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Well, one does not inhale second-hand gay--even if it mattered. 
I'm feeling more than ambivalent about Peter's wish that he did not know
his hero's moral failings. One can, of course, acknowledge good things
in someone who also had major failings. Pound was a Fascist, but then he
was not teaching it to children or college students. And either way it
does not change the value of his poetry. If anyone turned to Fascism
because of his broadcasts, it might alter any judgment.
But that young woman who deserved the top prize in pathology presumably
did not get it, and she was hurt by his bigotry. That is a serious
difference. So, too, was the young gay man who, I gather, lost his job.
These actions do have major impact. Think of Alan Turling who was a
major factor in winning WWII but hounded out of work and destroyed:
"In 1952, Turing was arrested and tried for homosexuality, then a
criminal offence. To avoid prison, he accepted injections of oestrogen
for a year, which were intended to neutralise his libido. In that era,
homosexuals were considered a security risk as they were open to
blackmail. Turing's security clearance was withdrawn, meaning he could
no longer work for GCHQ, the post-war successor to Bletchley Park.
He committed suicide on 7 June, 1954."
Is total relativism really ok--any more than total "thought policing"
when prejudice can do that? 
I'm not suggesting an answer--it's a question.
Nancy




>>> Kate Nichols  12/21/14 4:17 PM >>>
My Professor in college who taught the Modernist class was an open
homosexual and smoked cigarettes in the classroom.  Amusing that in
today's
society, his being gay would not matter at all and would not be used
against him, but he may be fired for smoking cigarettes in the
classroom.

Kate of Florida

On Sun, Dec 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM, Peter Dillane 
wrote:

> Hi Folks,
>
> I seem to be tainted with cynicism and moral relativism in this
company
> where everyone has such concern about the issues. Barry Spurr is a
> political player not some dear little thing with wide eyes cruelly
hunted
> down. He was engaged in the political game at the big end of town and
in
> this country that is a brutally combative polar dialectic without
nuance. I
> find it hard to believe someone could get the job he had without
knowing
> the score. The past thirty years in this country one or the other side
of
> cultural politics has used its time in power to end the careers of the
> other side. Neither has the moral call on track record. He had a
government
> role which will deprive others of their careers perhaps for good. I am
not
> particularly partisan in this  (probably I was on his side in much of
it
> )but my point is  that this is not the story of an ingenue butterfly
> crushed on the wheel. I think it does matter that he has said these
things.
> I don’t think the public interest argument is a strong justification
for
> disseminating these private conversations although someone who deeply
cared
> for the national curriculum and was opposed to his position would see
it
> more substantial as a justification for publishing.
>
> For the record in terms of him being hounded I have not noticed that
> anyone much cares, there’s been a tiny hue and no cry really. He
resigned
> and was not dismissed. I suppose he has been pushed but the public
fact is
> that he jumped and his University has chosen not to say much at all.
His
> political masters have said next to nothing but they did not back him
up.
> Part of what he was reported to have said had a tilt at them so he may
be a
> bit friendless.  The racist comments were not particularly vile the
> misogynist ones were. Reading between the lines he has accepted a
pretty
> lame settlement with the publishers on the proviso they publish no
more so
> there must be more -  and worse. It doesn’t matter that these were
private,
> nor that he should have known about the porous cyber conduit he was
using.
> What is is. He chose at a good age with a life of profession> I was taught by a terrific chap. a professor of Pathology. Erudite,
> astute, lovely educational technique, approachable and charming. There
was
> a prize for the top of the year in Pathology. This prize was more than
> itself because it opened doors in your career path. A friend of mine
worked
> in the next room to that in which the prize was being discussed by the
> professors  one year and heard my hero professor say “Clearly the top
> student on performance is this young woman, but she is a young woman
and it
> will be wasted on her.” I still recall some of his lectures and
broader
> moral stands on issues as very worthy. I do wish I could have them
> untainted by the knowledge of what is.
>
> On another occasion I was talking to a lecturer in the English
Department
> where I studied in the 1970s and said I very much admired the emeritus
> professor who could recite great mountains of Njal’s saga or Morte
D’Arthur
> from heart and sometimes he became teary during these performances and
what
> a terrific person he was and so on. She said to me “Mmm yes I guess he
does
> have some engaging features but during the 50s he disposed of one
academic
> who was giving trouble by recording a conversation in which the man
> admitted to being homosexual." I wish I didn’t know that bit too.
>
> By the way Jim you mentioned that you hoped this wouldn’t tarnish
> Australia. Mate the way we are treating refugees on the high seas to
our
> North and our International non contribution to battling climate
change are
> hard acts to follow in the tarnishing department.
>
> Cheers Folks
>
> Pete




-- 

Karen "Kate" Nichols
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