Brad Duren writes, re Carroll Cox: "So... your own posting here would have been deleted in compliance with your specific standards" -- and re a prime nuisance, "since [he] leans to the right, he is fair game." Brad, you seem to have read Cox's post carelessly, and the conversation as well, perhaps in accordance with some presuppositions. Cox's position was clearly personal, saying in effect, "I find this person's posts, and posts about hiis positions and manners, to be so fruitlessly irritating to read that I routinely ignore them. I have a small tool to do so efficiently, which others similarly minded might find useful." To compare this to a process of deleting someone from the list-conversation itself seems more foolish than malign. If you have not resorted to such a kind of "censorship" yourself, with or without software facilitation, I imagine you must either not have spent much time in reading weakly-moderated online forums, or have wasted time better spent in responding to your students' needs. As for what's fair game for "intolerance" and why, you again confuse the personal ( in this case, a widely-shared distaste for someone's personal manners) with the general (contempt for a political tendency.) My own case illustrates the problem of Mr. Unmannerly's manners compactly. My very first post to this conference departed neutrally (even somewhat sympathetically) from his reference to a tragedy, to point to present issues of educational governance. He responded with a canned tirade having nothing to do with the subject of my post, stopping just short of ad hominem character attack save by nuance, a boundary not well observed with others. [I quote the texts as addendum below.] This pattern of attack seems to be habitual, and dominates his enthusiastic contribution to this forum. The problems with such behavior would be clearer, and more amenable to solution, if we were all in a big room with one microphone. Read in that setting, this discourse and its microphone would seem to be dominated by the few most aggressive and energetic in attacking others and/or in their self-conviction of their own importance. In participant-democratic company, we would be wise to regulate the microphone's use so that no one could dominate, necessarily by restricting the frequency and length of individuals' contributions. Observing how invective and personal attack provoke more of the same, cloud thought, and actively discourage participation, we might also require that people speak civilly to and of each other, and even deny the microphone to those who refused to honor such limitations. If we didn't take such measures, we'd of course expect people to drift out of the room, disappointed with a degraded conversation. For many, such old-fashioned manners may seem irrelevant to the new millenium, in which everyone is empowered to offer everything to everyone without censorship, and to pick and choose what they want. But really, isn't the existential experience of this list more old-fashioned than new? The main difference from the tyrannical, ruled-by-force microphone is our ability to skip down the pages, facilitated some by the list of contributions at the top -- but even so, the actual experience of dealing with this linear transcript is remarkably similar to the one--microphone model, unless one employs software as Cox does to screen out domineering noise. The process would be easier and the experience less similar if this list were organized by hyperlinks (perhaps it is and I just haven't recognized this?) But even then, and certainly in this case, the degradation of the discourse is as evident as the loss of readership and participation. For one coming, as I do, to look in on it seriously for the first time, its state is disappointing to behold. Michael Rossman <firstname.lastname@example.org> >[HE:} . . . the SLA became famous . . . with the cold blooded assassination of > Marcus Foster, the first black superintendent of Oakland's schools. [ME:] Although I abhor such violence as much as the next pacifist, even at targets less-generally respected, it's instructive to review the rationale given by the SLA for the assassination of Marcus Foster. As I recall, they saw him as presiding over the military pacification of the public schools -- the key points being their fenced enclosure with armed guards, and the drugging of then-termed "hyperactive" students, particularly with Ritalin. Although the paths of development since do not coincide with SLA expectations, the irony of the present situation is apparent. For the degree of protective fortification and policing has advanced significantly, not only in inner-city schools but in spreading to those more privileged; and the degree of drugging, across all social levels, has multiplied remarkably with the popularity of ADD/ADHD diagnosis and the general trend towards pharmaceutical management of personal and social problems. Ironically also, perhaps, Foster's assassination was a significant factor in disrupting the development of analyses and activism concerned with the conjunction of these two continuing developments. [HE:] Although you abhor violence Michael do you also feel obligated to give Hitler's rationale for the bombing of Britain (it was to bring "peace"), Stalin's rationale for killing 10 million kulaks (they were defending capitalism), etc. Marcus Foster was implementing the policies of an elected school board. In a democracy you vote the school board out if you don't like it's policies. You don't ambush the school district's hired administrator, a father of three children, with cyanide bullets. You were once an intelligent man, Michael. What happened to you?
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