a plague of unsubcribes and current issues

John H. Stevens, Jr. (jhs14@CORNELL.EDU)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 23:36:08 -0500

After perusing the fifteen or so messages in my anthro-l unread file, I
immediately noticed a pattern emerging, where a number of people who I have
never read a single word from before decide to post their first and last
message to the list wherein they excoriate several hundred people they do
not know for a smattering of bandwidth they consider

> a bunch of rude squabbling children.

>mateiral [which] in no way contributes to
>my professional or academic development.


> a waste of my time.

Well, pardon me, but don't let the door smack yer butt on the way out!! I
can take flamers, I can take occasional squabbling or a frustrated
eruption, I can take (and sometimes participate in) silliness, I revel in
banty witter. . . er, witty banter, and as much as three times a day
something provocative comes through me door. Anyone who can't realize that
this is a fairly open forum of communication and can't fit the concept that
we are human beings into their concept of social group or community best
plug their eyeballs back into the TV, which at the moment doesn't talk
back. Welcome to the world, folks, where we don't always invoke Geertz or
Durkheim or Marcus Aurelius and keep our conversations at a nice, safe
abstract level with no emotional involvement. Sometimes folks yell,
sometimes they wickedly riposte, sometimes they support (thanks, John McC,
for the open letter!!), and, indeed, sometimes I have made each of the
three above quoted critiques of discourse here. Hmmm. . . this is
amazingly like talking to a group of *real people*!!

Sorry, I just can't take pointless (or even pointed) narcissism, which is
what such messages are. If people want polite conversation, they should go
to a department mixer. If they want companions who won't do disagreeable
things, they should invest in pets.

As for the worthwhile posts (of which there were several), I think I'll
sleep on them.

And don't worry, I'm not talking behind their backs. This will be promptly

Best regards,

John H. Stevens, Jr.
Department of Anthropology
Cornell University

Student Area Coordinator, Amnesty International (Central NY)
Co-Chair, Urgent Action Coordinator, and Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator,
Cornell Student Chapter

snail: c/o Dept. Of Anthropology, 265 McGraw Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853
phone and fax: 607.256.1829 (call first!)
alternate fax: 607.255.3747

"The Earth you cannot remake
Put your stormy soul to rest
Only one thing you can do:
good to another man

But even this is so great
The stars themselves smile
One hungry man less
means one brother more"

Stig Dagerman (with apologies for the universalized "man").