Re: [sixties-l] Re: debates and Horowitz and listserve

From: Jeffrey Apfel (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 22:23:20 CUT

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    Historians of the future will find the listserv explosion of the current era a
    valuable resource at least as much in anthropological terms as in purely
    intellectual ones. These little all-verbal meme packets not only transmit ideas
    but also serve as a concrete and permanent record of collective behavior.

    I suspect if anyone digs up this recent exchange on Horowitz and flames they will
    not only sift through the content, but will also study what it says about the
    behavior of groups. I for one find Country Joe's initial suggestion about double
    agentry and the subsequent (for the most part) endorsement of same as
    entertaining as ludicrous. The collective circling of wagons that ensued not
    only reminded me of some of the gamier aspects of the sixties but points to a
    recurring habit that, however odd, seems like it must be too pleasurable to
    break. Tragedy to farce indeed.

    And please, I never met David Horowitz and have no affiliation with the NSA, CIA
    or any other clandestine organization devoted to squashing the left just as it is
    getting its act together again. I'm not even on the right. As I have said
    before in the few times I've had the gall, or guts, to wade into this mess, I
    agree Horowitz is a polemicist of the first order, but the plain truth that even
    he soft pedals is that the skills he still employs he learned on the left. And
    while Horowitz doesn't own the Sixties, neither do any of those on the list made
    uncomfortable by his remarks.

    Truly, I think that an objective reader of much of the discussion here would find
    that these messages--left and right--are polemical battles in the first instance,
    so please don't make it all a matter of Horowitz's vitriol. I know that where
    the right finds the left naive, the left finds the right evil, so there is a
    built-in assymetry in world views. If you think your side is virtuous, your
    polemics become invisible. But check it out! Read the past exchanges as if you
    are from Mars and you may discover that, to an extent you hadn't considered, your
    head may be in Uranus.

    Jeff Apfel

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