boiler-plate counter-counter-flame

Aaron Fox (aaf@CCWF.CC.UTEXAS.EDU)
Thu, 6 Oct 1994 11:31:21 -0500

Thurs 10/6

Dear counter-flamers all:

Alright, I was worked up. And I'm truly sorry. I didn't think there was
anything especially violent about my words, just serious. But both the
blasters and some friends let me know I was *way* out of line and I admit
it on re-reading (a most painful experience). In fact, one let me know in
no uncertain terms: "your dissertation nerves are showing, and perhaps yu
should stay off email for a month or two. So I hesitate to post even this.

I apologize big-time to Jim Mcreery in particular (whose response was
incredibly measured). And to anybody else who was caught in the backwash of
my flame-thrower (a powerbook). I am having a rancid crow steak and a slice
of stale humble pie for breakfast, washed down with my own bile. For lunch
I may have hat or foot.

And I concede the points of numerous counter-flamers about the width of
the gray area between the extremes I was talking about and the need to
acknowledge the humanity of all. And I shall go back to lurking until the
diss. is done.

But I still worry about advertising and anthropology getting in bed or even
going on a date together. Polemic is my favorite net genre. Put them
together and you get what I wrote.

And I would like to stress (not in self-defense but in an attempt to make
my point more effectively) that real violence is happening in the name of
business all over the world, in Indonesian rain forests and the waters
down-river from the Ok Tedi gold mine in PNG, in the fields where
farmworkers slave to pick fruit in the Americas, and in the oil fields of
the Siberian tundra, in the Nike factories in Malaysia and in the garment
factories in the American Trust Territories where virtual indentured labor
produces clothing that can be advertised (and is) in the glossy pages of
the NY Times Magazine as "made in america." The ad-men (yes, of course,
SOME ad-men) use images of "cultural" difference to sell their stuff, and
more and more nowadays they use anthropologists to figure out how to reach
into the few remaining pockets of human life where they do not already
dominate discourse and material existence (just like what's happening on my
beloved Internet, see below).

So I freaked out when I interpreted Jim Mcreery's message as implying that
my scholarship is or ought to be conducted in the service or at the whim of
this stuff. Plus I have a chapter due this week and couldn't face it

And just another datum for the argument: I've been hearing that Internet
advertising is coming (lots and lots of it) and, soon, heavy-duty charges
for internet access and use, are on their way . . . as this particular
backwater of dialogue without profit gets colonized so the businessmen can
make money off of this too.

Sorry again if I scared/angered/upset you. And thanks again to
counter-flamers and gentle comebacks (like Jim Mcreery's own, . . . he
said ashamedly) alike. Keep 'em coming it need be. Long live free,
non-commercial speech (although no doubt soon they'll figure out how to
sell THAT back to us too. Can you imagine the ad campaign? "Patrick Henry
had free speech . . . AND he wore khakis!" . . . )

Humble pie is not so bad after all

Aaron Fox

AARON A. FOX tel. (512) 326-8885 fax (512) 471-6535
Dept. of Anthropology Univ.of Texas at Austin Austin TX 78712