3.289 brief editorial (49)

Wed, 26 Jul 89 19:36:31 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 289. Wednesday, 26 Jul 1989.

Date: 26 July 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Enough

Once again I think we need to take stock of what we're doing with
Humanist and to impose on ourselves some restraint.

The long and very bulky discussion that began with "education and
the universities", then mutated into physical and metaphorical
"uncertainty", and has settled into variations on the theme of
"anti-intellectualism" has become oppressive. As reader of
Humanist I have felt the unpleasant weight of this discussion,
and some others have told me likewise. Were we all sitting around
a table in a seminar, we would doubtless have seen by now
grimaces of discomfort at certain points, even perhaps heard the
sorts of noises that people produce when they're impatient. E-
mail makes for a semiotically deprived global village, so
occasionally the headman (that's me) has to step in and say what
would have been communicated much more effectively by subverbal
means in person long ago.

Yes, I have been sloppy as editor, but sometimes with a purpose.
When I have had a method in my sloppiness, it has been to
encourage the experimental aspects of Humanist. Now in its third
year, it does different things less often than in its first few
months, but innovations happen, and these delight not just me, I
think. We have recently developed, for example, an interesting
query service for members with all sorts of questions. I don't
see much wrong with that. Do you?

Discussions, however, are another matter because they tend to be
bulky. We simply must keep ourselves to our general topic,
computing in the humanities, or like the creatures of
fermentation, we will do ourselves in with our own most wonderful
output. So, I call for a halt to the questions of anti-
intellectualism (continue privately, if you will) and call again
for increased awareness of what we're here for.

Willard McCarty