Re: racists, fascists,

douglass st.christian (stchri@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Fri, 8 Apr 1994 08:35:12 -0400


interesting turn of events here, which, since i had thrown some soap into
the wash earlier, i am behooved to comment on...

yee admits, gleefully and proudly, that he dismisses unread or at least
un-understood, an entire body of literature on the ever-so flexible
grounds that it is too difficult/obscure...that smacks of either laziness
or scholarly dishonesty

others, too numerous to mention, blithely equate difficult writing with
bad ideas, setting up the rather bizzarre formula that that idea is best
which is simplest and accuse authors dealing in troublesome and
difficult to express ideas of doing nothing more than kind of egregious
self- aggrandizement dance

still others congratulate themselves on their discovery of a sure fire
method for evaluating the usefulness of ideas ... if i can read it while
i sit on the toilet, well hot damn, its just gotta be good...

and then stephanie nelson, of whom no calmer and more thoughtful voice
has emerged in this tattered thread of a pseudo-discussion, reminds us of
the dangers of 'academic fascism', the dismissal of ideas based on
spurious criteria such as 'readability' and the very real and very nasty
implication that new, controversial, troubling or troublesome,
uncomfortable ideas can be ignored, set aside, so long as we use grammar
and not content as our guide and bang bash biff boom as they used to say
in the old batman tv series....

she gets flamed, insulted....

i flipped back over these messages this morning in a kind of stunned awe
at the virulence and vitriol of the insults levelled against nelson,
wondering just what nerve has been touched by the suggestion that before
we can dismiss a persons ideas, we need first to at least understand them...

i wondered just what button had been pushed which had brought out the
rush limbaugh element that seems, at the end of the day, to run through
anthropology as much as it runs through the rest of the great american
[read north american] heartland

this ain't no discussion... this is censorship of the worst kind, a
censorship of ideas masquerading as the one, the only good and proper
concern for truth...