, and that’s all right… [But] even after you write it, assume it’s not right. And look at a whole lot of other doctrines – German doctrine, other kinds of doctrines – and learn those too. And then you’ve got a bunch of doctrines, and the reason you want to learn them all [is so that] you’re not captured by any one, and you can lift stuff out of here, stuff out of there…. You can put your snowmobile [together], and you do better than anyone else. If you got one doctrine, you’re a dinosaur. Period. ”
The first type of visual literacy is one restricted to the recognition of familiar things. This is a literacy based on fixed definitions, control, order and efficiency, the kind of ‘reading’ that takes place when we observe street signs, look at maps or watch the nightly news. This action is something we do all the time, a passive decoding that allows us to manage our day to day lives, particularly as responsible adults, to recognise relationships between things and events as efficiently as possible. However, this kind of ‘closed reading’ can go too far to the extent that it makes alternatives invisible, and anything unfamiliar is dismissed as foreign, useless and unwelcome. Thus we have the “Federal Department of Odds and Ends”, a concrete building without windows into which anything strange, miscellaneous or otherwise challenging - outside the familiar prescriptions of recognition - is conveniently “swept under the carpet” once the correct forms have been filled in. Meaning is a function of bureaucracy, and literacy is there to measure prescribed value; does this ring any bells in our own social and political universe?