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Re: The On and Off Topic of Non-linguistic Flame Baiting (WAS: flame-baiting)

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Sunday, May 23, 2004, 19:09
Andreas Johansson wrote:

>Quoting Jim Grossmann <jimg4732@...>: > > >>Hi, all, >> >>With all apologies to those concerned, I think that the recent criticisms of >>Mark P. Line's commentaries on the state of modern linguistics are >>completely out of line. >> >> > >While I think the same of the form of (some of) those criticisms, I think >they're right on substance - the List would be better off without this >discussion of Chomsky. > >
I wouldn't agree. It's quite interesting to many people, including me (I've just been reading "Sound Patterns of English", and I'm very interested by discussions of Chomsky right now) more or less on topic (not that we demand everything is on topic here, anyway), and inoffensive. Of course, for all x, there exists a person, P_x, such that x infuriates P_x. But that's no reason for not talking about x.
>>I fail to see why Mark's critical views about Chomsky should offend anyone. >> >> > >If I were Chomsky or a Chomskyite, I'd be offended. > >
Well, a vanishingly small number of people are Chomsky. Anyway, if Chomsky is offended that people disagree with him, that's his own problem. Similarly for his groupies. I strongly feel that such insecurities are invalid reasons for restricting discussion.
>>One would think that those among us who have an intellectual bent would >>accept differences of opinion about the words and works of influential >>thinkers. >> >> > >And the rest of us? > >
I think if you're interested in linguistics for its own sake, then you fulfill the definition of "[a person] of intellectual bent", at least for the purposes of Jim's statement. Perhaps it might be better phrased as "One would think that those of us on the list would accept differences of opinion about ___ ". If "____" is filled with almost anything, I'd like to think that this statement is true.
> >As I said at the beginning of this, please keep any discussion of Chomsky's >politics off-list. It's OT and inflammable. Moreover, since discussing >Chomskyism's supposedly baleful effects on the academic province of linguistics >quite obviously also causes bad blood, I would humbly beg those interested in >discussing it to carry it too off-list. > > >
Maybe not a terrible idea, since it has caused a bit of trouble. However, there has been only one rather feeble outburst, which failed to draw any further flame, and I would rather suggest that those who find the idea of this subject being discussed refrain from reading it, those who want to continue on, and if there are any more outbursts, then sure, it should go offlist.
> Andreas > >
s. -- Stephen Mulraney In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.