Robert Johnson and his interlocutors

Walter Carroll (wcarroll@TOPCAT.BRIDGEW.EDU)
Sun, 12 Mar 1995 18:25:48 EST

Robert Johnson may have made his most important contribution to this list
by "provoking" Hugh Jarvis to throw him off. In two months on this list, I
have generally been disappointed by the level of discussion on the list.
I suspected that there were many reasonable, anthropologically sophisticated
list members, but saw few postings from them. This controversy has brought
out those people. It has sparked a wide-ranging, informed debate.

Robert Johnson has often been unpleasant, unreasonable, and sanctimonious.
However, he has raised important issues. He has posted items containing
useful information on a variety of topics. He has done nothing that I can
see as justifying his removal from the list.

Frankly, I am most annoyed at Robert Johnson for the nature of the responses
he seems to provoke. We have been treated to several "scholars" suggesting
that Robert Johnson needs professional counseling. Think about the
disregard for the feelings of another human being that it takes to post
a message suggesting that someone is "one brick short of a load." If you
have saved some other messages responding to Robert Johnson, reread them.
Can you say "pretentious"? I thought so.

I think that Robert Johnson should stay on the list. I would appreciate it
if Hugh Jarvis would address the issue and explain his position. He has
usually seemed very reasonable and I don't doubt that Johnson is a real
thorn in his side. Isn't is possible, thought, that throwing him off the
list is an over-reaction. Let us delete his messages and the responses to

Walter Carroll
Sociology/Anthropology, Hart Hall Phone: 508-697-1355
Bridgewater State College Fax: 508-697-1771
Bridgewater, MA 02325 Email: