Thin skins on anthro-l?

Fri, 27 Jan 1995 02:44:32 +0000

While I am busy trying to get a new electronic journal going here, I
just have to step back into the newest tempest in a teapot on ANTHRO-L.
I would just like to make a few points. Call 'em anthropological if
you want, they're just my observations.
1. People are nasty to each other in a lot of situations.
2. People are nasty to each other *especially* in academia, where as
my brother put it, "so many are fighting for the so little that is at
stake." (he's an economist.) I think this is in part because people have
esp. internalized the Goffman-like model of intellectual argumentation
being the same thing as warfare. (Scott? Warfare, anybody?) We must
'attack' arguments we consider wrong, and 'defend' our assertions from
3. People are REAL nasty to each other on academic email lists,
because, as has been pointed out ad nauseam in the sociology of flaming, we
don't see each other face to face, often misinterpret things others say due
to lack of context, and we dislike the fact that unless these lists are
moderated so as to keep out opinions we don't like, those opinions can turn

I often find that people here on ANTHRO-L are unnecessarily nasty to people
they disagree with. I don't find it that much worse than other academic
email lists. Fortunately, unlike the gutter-level vulgarity of Usenet
flames, you won't see people on this list telling people where to stuff
their genitalia most of the time. The insults tend to be highbrow and
clever, like so much else in academic discourse.

But I would reiterate that thin skin is bad on this list or anywhere else
in the net. You will encounter uncomfortable opinions. You should counter
bad argumentation with better argumentation rather than ad hominem attack.
But I'll weigh in with the Bauserman and co. say that if you can't stand
the shit and don't love the stuff covered over by it (e.g. the
anthropology), get out of the biz. There'll be more where that came from.

Somebody recently called me a "fool on the net." Wow. I could have a whole
bunch of good comebacks for that. But it doesn't seem to me worth the
effort. This guy doesn't _know_ me. And that's the problem that Danny tried
to rectify with the ANTHRO-L biographies. They do give insights into our
collective lives - but we still can only get glimmers of the basic
personality, and may miss out on what's going on with people.

In this particular case, the guy simply doesn't get that my signature file
is a joke. If you don't get it, you don't get it.


! Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request) !
! CyberAnthropologist, TechnoCulturalist, Guerilla Ontologist, Chaotician !
! Discordian Society, Counter-Illuminati Operations Branch !
! "One measures a circle, beginning anywhere." -- Charles Fort