[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 4, Issue 16

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Thu Jul 12 15:23:10 PDT 2007

I have used the word 'useless' about certain approaches, not about  
people.  The remark I made below, 'there is no end to this cancer', was  
meant to be taken with some humour as an expression of hapless  
resignation at yet another riposte (by an academic, I cannot remember  
whom) made along familiar lines.  I might be wrong, but I think that is  
probably the one remark I made that could apply to a class of people  
and therefore be taken as ad hominem; my other remarks have always been  
against arguments and ideas.


On Thursday, July 12, 2007, at 10:37  pm, Edward Hungerford wrote:

> 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
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> 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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