RJ and 'normal discourse'

Professor Robert Thornton (031RTHOR@MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA)
Thu, 16 Mar 1995 08:14:38 -0500

Dan Foss quoted me as having said something about 'normal discourse'.
I recalled that I had said something about 'moral discourse', but
could not remember what I might have said about 'normal' discourse.
Here is what I said:
'RJ's] grasp of legal issues is clearly weak, weaker even than his
grasp of conventions of normal discourse on the net (thank god there
is _that_ distance), but advocating transportation of weapons across
international borders on the internet is, surely, beyond the bounds
The whole phrase referred to the context of the ANTHRO-LIST,
'discourse on the net', not to 'normal' as anyone, including DAniel
Foss, might construe it in normal (oops) discourse. Many people are
discussion what is 'normal' for net talk, and using analogies from
other 'normal' contexts. I find this interesting, if not rivetting,
since net-talk is a new(ish) social form, and has many features that
are peculiar to it, its own (if you will) 'culture'! I, like Harriet
W. am interested in what does constitute 'normal' in this
environment. I think we are acting as auto-anthropologists when we
analyse and discuss this behaviour and explore the limits and
characteristics of this mode. I find belonging to this very peculiar
community quite rewarding, and as someone said, am one who sometimes
can not keep myself from wanting to respond. I once belonged to a
department (elsewhere) whose head was fond of issuing what he called
the 'Trout of the Year Award' to anyone who 'rose to the bait' too
often. Needless to say ...

=====Professor Robert Thornton, Department of Social Anthropology====
University of the Witwatersrand, PO Wits, 2050 Johannesburg
South Africa
Office tel. : (011) 716-2900
Secretary, fax and answering machine: (011) 716-2766
Home tel: (011) 646-2578
---------------------"The New South Africa"--------------------------