I deeply appreciate this thoughtful and kind message. I would like to add
that I have a great deal of ambivalence and concern about replying at all to
the kind of things said by Peter and Ken, but that I genuinely believe it
normalizes wrong to ignore it. I've tried both, and neither changes
anything, but at least I have refused complicity. So it makes it seem as if
I am also in a "flame war." But refusing/reacting to attack is not the same
as attacking. If anyone has a better way, I would very much like to know.
Also, there is something very odd about the fiercely strong rhetoric of
those who object to strong statements with which they disagree. No one,
for example, speaks with more absolutism than several of those who
claime to deplore it.
Date sent: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 13:34:17 -0400
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: George Carless <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: OT: Eden
To: [log in to unmask]
Without wishing to become embroiled in (another) flame war:
>If you disagree that your argument is a strawman
>one then fine, show it.
Although I feel that Peter - unlike, say, Jacek or Kate - isn't setting
out to simply provoke argument, isn't "trolling" as such - I do feel that
the tone of his remarks can often have that effect. He may have a point
that Nancy and Carrol often make strong arguments - but I think that
that's because they have strong conviction in what they have to say.
Parallel this with Peter's remarks, which most often waver hither and
thither and exhibit a very postmodern (and, to my mind, very wrong)
impression that there can be no "right" or "wrong" answers or approaches
to, well, anything. And I think it's incumbent on Peter, if he believes
certain arguments to be strawman, to demonstrate them as such, rather
for the original poster to prove otherwise. It's a cowardly approach to
simply say "you are wrong" or "your argument is facile" without providing
any rationale behind your assertion - and it's certainly a strange
approach for one who apparently abhors absolutist arguments.
And it's not a matter of having a right to disagree with one another - but
perhaps a modicum of respect might be demonstrated? Though I'm sure
sees his remarks as being good-natured and in the spirit of 'academic
banter', I still feel (as a relative newcomer to this list) that they most
often seem inflammatory - mostly because they're so often lacking in
substance. If you disagree with what someone has to say, then please
explain what you disagree with, and let your arguments stand on their own
merits - without all of the needling and guffawing about particular
styles. I've disagreed with Nancy in the past, and had fairly lengthy
discussions with her off-list, and never found her to be anything but
courteous even in disagreement. And I think that Peter might want to
think about the fact that, if nothing else, Jacek keeps on jumping to his
support - that should be enough to lead anyone to question the way in
which they're coming across to the rest of the list.
Oh, and a little trimming of quoted replies would be nice, too...
 I'm in my twenties, so I claim a right to bandy about the term.