I respond out of a view (one I know can be seen as pointless or naive) that
saying nothing in the face of hate is a kind of complicity--at least for me. I
am quite aware of how I have personally been vilified, but as it has never
been from any real intellectual position, I don't feel it says anything about
me as opposed to those who say it.
I do, of course, ask myself the same question. And I may be absurd for
responding. But public discourse seems to me to matter, and if the
internet is left to those you describe, nothing valuable ever will get said. I
realize one could speak past them, but I'm not sure that really addresses
I am saying this because you are always serious and intelligent about this
and about Eliot.
But I do want to add that in addition to being an intellectual and
philosopher, Eliot was a "neurasthenic" or using a term for much the same
symptoms, a "hysteric," for much of his early life at least. And by his own
account as well as the therapy of Vittoz, so the immediate desire of trolls
to pounce should be aimed at Eliot and Vittoz though I'm sure it will be an
occasion to point out my inadequacy as a reader of Eliot.
Date sent: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 23:39:36 +0100
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: INGELBIEN RAPHAEL <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: OT Re: Who would define "Topic"?
To: [log in to unmask]
From Nancy Gish:
> I also think that this forum does become a place where sometimes current
> issues are discussed precisely because there is a sense of "knowing"
> other members--not personally but as an intellectual community. And
> those are people one might like to hear from or talk with in crises.
Well, maybe. But there's something sadly ironic about the description of
the TSE list as an 'intellectual community'. Over the past few days, some
intellectuals on this forum have been subjected to some incredible
attacks. Their professional credentials all but became terms of abuse for
some posters. I know that war and the accompanying hysteria often stir up
anti-intellectualism, but I hadn't thought I would see so much of it on a
forum devoted to TS Eliot. I mean, Eliot was a philosopher by training, a
poet, critic, lecturer, and editor of the Criterion. If he wasn't an
intellectual, what was he?
This reinforces my suspicion that some very active posters joined the list
for other reasons than an interest in Eliot. That's why I am really
surprised that you still bother to answer some of their posts, when it's
clear that 1) they're on this list to wreak havoc 2) they're only too
happy to see that their provocations sometimes work 3) they've resorted to
the worst kind of ad hominem attack against you. You have my sympathy,
but how you still bother to engage with their 'arguments' is beyond me.
[log in to unmask]