Re: The spirit of the medium

Eric Crump (
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 15:32:22 -0600

On Thu, 27 Mar 1997, lisa johnson-shull wrote:
-->or who enjoy those words. Such a caution, although perhaps necessary if we
-->are firing mean and nasty remarks to each other, made me wish I had just
-->kept my silly words to myself.

*Never* keeep your silly words to yourself, Lisa! Caution should be
secondary to conversation, IMHO.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"The point of edifying philosophy is to keep the conversation going rather
than to find objective truth."
--Richard Rorty
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature

Later on the same page...

"The danger which edifying discourse tries to avert is that some given
vocabulary, some way in which people might come to think of themselves,
will deceive them into thinking that from now on all discourse could be,
or should be, normal discourse. The resulting freezing-over of culture
would be, in the eyes of edifying philosophers, the dehuminzation of human

I see that as applying to the various perspectives or sensibilities coming
to play here, not to one or another only. Those who challenge what they
see as jargon are resisting the normalization of language they don't feel
part of. Folks who challenge that challenge (I posted "clarity" with that
in mind) are resisting the pull of normal language the other way, toward
some mythical vocabulary that "everybody" *gets*.

But my call for sensitivity was not intended to shut down anybody.
(wouldn't it be lovely if my attempt to keep some folks from being shut
down shut down the alleged shutters down? I'd have to shut myself down and
move to Syracruse!) Rather, it was an attempt to influence the
conversation, to keep it going, but with a nudge in a particular
direction. That's why I included examples, both of which were instances of
expressing word peeves, one in a fun & productive way, the other in a way
I object to. I *want* people to answer Katie's call for lists of
irritating words, but hopefully with a sense of play, even joy, in the
process. The "I hate ____" posts are not devoid of ethos so much as they
overwhelm ethos with agonistics*

My intentions, of course, are not an adequate defense, but that's why I'm
writing this note. Not to rely on intentions but on conversation.

-->out how to spell it). If we can't agree to accept peoples contributions as
-->primarily good intentioned then pretty soon the exchange will dry up
-->because people will feel afraid they will be misread.

I *do* assume primarily good intentions from this crowd, (if I didn't, I
wouldn't have hung out here for the past six years!) but I don't
think good intentions necessarily justify inconsiderate expression.

-->O.K. I'm gonna send this. I am starting to sweat. Who cares what I have
-->to say? What if this sounds stupid? What if I didn't make myself clear?
-->No one really knows me and . . ..

Well, I hear ya. I sometimes go over a note once if I have doubts, but as
soon as the thought bubble begins to form over my head: "Should I send
this?" I send it. The solution to the sweats is the send key :)

Let's keep talking, Lisa!

--Eric Crump



The Margin: