Re: Censorship

William Bangs (wbbangs@U.WASHINGTON.EDU)
Sat, 11 Mar 1995 23:56:44 -0800

Hi again, folks. My thought about Danny's comment is this: there are
basically two issues, relevance and the right not to get unwanted mail.
I will take these up in reverse order:

1. Unwanted mail: We all had to subscribe to anthro-l, which means we had
to agree to get mail every day from people we don't know. Now if, as Mr.
Yee suggests, not censoring Mr. Johnson will mean that "everybody'll
leave, and he [Robert Thornton] will be dictator over an empty list",
then I can only say that's a good thing. We are all free to subscribe
and unsubscribe from this list -- a much less abusive practice of others'
rights than curtailing their speech because it is undesirable.

2. The forum question: Danny, I'm not sure your logic really holds,
though, like mine, it is VERY widespread. Look at it this way: do we
really want the net to become so specialized that people must subscribe
to as many mailing lists as they have interests? Is that really the way
to foster any kind of community? Sure I've heard people talking about
how once you search out like-minded people on a list that means you've
found your niche. But which do we think is more appropriate re Robert
Johnson -- that he find his niche, or that he be exposed to people who
think differently from him, and are not afraid to tell him so? Now I
would say that if someone persists in, say, posting recipies for
Bulgarian dinner dishes to anthro-l or seasia-l (you're on that list too,
are you not, Danny?) then we have everyt right to point out to them that
a list probably exists where their contributions would be much more
eagerly sought after. But the more we fracture ourselves as a community
the more we encourage unsavory ideas like Robert Johnson's into a shady
background from which he (or a diciple) can strike out violently at the
people of Chiapas, then retreat back into obscurity. Anyway, such are my

Ben Bangs

Do what's right, not what's easy!