[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 4, Issue 16

Edward Hungerford eahunger at charter.net
Thu Jul 12 14:37:18 PDT 2007


On Jul 12, 2007, at 12:00 PM, ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca wrote:

> ----------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 20:44:25 +0100
> From: Michael Haag <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Po-co/poco
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Message-ID: <21393697-2FE7-11DC-96CA-000393B1149C at btinternet.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
>
> There is no end to this cancer.  Academics will always think up another
> another way of keeping themselves uselessly employed.
>
> :Michael
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A number of writers on this list, especially I think Michael and Bruce, 
speak consistently as though "academics"
'(whoever and wherever they are, male and female) are among the more 
foolish and unnecessary hindrances to scholarship--apparently to their 
own.   Since perhaps two-thirds of those who read this list either are 
now or have been "academics,'  --which is always and invariably used 
pejoratively  by these LIST  writers-- , I am  immediately offended, 
and by their arrogance,  not by anything substantive these writer had 
to say in print.     (I have been an academic, and am now retired.   
Was it necessary to insult me, and for what personal gain to 
yourselves?)
  I happen to enjoy good writing and did enjoy Michael's splendid book, 
ALEXANDRIA. CITY OF MEMORY (YALE U P, 2004), but it does not increase 
my respect for Michael Haag to be told that academics are uselessly 
employed.  [If a number of academics had not purchased Michael's book, 
it probably would not have earned him any money in royalties, by the 
way.   Academics make most of the recommendations to university 
libraries, too, so there is an other source of income which would be 
lost otherwise.   Michael's fulminations  are known as biting the hand 
that feeds him.]
   	  It was good that Pamela Francis introduced  the concept of 
post-colonial literary criticism, and I felt that her definition  of 
this variety of study was an excellent brief presentation of the 
subject.  (After the first wave of ridicule in messages on this list, 
there were some interesting comments about post-colonial, and 
postcolonial writing, and some interesting comments by Michael Haag as 
well, eventually.)
Then why did several on this list take it upon themselves to denounce 
it and make snide comments about this currently popular and productive 
variety of literary criticism?    Would they also dismiss Northrop 
Frye, Matthew Arnold, even Samuel Taylor Coleridge because they wrote 
literary criticism??  Maybe Aristotle also?  Matthew Arnold had a job 
for the British govt as a chief inspector of schools.  Would this have 
made him an "academic"?   Like many denunciations of people, other 
human beings, by class and/or occupation,  such a denunciation makes an 
ad hominem argument.   Why must I be ashamed of having been an  
academic?  --because Michael says were are useless?      Alas.....   Ed 
  Hungerford
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