When I was in graduate school at Texas Christian University, I attended a talk by Dr. David Parry called “Ending Knowledge Cartels.” It was a version of a talk he had given many times at academic conferences like Computers and Writing, and it is essentially an extended description of the privatization and monetization of general rhetorical knowledge by commercial textbook providers and academic journal distributors. Parry argues that, like pharmaceutical companies, knowledge cartels have taken what should be a basic human right, access to knowledge, and have hoarded it. Like all cartels, they arrive early and often and are always here to take their cut. The completion of this book fulfills a basic dream of mine since arriving at Oklahoma State University in August of 2014: to use my job as a platform to cut them out, broken limbs or not. Together, we have made an FYC Textbook bigger and better and more innovative than profit can imagine. We offer it to you for free. Please accept.
There are too many people to thank, but a few cannot go without notice. To Holly Reiter. If there is a kinder, more generous, more decent person at this university, please introduce us. To Matt Upson, just a real cool guy, who gave $10,000 from his own endowment so we could pay contributors for a book that would never be sold to or create profit for anyone. To the great Kathy Essmiller, the knower and doer of all things. You have made this book possible.
Most of all, this book is for all the FYC students trying to find a way into the university, to the FYC instructors just trying to help those students learn to love writing a little more and a little better. To all the Directors of FYC and Ph.D.s in Rhetoric and Composition: may we never again attend a Norton party.
To A. You are everything. Life is more joy than I ever imagined.