Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another point of view

A good friend of mine who does not have a Blogger account e-mailed me this response to my last post with a request that I post it. I appreciate the feedback. I have always welcomed civil disagreement with my opinions on this blog. The rest of the post is his.

Your last entry regarding anonymous bloggers raised some good points. It is true that there are many in academia who would rather hide behind the anonymity of the internet. However, this may not always be because they are simply too pussy to stand by their own views. In the current political climate, tenure is not really a guarantee of free speech anymore - witness the Ward Churchill controversy or the pressure brought by groups like Students for Academic Freedom. In recent years it has become a stated goal of the American right to bend the academy further in that ideological direction. Given these circumstances, it seems logical that tenure or tenure-track academics would be more reluctant to associate their names/professions with controversial views. This has a very chilling effect upon the academy and learning in general.
You are correct that people should be willing to stand by the things that they put in print. However, the internet is not exactly like an academic journal. Anonymity has always been a part of its allure. It seems likely that this allure will only increase in the near term, given the political considerations I mentioned above.

Ironically, I would have posted this on your comments section, but you have disabled anonymous posting. Perhaps you can post it for me? I do not care to register or start my own blog, so perhaps you would consider enabling anonymous posting until someone abuses it? Also, I am not sure if your blog site has this capability, but others include a feature wherein you can allow anonymous posting but the post does not actually go up until you screen it yourself. You might want to consider this feature in case there are those that would like to comment but are too lazy to register (like me) and don't have your email address (which I could not find anywhere on the blog, is this intentional?).

Just some thoughts,
Ben

1 comment:

Danny Horchato said...

You say you accept "civil disagreement" and yet you cast aspersions about thousands upon thousands of academics by simplistically labelling them PC leftists of some sort or other who wish to deny you a job because you're white or because they are inferior. That is not civil, constructive nor responsible.

Then you call anonymous bloggers cowards. This is outrageous. Professors blog about their personal lives and don't wish their students and colleagues to know about it. This is perfectly understandable. What is less understandable is why professors or anyone would want to journal about their personal lives in public. Why they think anyone gives a darn about how many papers they graded etc.

Frankly, I believe your job search would be better served if you blogged anonymously. Why do you want potential employers to know about your private life? I don't want my potential employers to know all my political opinions and complaints about whatever. I want to be known as a professional, and that implies boundaries. It's not a courage issue.

By the way, re: your last post: postcolonial Studies does not reign supreme in literary studies nor is it PC. There is no consensus "PC" construct in literary studies today. The age of the predominance of one school of theory is over. There are materialists, postcolonialists, deconstructionists, and all kinds of other critics, but no single lingua franca. Trust me. I don't presume to speak about theories of historiography and make sweeping generalizations because it's not my field. You should do the same with other disciplines.