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Steve Berer, Joe Carroll, and on-line civility

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  • Brad Sullivan
    Mr. Berer, I have to step into it here and ask a couple of questions. When we read a text, are we not engaging data ? I taught a class with an environmental
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2010
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      Mr. Berer,

      I have to step into it here and ask a couple of questions. When we read a text, are we not engaging "data"? I taught a class with an environmental scientist a few years back and the main thing we discovered together is that we were doing the same sorts of things in different "ecosystems." He studied swamplands, and I studied literary texts. But we were both engaged in finding patterns, interpreting, and making claims (theories) about what the "data" in our systems of study meant.

      Reductionism is boring because it attempts to formulize the complexities of experience. But careful and thoughtful analysis of data is not the same thing as reductionism.

      When you say to Joe Carroll, who I do not know: "Therefore, you're not speaking to the issues that drive MOST authors to write, and most critics to criticize, and most readers to read. And it's why most literary journals are COMPLETELY uninterested in what you have to say," you are guilty of (1) insinuating that you DO know these largely unknowable (and always debatable) things, and (2) dismissing Professor Carroll's work.

      You continually complain about Joe Carroll "beating you up" on-line, but it seems to me you are involved in the same activity. As Shakespeare said, "methinks the [complainer] doth protest too much."

      Best regards,

      Brad Sullivan
      Associate Professor of English
      Western New England College
      http://mars.wnec.edu/~dsulliva/



      --- On Thu, 12/24/09, Stephen Berer <steve@...> wrote:

      From: Stephen Berer <steve@...>
      Subject: RE: [CogLAs] [biopoet] Bé rubé review Boyd
      To: biopoet@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Thursday, December 24, 2009, 8:52 PM

       

      Joe Carroll said:

      The Darwinists I know do in fact speak to the author's issues and intentions. They don't of course assume that the author is himself or herself a Darwinist; they just assume that the author is in possession of an evolved and adapted mind and is speaking to other people who have such minds.

      Sorry Joe, it's not the same thing. This is data analysis, not LITERARY analysis. And I think that's one of the big problems with the discussions that go on here. Many of you don't know the difference. Therefore, you're not speaking to the issues that drive MOST authors to write, and most critics to criticize, and most readers to read. And it's why most literary journals are COMPLETELY uninterested in what you have to say.
      And, by the way, Joe, my comments have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what I think about Darwinism or whether Darwinism is a true and comprehensive theory. The fact that you would say such a thing (as a backhanded slur against me) speaks VOLUMES about your lack of understanding of what literary criticism is.
      Steve Berer

      Excessive piousness is a cloak of evil.
                       http://www.shivvete e.com
                       http://shivvetee. blogspot. com/


    • Stephen Berer
      Hi Brad, ... Brad, I never mentioned or implied that analysis by any member of this discussion is reductionist. I m a member of this group because I find the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 2, 2010
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        Hi Brad,

        Reductionism is boring because it attempts to formulize the complexities of experience. But careful and thoughtful analysis of data is not the same thing as reductionism.

        Brad, I never mentioned or implied that analysis by any member of this discussion is reductionist. I'm a member of this group because I find the kind of research and analysis being done here is fascinating and important. However, if Joe or anyone else thought I was demeaning his work, or the work of ANY member of this group, or that I was implying that it was reductionist, I truly apologize to him/her/them. That was IN NO WAY my intention, and indeed, I'm dumbfounded that anyone might have concluded such a thing from what I was saying.

        When you say to Joe Carroll, who I do not know: "Therefore, you're not speaking to the issues that drive MOST authors to write, and most critics to criticize, and most readers to read. And it's why most literary journals are COMPLETELY uninterested in what you have to say," you are guilty of (1) insinuating that you DO know these largely unknowable (and always debatable) things, and (2) dismissing Professor Carroll's work.

        Brad, some members of this group started a journal called Entelechy to specifically address the crying need for a public literary forum for the work that members of this group are doing, precisely because MOST literary journals were NOT publishing this kind of analysis.
        Therefore, I will interpret what you have said here in a non-literal way, and assume that you are reprimanding me for being uncivil, or worse, to Joe and perhaps others. I greatly value 1) civil discourse and 2) respect for differences of understanding. If I violated my own standards, and I will accept that I did, I deserved and acknowledge your public reprimand. Joe, I hope you will accept my apology.

        Steve Berer

        Excessive piousness is a cloak of evil.
                         http://www.shivvetee.com
                         http://shivvetee.blogspot.com/
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