[ilds] The Market Place of Ideas

durrell at telstra.com durrell at telstra.com
Fri Jul 13 05:48:27 PDT 2007

Bruce Redwine wrote:
> 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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Well said Bruce!!!.... and surely this notion that people are too easily 
offended these days will be resonant in the minds of most 
Durrellians..... If  LD could  return  from the  grave  he  would  
certainly  evict  a number  of  the ILDS contributors  immediately based 
on their frank banality..... with perhaps many more being culled in a 
slow painful fashion as suited to their level of  plastic conformity...

I am shaping the final touches to my travel plans for 2weeks in Europe 
and there may be an opportunity to organise a vegan feast   for a small 
number of ILDS members in London on the weekend of the 20th July.....all 
washed down with plenty of AUSTRALIAN wine.....Michael Haag is on the 
list....what about we save a place on the table for you Bruce?.....best DrD

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