Re: RJ trial

Thomas W. Rimkus (trimkus@COMP.UARK.EDU)
Wed, 15 Mar 1995 11:29:06 -0600

On Wed, 15 Mar 1995, Harriet Whitehead wrote:

> Following up on some of Stephanie's good comments, I'm fascinated
> to hear the different images people are coming up with to try to
> understand the social nature of the "list" : a local bar, a salon, now a
> seminar. Oh yes, and someone conjured up a herd of deer with 'young buck'
> (presumably Johnson) challenging the male elders...hunh? Not really the
> way a herd of deer is organized, and not an image that would've done
> Johnson any good anyway considering the number of "does" on the list that
> were voting for his exclusion.

There are many points of view to be analyzed and assimilated stemming
from the RJ issue, and many on the list seem little interested in this
process. There are always those who are not interested in analyzing
their own clubhouse.

There is a process at work here, I believe, which is something akin to the
usual process of peer criticism but at a much higher rate of response and
without some of the old "tried and true" mechanisms which hold the
process in stability. RJ had the opportunity to make
comment and criticism on the anthropological community which would not
have been available to him without this electronic voice. He was heard
and rebuffed, but was not silenced from being heard again (which would
have happened if his voice were to be heard in the usual "journal and
conference" mode). This was frustrating to many on the list who are not
used to being verbally abused about the very underpinnings of their

My analogy to the deer herd did not go far enough, RJ was kicked and
would not submit. The analogy aims only at the issue of criticism of his
postings and not his removal. That is a totally different issue as has
been pointed out by the listowner. Whether he was run off from the herd
or is just lurking at the edge of the clearing remains to be seen.

BTW, bucks "do" congregate without does in the summer
months before the rut (at least here in the wilderness of Arkansas where
I have been observing them for the last 20 years). Also, I
did not exclude a mapping of both male and female ANTHRO-Listers onto the
set of "bucks" in the herd. That was your sexist interpretation. If you
want to argue about the "correct" role of a buck and a doe in the world
of deer, I would be interested in seeing how you conjure up this most absurd
"anthropomorphism". Look deeper at the analogy and see if there might be
a lesson to the list community having to do with a change in the
peer review methodology brought about by this instant and somewhat
uncontrolled forum.

Tom Rimkus