Your usage note makes the same point I did. So I do not know what point
you want to make. It has nothing to do with authority; it has to do with
understanding the language--plus decades of teaching rhetoric, yes. You
addressed the persons (Steve and list members) to whom your objection
was directed and not the subject of his message. Similarly, in the
example you give, the Republican's address the farmers rather than the
validity of the taxes. Perhaps the OED will make it clear: "a phrase
applied to an argument or appeal founded on the preferences or principles
of a particular person rather than on abstract truth or logical cogency," in
other words, directing your argument against persons instead of issues. If
you wish to consider that a lecture, feel free. You need not pay me, in
Other than that, this speaks for itself, and I have nothing more to say on it.
Date sent: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 10:55:42 -0800
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: "Harm Tron v2.0b2r7" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: 800 American professors and one student are wrong again
To: [log in to unmask]
>From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: 800 American professors and one student are wrong again
>Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 11:44:17 -0500
>Ad hominem means "to the man" and refers to critiquing the speaker
>rather than the argument. To use the language you did about the
>members of the list is thus "ad hominem."
excerpted out of the same american heritage dictionary, fourth edition:
Usage Note: As the principal meaning of the preposition ad suggests, the
homo of ad hominem was originally the person to whom an argument was
addressed, not its subject. The phrase denoted an argument designed to
appeal to the listener's emotions rather than to reason, as in the
sentence "The Republicans' evocation of pity for the small farmer
struggling to maintain his property is a purely ad hominem argument for
reducing inheritance taxes."
now, i dont mean to undermine your authority as a professor or contributor
to the list, but if youre going to try to lecture me or anybody else for
that matter, please double check your material.
>Who are you or any member of the list to define "what a forum is fit
>for"? The forum, presumably, makes that choice collectively. It is not
>an issue of knowledge but of a shared discussion. We are not an official
>body with a mission statement and a set task.
in case youve failed to notice, the header reads "T. S. Eliot Discussion
mailing list titles arent legally binding & so forth but youre trying to
call a horse donkey & its not holding much water. list members cultivate a
sense of academic authority to discussion carried out in the forum &
whatever legitimacy pertinent arguments have is carried over to all other
messages. it boils down to the cathedra vs pulpit argument again: if the
list is explicitly designated as a "T.S. Eliot Discussion forum" then one
would REASONABLY expect people to confine themselves to tse-relevant
>I found nothing threatening about what you said. I found it rude,
>especially to Steve, whose post you mocked with "rah rah rah." He feels
>deeply and for serious reasons, and you treated that as something to
so? my intention was not to mock, but even if it did come off that way, a
"deeply felt" conviction can certainly stand the test of such an
inconsequential challenge, dont you think?
maybe i happen to find YOUR commentary rude. maybe the different
articulated by a whole bunch of the people who post on a regular basis
offend me; so what? note that i pointed out where your remarks were
"sardonic and ad hominem" but did not object to them. the only reason i
find this characteristic deplorable is because it obscures genuine tse
im certainly not attempting to, as you so hyperbolically put it, "police"
the content of debate but rather puncture the self importance of those who
try to ascribe didactic authority to their (non-tse related) rants.
witness how you just HAD to casually mention some sort of supposedly
characteristic tone supposedly adopted by pound & cummings, as if the
similarity is factual & not subjective; as if your (supposed) familiarity
with the two poets somehow renders you capable of pinning down the
"actual" content of my message.
elaborate casualness my ass. there, is that pound-ian enough?
as for miss sara trevisan's comment: ive no idea how things proceed in
padova, but i can assure you that in the lovely state of california i pay
both taxes & tution that support the institution im attending. professors
paid with the aid of my (substantial) financial contribution are the ones
who are in debt to me & not the other way around. ive no qualms about
confronting those who i consider to be misusing their position by
attempting to advance political agenda. so far ive yet to encounter
anybody who answered to my objections by consigning them to the realm
"adolescent rebellion against the estabilished order."
ive done my best to attempt a reconciliatory tone but prof. gish seems to
insist shes doing me personally a great favor by adopting a condescending
tone attempting & failing to lecture on me on the definition of ad hominem
& the many benefits of latinates. to save us both & the list itself some
time, what id like to suggest is that we all police our own mailboxes
according to our own fits & moods.
MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 3 months FREE*.