This is another stab at what I was trying to say last night.
On Tue, 4 Mar 1997, Stacy M. Clanton posted to ACW-L:
"Mick (and those in his situation) could adopt the lie-low-until-tenure-and-then-do-what's-right strategy, but that's a bit difficult to do when 'what's right' involves technology. That's why folks in this community are grateful for empowered folks who *do* speak up."
To which I replied:
As rhetorically sound and politically astute as it may be--Mick & Johndan are pretty persuasive here & I *want* to be able to sign up for their strategies-- I have this nagging feeling that accommodating the system *is* a kind of sellout. A sellout, moreover, of the worst kind, one in which we convince ourselves that what we're doing is good because we feel it's inevitable.
The I'll-jump-the-hoops-and-*then*-I'll-vote-my-conscience stance looks to me like a kind of self entrapping rationalization. I got nothing against rationalization. Use it all the time, myself. But this is one I'm keeping at arm's length.
I think everyone who says that (I'll play ball until I have power, then we'll do things right) means well and fully intends to follow through. I say it all the time--to get through the day--and I mean it, really.
What we don't account for, can't account for, is the fact that the *process of acquiring power obligates us to support and protect the system that awards us power*, effectively negating the possibility of system-destabilizing innovation.
What people do, by way of attempting to live up to their own expectations, is make the kind of incremental, relatively safe changes that create the impression something new is happening. But the new is so constrained by inviolable tradition, that it is more cosmetic than profound.
I don't mean to contradict Mick & Johndan, really. They are right on the money here. If (if!) we wish to acquire legitimacy *within* the current system, then translating our work into forms the current system allows people to understand is definitely the way to go. But we should know that what some of us most treasure about what we do, the really new kinds of work and kinds of relationships with students and with each other are not necessarily going to translate well and may not survive the process.
Accommodating the currently dominant value system comes at a cost.
Answer to LeFevre