Re: pro suo (was Re: racists, fascists,)

Danny Yee (danny@MORIA.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Sat, 9 Apr 1994 12:29:22 +1000

> however, flame is too strong a word for what was, after all is said and
> done, a comment on the idea that because you do not understand something
> it is okay to dismiss it as invaluable,worthless and cetera

There are lots of things that I don't understand (so many it depresses
me sometimes). Many of them I have never had any acquaintance with, so
I can make no judgements; where they do impinge on things I *do* know
about, I can judge them to *some* extent. If I had to understand
something fully before dismissing it then I'd never get past the next
evangelical Christian or Scientologist who stopped me on the footpath.

> no one should read anyone unless they wish the same time,
> dismissing a body of work unread is, remains, can be nothing other than
> lazy and dishonest....

Lazy yes. Dishonest no. It would be dishonest if I claimed to have
read it all when I hadn't; as it was, I said that I had read "Differance" -
which I have - and that on the basis of that reading I wasn't interested
in reading any more.

> you may well be a rennaiisance soul in an overspeciliazed universe,
> Danny, for which you have my admiration..that you do not have time for
> derrida is your own business...that you, on the other hand, claimed that
> your automatic exclusion of all work which 'cites derrida approvingly' [a
> paraphrase i admit] was a critical reading strategy strikes me as bizarre...

Hmmm.... would you criticise a physicist for automaticaly excluding any
work which made positive references to astrology? You may consider this
an unfair comparison, but, like Feyerabend and unlike Marvin Harris, I
am quite prepared to live with astrologists, even if I find the subject
'bores me to tears'.

> however, my original point remains...asserting it is acceptable to
> dismiss a persons work as useless without reading it is tantamount to
> censorship, a censorship all the more insidious for its masquerading as
> scholarly judgement..whether you are guilty of this position is for you
> to decide since my judges robes are still at the cleaners...

Censorship is something done by governments or people and
organisations in a position to control the movement of information.
Unless you are saying I am censoring *myself* (which is obviously true)
I think you are confused, as I have no power over anyone else's ability
to disseminate information. Weakening "censorship" so that it includes
negative commentary on someone (however unfounded), doesn't seem to me
like a very good idea. (You can cry 'wolf' now, but what happens when
the real thing turns up?)

Danny Yee.