From: Dan Haines <dan.haines@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 01:48:25 +0100
The list is suffering from something of a malaise. But it seems to me
the time for voting is still a little way off..? How about we discuss it
Of course, when the interactions in a relationship end up being solely
about whether there should _be_ a relationship, you know that's not
going to work out. Right?
I'm just throwing out some thoughts here. ;-)
Perhaps the problem - _is_ there a 'problem' here? Well we're all
experts at extracting problems, aren't we, so how about we formulate
this one rigorously - then it will have answered itself... - perhaps the
problem is not any individual subscriber? While I have already voiced
my annoyance in various forms, it doesn't seem to me that there is
really a 'problem' to be solved through a moderation policy which would
effectively be what? - setting up exclusions? Banning people?
Why don't we make a new list for them where they can post under our
observation. Maybe a reformatory work program? Any gold teeth, cliff?
Bad taste, I know, but what I'm trying to say is - moderation doesn't
seem a particularly creative response. It's just a variation of that
age-old game, "Who's to Blame?"
Are we even really sure what the problem is?
That some people don't like some other people's posts?
Why? What _exactly_ don't they like? Which posts _in particular_?
- I suspect we'd all come up with a different list if we tried to answer
those questions. This isn't ultimately about relevance or time-wasting
or even exhibitionism - it's about POWER. About trying to include or
exclude, about determining who gets to speak or who is qualified to
listen, about who is allowed to speak and whose discourse can be
disqualified, ignored, de-legitimated.
- One thing that no one seems to have acknowledged is the relationship
between how many posts, say, fili - oh, no, _not_ fili because fili has
apparently been thrown off already (oops! sorry folks, that just slipped
out of the closet...)- between how many posts, say, clifford sends in
and how much other activity is happening here. Much as they annoy the
hell out of me, isn't it very obvious that clifford's post are an
attempt to enliven the list and provoke some more impassioned, busy
- Could it be that the 'problem' is not any one (or two or three)
subscriber, or an excess of posts, but that most people don't post at
all? The nature of the list can only be that it reflects back what is
put into it.
- I have to say I find it laughable that calls for moderation should be
prompted by someone calling someone else a cunt. And, while I
appreciate the argument made for the inappropriateness of this - it
wasn't cliff's finest hour, sure - I am very unconvinced and a little
startled by what seemed to me to be a rather elitist argument, made by
John Morton. I hardly think it's the worst thing you could call
anyone? In my experience, at least, it's no longer the taboo word it
once was. In the current moral climate, in the UK anyway, calling some
a pederast or paedophile would probably be more shocking, wouldn't it..?
Oh, we had that too. But no shocked appeal followed of the kind which
'cunt' seems to have prompted (though there was a strong response,
John, you seem to imply that to swear/ how much you swear / how
violently is a) related to economic status or b) something we, as - you
assume - middle-class intellectuals, should have 'transcended'?
Personally, I have no desire to see swearing cease: it's a part of human
communication, verbal or otherwise, and a healthy one which needs no
complex theoretical explanations involving inner-city poverty or
drug-addiction, etc.. People swear sometimes because other people
annoy them, and it's healthy to tell someone to "fuck off" or that
they're "a cunt" in that situation. I believe the alternative is
deep-rooted, brooding, resentment and years of therapy? Or the
confessional booth? Or burning women as witches because anxieties and
slights are so held in they can only explode in mass hysterical
finger-pointing, bonfire-building bloodlust?
Having said that I don't see the _need_ for a theoretical adventure of
the sort you proposed, here's some alternative theoretical angles,
Your description seems to find its ground in a rather 'Hegelian' thought
to me, where "we" are at a higher stage and have o"vercome" the need for
'bad language'. To me, you raise an unwelcome spectre - of consensus,
the terror of consensus... This list is informal, no consensus is
required or expected - and that is one of its greatest strengths.
People say things that are more off-the-cuff, highly speculative,
flippant, and passionate than Anglo-American academic conventions allow
for in print. Unlike Deleuze, I like to _discuss_ my ideas and I find
it helpful to do so in an unrestricted forum? That involves
disagreement, division, conflict and antagonism.
Also, I can't help but notice that you construct your mise-en-scene
around the notion of a need for recognition? Again, my brain ticks the
Hegel box. (I have a very limited knowledge of Hegel and I'm talking
about Hegel-filtered-through-Deleuze's critique, however unfair that may
be, etc. that's another issue, besides my point here!)
You seem to imagine a passive desire, a desire that lacks attention and
wants it. Doesn't this lead to a reading which proposes a slave
morality as the normal state... I'm not making any claims about anyone's
intentions, but wouldn't it also be _possible_ to read cliff's mails as
more like a an assertion of dominance, an attempt to impose power? And
wouldn't that be a rather more 'Deleuzian' approach, in light of his
As I have mentioned before, I see the model here as mammalian primate
shit-hurling, a well documented phenomena. We have reterritorialized
onto words instead of shit, and we hurl them in displays of dominance
and submission. Now, I'm not about to say that cliff is attempting to
be the king shit-hurler, but if you think about it wouldn't introducing
moderation be exactly - the herd response? The submissive response?
"S/He menaces us, so we join together for security, to control
I'm just trying to put your psuedo-sociological logics next to
Nietzsche's psuedo-sociological logics... I'm absolutely not asserting
this is the case, I'm just trying to open up some real discussion about
why _exactly_ the list would benefit or not from moderation.
I think it's a neat trick to reduce the positive desire for dominance to
a negative one for recognition, but I also think that lobotomizes our
idea of who we are, what it means to be an rational animal. Evolution
was not planned by liberal pacifist types who saw rational consensus as
the top survival strategy (any more than it was planned by wild rippling
Dionysian carnivores who favoured disembowelment! Or planned at all!)
Obviously, I have serious reservations about _why_ this list should be
moderated. I think I've covered the main points I had to make, so -
Thank you all for your kind attention. Now I have to go to sleep as
it's already almost two in the morning and my two and a half year-old
niece is throwing a birthday party for me tomorrow!
"A great problem, deserving acute attention.
I solved it by turning out the lights and
going to bed." - John Fante, Ask The Dust