[ilds] The Market Place of Ideas

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 12 17:06:40 PDT 2007


I don't do scholarship, once but no more.  I read books.  I respond to what I read and respond to what others say about those same materials.  I react to ideas and agree or disagree when appropriate.  I recall this being the method that I was taught in graduate school.  When challenged or ridiculed, I also respond to the attack.  That's known as defending your position, which I can do myself and don't need to go through others.  Didn't someone recently say we were in a "market place of ideas," or something to that effect?  The agora or forum is not a garden party.  Lots of haggling goes on in those places, lots of give and take.  The Socratic dialogue is not a matter of simply saying, "Oh yes, Socrates."  Ad hominem?  Show me.  My remarks are directed at ideas, which are associated with people.  If I misrepresent someone's ideas, well, let that person correct me.  My ideas have been snickered or laughed at.  So what?  Give and take.  Maybe I need to sharpen my focus, express something more clearly, but I don't need to keep quiet for fear of offending someone's sensibilities.  I think some people are too easily offended.

Bruce  

-----Original Message-----
>From: Edward Hungerford <eahunger at charter.net>
>Sent: Jul 12, 2007 2:37 PM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 4, Issue 16
>
>
>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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