politics offscale...

Gessler, Nicholas (gessler@ANTHRO.SSCNET.UCLA.EDU)
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 10:03:00 PDT

I must second Rushton's comment that: "I have only been on the net four days
and have seen numerous attempts to censor each other."

Discussion of the editorial changes in the American Anthropologist have
been stifled. Is the discussion of published manifestos and articles
off-limits? Psyche-D regularly discusses published works.

What could be more important than discussions of what constitutes
anthropology, or what does not? What could be more important than discussion
regarding the validity of our methods and procedures for making claims about
the world? Right, left, or apolitical, we all claim to have some insight
into the world around us.

Oxford defines a censor as: 1) Ancient Roman magistrate... supervising
public morals... person expressing opinions on others' morals and conduct...
2) Official licensing or suppressing as immoral, seditious, or inopportune...
news or military intelligence. 3) Various university officials. ;)

If the Tedlock's editorial policy was contentious and "too hot" for the list,
shall we agree in advance not to discuss Roy D'Andrade's "Moral Models in
Anthropology" (in press in Current Anthropology)?

Would anyone care to discuss Paul Gross' "Higher Superstition: The Academic
Left and its Quarrels with Science?" Or Thomas Nagel's "The View from
Nowhere?" Or are we in silent agreement that we are unlikely to change our
own views as the result of further discussion and consequently don't want to
waste the time? I don't know.

I do know that I learn from the discussion of contentious issues. They test
my beliefs which I may grudgingly modify from time to time. And even when
the discussion seems to offer nothing new to me, I nevertheless find it
useful to see where everyone else stands (or lurks), and useful to be exposed
to a new discourse in which I can try to get my own ideas across. When
Historical Archaeology starts discussing outhouses, when Arch-Theory
discusses anything but theory, and when Anthro-L ceases discussing some of
the major issues in anthropology, my "delete key" gets a lot of exercise, and
I start looking for other "hotter" lists. (No doubt I'm trying to find those
other venues where the epistemological issues of social science are more
"appropriately" discussed as we have been directed to do.)

Nick Gessler