Re: Johnson's Removal from Anthro-l

William Bangs (wbbangs@U.WASHINGTON.EDU)
Tue, 14 Mar 1995 13:07:33 -0800


On Tue, 14 Mar 1995, Adrian Tanner wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Mar 1995, Ken JACOBS wrote:
> > Thank you Hugh, for an insightful explanation of our `rules of
> > order'. In light of the explanation, I, for one, feel that you
> > have acted appropriately. My previous comments in this affair,
> > having been made without benefit of such insight, no longer
> > pertain and I retract them.
> >
> > Keep up the good work.
> >
> > With best wishes, Ken Jacobs Anthropologie U de M
> >
> If the only reasons for kicking Johnson off were libel/slander and posting
> other's messages without permission, then in my view something about the
> process went seriously wrong. For several days sides were drawn, sharing
> a common (miss-)assumption about what was the issue we thought we were
> debating.
> Like Ken, I expressed myself without being fully aware of all the facts.
> Now we are told that there was actually no censorship involved. I have not
> made up my mind whether this claim is true or not - as Hugh says, the
> proof lies in the list's archives (apart from his private messages to
> Johnson). But I imagine Johnson and some others are now convinced, and not
> without reason, given the outrage expressed towards him for matters having
> nothing to do with Hugh's formal charges against him, that he was actually
> censored simply because people did not like what he wrote.
> I suggest that the way kicking him off was done has allowed this
> conviction of injured innocence to be cultivated. Surely, it is a bad
> thing for a list to be perceived (whether accurately or not) to have
> kicked someone off, not for breaking the rules, but because certain people
> did not like the content of his messages.
> Another unfortunate consequence for me is that several people whose views
> I have up to now respected advocated Johnson's removal, without doing so
> on the basis of any claim that he broke a specific rule we all accepted in
> advance. I was disgusted to read all this talk about 'Hugh can kick off
> anyone he likes any time', an argument so bereft of principle that it has
> to rely on nothing more than the assertion of raw power. Thank you, Hugh,
> for not stooping to that level of justification. I am certainly relieved
> to find that most people (by my guess) finally spoke up against kicking
> Johnson off the list, and comming down against censorship. But to those of
> you who advocated dropping him without any refererence to any clear
> principle, such as his claimed libel/slander or reposting crimes, I have
> to say I lost a lot of respect for you. That makes me sad.
> After the time when the discussion on the list turned to dropping Johnson,
> I think it is very unfortunate that the censorship debate, which all on
> both sides who contributed assumed was Hugh's reason for dropping him, was
> not diffused immediately. This could have been done by posting the real
> reason behind the list-owner's problem with him. There was an opportunity
> then to take a principled stand away from even the *perception* of
> political censorship.
> Sorry to be so wise after the event, but we have to be wise some time,
> don't we?
> Adrian Tanner