Hugh Jarvis-anthropologist! (fwd)

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Fri, 10 Mar 1995 06:47:27 -0700

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 06:46:09 -0700 (MST)
From: Robert Johnson <johnsorl@Colorado.EDU>
To: Hugh Jarvis <C129QP43@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Hugh Jarvis-anthropologist!

On Thu, 9 Mar 1995, Hugh Jarvis wrote:

> I don't agree with you there. Just because a government is doing bad
> things to its people is no valid ethical reason not to do field work
> as long as your work is not aiding that government in its bad activities.

Lets put this in the context of reality. You can go to Chiapas
and ethnographically record a culture which is the target of
systematic murder. You stand around taking notes while the
Mexican Army kills men, women, and children yet, you don't
intervene because you so presumptively have judged yourself
a necessary surviver to record these activities for posterity.
You'll say thats not what you meant. But how do you visualize
this in any other way. Maybe you'll say that you would intervene
to save someone, but how would you save them if you're only
armed with a clipboard? You'll say I'll have my laptop P.C.,
and I'm sure the Mexican Army will allow you to E-Mail the
terrible events. But, you'll say I'll be more adept at this
than you relate. How? I would suggest you'd end up like most
who do fieldwork in Guatemala, with their eyes and ears closed.

The only morally legitimate way to go to Chiapas is with a gun.

> Your field work will be of value long after that activity is long over.

For whom will your fieldwork be of value. Certainly not the dead
men, women, and children of Chiapas.

> There are proper outlets for protest of foreign governmental actions,
> such as our own government, and popular protest.

The United States government is involved in the murder in Chiapas.
Popular protest is so much "liberal" posturing.

> Curtaillment of all
> research too is not necessary.

Then what research do you feel is legitimate while the Mayan and
Mestizo peoples of Chiapas are being murdered.

> Do you live in a wood house? If so,
> your decision has helped to encourage the lumber companies in British
> Columbia to cut down old growth forests, and similar companies to
> completely denude mountains in the US Northwest!!

This is what is termed the rhetorical device of the "straw man."
Because you have not thought out the implications of what you
are talking about, you glibly switch to what you will feel will
make some sort of point for you.

> And if you write on paper, for research or otherwise, you similarly
> encourage such activities!!

Your use of double quotes means I assume you've made your point.

> Accusing people who study those who are being hurt of
> aiding in murder is ridiculous.

Then I can assume you would have foreseen ethnographic fieldwork
opportunities outside of Dachau and other industries of "positive
eugenics." And of course archaeological and physical anthro
opportunities, to echo your previous statement "of when it is
all over."

> Indeed, the Mexican government most likely does not want people to research the people in Chiapas because
> such activity brings attention to them and their existence as human
> beings. It makes it harder for the Mexican government to kick them
> into line.

Actually, those who are doing research for the World Bankers and
The National Science Foundation seem to have many avenues of
research on the human element which seems to be "objective."
The Mexican Army, as well as that of Guatemala, seem to have
no problem "kicking" people into line around anthropologists,
or is it apologists?

> Finally, this discussion started as a question about
> whether anthropologists should be doing research in Mexico at all,
> not specifically in Chiapas. Now you have switched to focus just
> on chiapas. What's up??

I would suggest it is your focus that is constantly being changed,
yet to what.

> And this statute law complicty is totallyy
> unbelievable.

That's why I keep telling you and Danny Yee to check with
your lawyers. Maybe they can explain how inaction to stop a
crime can be a statute offense, while also explaining that your
continuing threats in private E-Mail to throw me off the list
can at this point be deemed harassment, and also that if you do
throw me off the list you'd better be dead certain about what you
say, do, and accuse me of.

> What do you mean it should be illegal to go abroad
> and ignore the physical and cultural genocide of any people...???

Don't worry, its still legal to ignore physical and cultural
genocide outside of the United States. As a matter of fact its still
legal to ignore cultural genocide in The U.S.

> Anthropological research of the Maya in Chiapas, for example, would
> do the opposite of that. It would bring the "genocide" to light!

The Chiapans seem to be doing a good enough job of telling the
world of their resistance and murder without some scientific
dilettante doing it for them.
Besides, what real use would you be safe and buying the rounds
doing what seems to be the typical fieldwork many in anthropology
find in the cantinas.

> Your statements are clearly heartfelt but highly illogical.
> Hugh

Your statements are an example of the lack of critical thinking,
lack experience in a war zone, generalized ignorance of certain
constructs of reality, and inability to interpolate from what
anthropological education you seem to have think you've gotten.

Robert Johnson

P.S. Don't you or Danny Yee contact me
by private E-Mail again. We have nothing
to say to each other.