David DeGusta (degusta@UCLINK.BERKELEY.EDU)
Fri, 14 Oct 1994 02:42:30 -0800

>Back to moderation of the list... If Hugh Jarvis wants the list to
>be apolitical, then it should be so. If his motives for keeping
>certain discussions off the list are themselves political, well
>perhaps that's none of our business.
> John Hoopes
I strongly disagree with the above remarks by Dr. Hoopes, while
agreeing with most of Dwight Read's comments. Contrary to the above
sentiment, I feel that as members of this list, the censoring of topics
(and the motivation for doing it) *should* be our business. In that regard,
I have a few points I wanted to share:
1. The best way to encourage an academic debate is for an authority
figure to try and stifle it (this e-mail is Exhibit A ... or should that be
Exhibit AA?). I'd add that peoples views on the censorship attempt are
probably not completely independent of their views on the direction of the
AA (just for the record, I have no opinion because N=1).
2. People hardly ever think that they themselves are doing
something "political." They're just doing the right thing, the thing that's
best for the AAA, the thing that's best for the field, what's best for the
nation, etc. Of course your opponents, now those folks are motivated by
"political concerns."
3. So then Dr. Hoopes, who decides what is apolitical (if there is
even such a thing), and by what criteria? While we're on the subject of
"restrictions," let's only allow intelligent e-mails on this list. Anyway,
the issue isn't really about what is political or appropriate. Several
others have noted that much of what is discussed on this list is
"political," and the flaming surrounding hooks and sex/aggression certainly
wasn't "appropriate" for an academic list.
4. It's about power, and in this I agree with Dwight Read. You can
be political as you want on this list, and even pretty foul-mouthed. People
have. So long as it's not about the powers that be in anthropology or
attacking people who edit important journals.

David DeGusta
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
P.S. I use the word "censorship" because that is what we're talking about,
after all.