Hendrickson's twaddle

Aaron Fox (aaf@CCWF.CC.UTEXAS.EDU)
Tue, 22 Nov 1994 23:10:26 -0600

A necessary response to Lief M. Hendrickson from Aaron A. Fox

My word, -- I seem to invite trouble every time I post to this list!

Hendrickson writes (among other vicious *bon mots*):

"I hope the list of fools that sign Mr. Fox's petition doesn't

I am compelled to respond to Mr. Hendrickson's blast, because he
insults (as "fools!") not only me but a list of letter-signers that
includes at this point some of the most eminent and distinguished
anthropologists, linguists, folklorists, and ethnomusicologists in the
world, as well as numerous students of these great scholars. And many of
these people are my friends.
(email me for a complete and updated listing)

I am restraining myself mightily, although those who have been
around the list know I am capable of some pretty serious flame-throwing
vitriol, and care little for spurious b.s., like Ms. Hendrickson's
"taxpayer" rhetoric. Most of the illegal immigrants in this country,
indeed, are "taxpayers," invited by agribusinesses to pick our fruit but
forbidden by a certain kind of ignorant, graceless, wrong-headed "taxpayer"
from learning to read or getting antibiotics.

I certainly respect Mr. Hendrickson's right to disagree with me and
the more than 70 signers (as of this evening) of the petition to the AAA.
But I have no respect for the tone he strikes in stating his disagreement.
Anthropology (going back to Boas and before) has a long history of standing
up for justice, freedom, and human rights, and if need be, against the
state and against racists, bigots, fascists, and other vermin of history.
"Professional" detachment is a pathetic excuse for political quiescence.

In addition, those "professionals" for whom mr. hendrickson holds
such Judas-like regard (doctors, teachers, lawyers, journalists, and
researchers, for example) are *directly targeted* by Prop 187, and the
petition I am circulating on behalf of my colleagues is as much about the
danger to anthropology from this misbegotten law as the danger to immigrant
communities. I refer, of course, to the challenge to the automomy of the
professions enshrined in the provision fo Prop 187 which instructs
professional service-providers to rat out their clients to the state if
they suspect their clients are not carrying the proper pieces of paper this
week. Orwellian or not, my friends? If you were an immigrant
fruit-picker, would you ever trust an *ethnographer* under these
circumstances? Already immigrant children are staying home from schools
and pregnant mothers and sick children are too terrified to go the
emergency rooms, and the law is not yet being enforced.

Enough. Mr. hendrickson's diatribe probably does not deserve this
level of response.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Celebrate the arrival of the
first illegal immigrants to these shores in 1620! And sign our petition if
you agree with us, or state thoughtfully why you do not, or ignore the
whole shebang, or go back to your hole if you are incapable of forming a
thought and have only ignorant twaddle in your mind.

Best wishes from a ship of "fools,"

Aaron Fox
Graduate sudent, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (Texas taxpayers)
Mellon Fellow (Pennsylvania Aristocrats)
as of 1/94 (Acting until diss. is done) Asst. Prof. of Anthro, The Univ. of
Washington, (Washington taxpayers, including many illegal immigrants
picking fruit)