>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 topics.

>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 opinions
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 debate.

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

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 of "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.



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