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Monday, 16 April 2007

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Anthony Paul Smith

"Knowing that anything I write about Foucault will be followed by another gross misrepresentation decreases the odds I'll write much about Foucault. Craig knows this, so he responds to everything I write about Foucault with a gross misrepresentation of what I said and imputes devious intentions as to why I said it."

Umm... Craig knows this? How do you know that? Did he tell you so? If not that seems a bit slanderous (in the non-legal sense). I mean, you're kind of policing the discourse on Craig here. Now that I think about it, I don't know that you are really in that good of a situation to criticize anyone who wants to police the discourse. If anything The Valve set itself up early on under a cop logic and you are certainly a part of that. I mean, this could easily be ascribed to you, "If you desire a conversation about Foucault, you must talk about Foucault like he wants to talk about Foucault". In fact, I think in the past I have ascribed similar views to you.

In short, can't you guys just ignore one another? I mean, I think it is pretty bad that you're putting his full name up on your blog with all this, when one has to think he posts under his first name, perhaps, for a reason. I'm not friends with Craig, I think I've only emailed the guy once, and most of the time my comments go unanswered. I'm also not part of LS, at all. I mean, yeah, I dislike The Valve and all it stands for (which includes a bit of policing), but The Weblog has always been like the non-aligned states of the blogosphere. So don't take this as a knee-jerk reaction.

Thinking a bit more on this, I think that my cynical take on this is that often times the way we describe "how ideas happen" is just an example of policing the discourse. If Craig thinks your take on Foucault is wrong in toto then he should say so. There is some things going on in Deleuze studies that I think is really unhelpful and the opinions are growing in numbers. If I think it is a fundamentally wrong should I not try to demand that we talk about Deleuze in another way? I know your problem is that he misrepresents you, but your problem is also that he didn't reference you. Is it possible that he wasn't talking about you specifically in that first post?

This is rambling on and on, I just don’t see what you hope to gain from any of this except keeping someone out of a job, which is of course a form of policing.

Rich Puchalsky

Wow, Anthony, you're going in for a world-class line of sanctimonious, hypocritical bullshit on this one.

Let's see: try this search, will you? I also note that as far as I know, you're the Weblog guy who copied my picture onto one of those picture-hosting places so you could mock it -- so much for my idea that I could go into meetings with community groups and not be recognized as the outside expert by whichever polluter happens to Google me.

As for "the Valve set itself up early on under a cop logic" -- please. The Weblog is the only place, out of all the argumentative blogs that I've encountered, where people continued to write about me at length, in public, after banning me so that I couldn't respond. But oh the horror when I even hint that I might do the same!

Now, there is the difference that I post under my full name, and Craig doesn't post under his. Maybe someone might make a distinction there. But you, after such laughable attempts in the history of policing as the attempt to make AR really really sorry that he didn't get some math explanations, are not the one to make it.

Anthony Paul Smith

'I also note that as far as I know, you're the Weblog guy who copied my picture onto one of those picture-hosting places so you could mock it -- so much for my idea that I could go into meetings with community groups and not be recognized as the outside expert by whichever polluter happens to Google me.'

As far as I know you just made this bullshit up since I did no such thing. I mean, yeah, I mocked your ponytail (as I do with all ponytails), but I didn't upload your picture and in fact I don't even have an account with any online photo services (flicker or photobucket or any other one). (And, it should be noted, I've apologized publicly a number of times for mocking you.) Your picture was already up somewhere and I linked to it. It came up in a search for your name. So hardly our fault if some polluter googles you and finds a picture that, I assume, you allowed to be posted.

I don't write about you at length. You got a problem with that, take it up with Adam. I don't think you'll find a post from me going on about you at length because I personally wish you didn't hang around these blogs. I think you are the source of 90% of the bullshit problems and keep hoping if I don't talk to you you'll leave me alone.

I'm confused, will it really endanger your livelihood if someone googles your name and finds out a grad student at a seminary referred to you as the archbishop of the church of Holbo? Does being a Holbonite really hurt your chances of getting a gig? I wasn’t aware that Holbo had such a bad reputation amongst lobbyists. SEK is making some pretty serious accusations about Craig qua scholar. No one, to the best of my knowledge at The Weblog has every made any claims about you qua political activist. Seems that these discussions are pretty fucking removed from what makes up your life, are they not? This is the major difference between what Adam has done to you, which is essentially to air his grievances about the way arguments happen at The Valve and how he was constantly blamed for things that were most obviously in large part on you, and what you threatened to do to him, which was complain to potential employers that he hurt your feelings. This is hardly the same thing and it is complete bullshit to pretend it is.

Now, look, I think anyone can google your name and see you acting like a jerk (and, really, you often do). Anyone can do the same with me, I know I've not acted in the best manner often. I happen to like SEK in part because he's not usually a jerk and I thought these posts were going over the line in a pretty serious way. I told him so. He can listen to me, knowing full well that as a jerk I can recognize one quite easily, or he can not listen to me and be a real jerk this time around. I'm not forcing him to do anything, but seeing as he has a comment box and I've not yet been banned, thought I would share my thoughts with him. In the future, just avoid reading what I write, because I don't like being pulled into these meta discussions all the time or email me about it.

Anthony Paul Smith

Perhaps in retrospect it would have been better for me to email SEK about this. Indeed it was downright idiotic of me not to do so. Perhaps would have seemed to him to be more sincere.

Rich Puchalsky

Anthony, your self-serving justifications are just too funny. My picture was already up somewhere and you linked to it? Well, that's how Google works, you know -- the more links, the greater the chance that the picture comes up. I hadn't realized that the picture was going to be Internet-available, but it was clearly too late to do anything about it once it had been copied from its original source.

You have no idea what my situation is, or whether having your BS Googleable about me would be more harmful in some way than having someone see Scott's comment about Craig. For the record, no, I don't think that it would be as harmful to me. But that may be in part because I haven't actually done anything except comment in a way that you don't like, for which you have decided that I am (seriously) 90% to blame for everything. It's also because I chose a line of work in which I wasn't dependent on any one job. Choosing to make myself less vulnerable to your kind of BS doesn't mean that it's OK for you to do it.

As for the idea that I threatened to complain to Adam's employers, what I said was that I'd archived what Adam wrote and that it wasn't going to slip off of Google as Adam decided to become more professional. If Adam finds the quotation of his own words on a Googleable Web page to be such a bad thing, then maybe he shouldn't be writing those words. Really, I'll decide whether I'm going to bother to do this a couple of years from now, when hopefully I'll have forgotten why I was annoyed at Adam in the first place, a kind of long-term version of counting to ten before saying anything. But you and Adam haven't seen fit to take down the original -- although it's completely predictable that you will as you professionalize -- so really what you're saying is that it's OK to do this stuff as long as *you* have nothing to lose.

And you know what? It's not going to work for you. You don't get to do mockery campaigns intended to change how I comment on someone else's blog, whether you think it's seriously going to affect me or not. The fact that you even thought it was worth trying reveals so much about you that I'm disgusted, seriously. I can only hope that you'll grow out of it.

Now, is Scott trying the same on Craig? I don't know; Scott has serious complaints about Craig falsifying something. You could say that Scott should, in the interest of his better nature, not respond. But *you* don't get to make that argument, not seriously.

Anthony Paul Smith

I was unaware *you* got to decide what arguments I get to make.

"I hadn't realized that the picture was going to be Internet-available, but it was clearly too late to do anything about it once it had been copied from its original source."

Are you implying that I copied it from its original source? If so, you should know I didn't.

"Well, that's how Google works, you know -- the more links, the greater the chance that the picture comes up."

It was the first picture that came up. Jesus! Do you honestly think I was stalking you? I typed your name into google and that picture came up. Oh, yeah, three or so years ago. Let's not forget that part of this ridiculous story.

"As for the idea that I threatened to complain to Adam's employers, what I said was that I'd archived what Adam wrote and that it wasn't going to slip off of Google as Adam decided to become more professional."

No, that's not a threat at all! How stupid of me. Perfectly reasonable for you to archive things people say. Not slightly creepy at all.

"If Adam finds the quotation of his own words on a Googleable Web page to be such a bad thing, then maybe he shouldn't be writing those words."

You do seem to often forget that I'm not Adam, and so it is dangerous for me to suggest anything on this matter but it seems to me that Adam thought the 'such a bad thing' was quoting him out of context. The wider context being you are a huge jerk and he was responding to that.

"But you and Adam haven't seen fit to take down the original -- although it's completely predictable that you will as you professionalize -- so really what you're saying is that it's OK to do this stuff as long as *you* have nothing to lose."

The original what? To the best of my memory I (not Adam) didn't post your picture, I linked to it. I can't even seem to find that post now. As I've apologized repeatedly for mocking your haircut (and I won't apologize for linking to a photo of you publicly available and coming up in the first line of a google search) I would be glad to take it down. Not for 'professionalization' reasons but because you got so upset about it. That said, it's not as if the post registers on google. So, not only do I have nothing to lose, but neither do you.

"It's also because I chose a line of work in which I wasn't dependent on any one job. Choosing to make myself less vulnerable to your kind of BS doesn't mean that it's OK for you to do it."

Let me see if I remember what you mean here - the kind of BS where I say you act like a jerk and make fun of your ponytail? You really are coming unhinged here.

"And you know what?"

No, what?

"It's not going to work for you."

What are you talking about?

"You don't get to do mockery campaigns intended to change how I comment on someone else's blog, whether you think it's seriously going to affect me or not."

Is that what you thought it was? Well, you can keep being a jerk to people, I don't really care. I've tried to limit my interaction with you and really hope once you get over the ponytail thing that I'll be pretty much free. I don't know if you noticed, but I tend not to post at The Valve or LS and once you colonize a thread I completely disappear. That's because I think you're 90% to blame for the bullshit that happens (not everything, don't be silly!). Of course 90% is just a guess, I'd need to do some real empirical work to figure out how much. As a gesture of good will I'll lower it to 75%.

"The fact that you even thought it was worth trying reveals so much about you that I'm disgusted, seriously."

I'm still confused as to what you are actually talking about. Doesn't really bother me that you are disgusted as I haven't held your opinion in high esteem.

"I can only hope that you'll grow out of it."

Yes, if only! If I do that, will you find some way of seeing that there is a real difference between linking to a picture of some guy with a ponytail and saying "Aren't ponytails kind of funny?" and keeping detailed records of what people have said. Frankly Rich, you're delusional if you think your behaviour, if properly archived, wouldn't embarrass you. Perhaps you are. Which is why you think you can make a serious argument that I'm a bigger jerk than you are. Or something. I'm not actually sure what you are on about.

Rich Puchalsky

Anthony, maybe you should get your story straight. I mean, first you're sneering at my being referred to as archbishop of the first church of Holbo, and then you're wondering whether that really qualifies as mockery. Then you say that once I start posting on a thread (on LS or the Valve, which you say you rarely post at) you disappear. Is that true? Let's see: all the below are from LS in the thread here: no less than three replies to me, each in your patented contentless but high-dudgeon style. Obviously, you have the right to reply if you want to, but to deny doing it only a couple of days later? Now that's delusional.

And it's clear why you commented in public, as you always comment in public. You said what you had to say: "If anything The Valve set itself up early on under a cop logic and you are certainly a part of that." In your world, the mere existence of people posting on another blog about the professional subjects that you work on means that they are policing the discourse. That's the worldview of a wannabe thug. Don't pretend to be anything that you are not.

SEK

Anthony, Craig's surname is well-known, posted on every CFP he tries to circulate, and is all over his blog. I wasn't trying to out him or anything, just mocking the pettiness of the name-game he played.

Also, you're obviously in no danger of being banned, and make a good point about how any attempt to discuss an issue can be perceived as a police-action by others. That said, Craig's behavior crosses the line: every time I write about Foucault now, he somehow finds out, freaks out and posts a complete misrepresentation. I attribute willfulness to this because, well, because he's done it nine or ten times now. So, granted, all conversation attempts to police the discourse somewhat; but what he's doing is much more invidious than that.

Look at it another way: if every time you posted about Deleuze, I responded with a post which 1) mocked your discipline, 2) attacked your character and 3) lied about what you'd written, you'd be a little annoyed. If I then demonstrated that I had no compunction about going back and altering the record, such that your response to my lies, attacks, and mockeries made you look like an ass, you'd be pissed. If I then banned you, so that you couldn't respond to my lies, attacks, and mockeries, &c. &c. &c.

Anthony Paul Smith

SEK,

Point taken. Really, before Rich came along doing whatever the hell it is that he does, I was just trying to say to you that I think you are above this. And, yes, I do understand being annoyed.

So on to that bit...

Rich,

"I mean, first you're sneering at my being referred to as archbishop of the first church of Holbo, and then you're wondering whether that really qualifies as mockery."

No, it does qualify as mockery, but mockery and 'getting you not hired and/or fired' are two different things. And, further more, I'm not the one who called you the archbishop. Please, in the future, direct any complaints about Adam to Adam. I assumed, since when I mocked you I mocked your haircut, that that was the mockery you were referring to. I don't think making fun of your ponytail nearly three goddamn years ago could be understood as a systematic campaign to rid the internet of your presence.

As to the LS thread. I'm not denying I sometimes post in threads you post at. Or that I don't talk to you (in case you didn't notice I'm talking to you now). I'm saying I tend to avoid it. I tend to disappear. Do you know what the word 'tend' means?

"You said what you had to say: "If anything The Valve set itself up early on under a cop logic and you are certainly a part of that.""

Obviously SEK understood what I was getting at. I've mentioned repeatedly that I like SEK. I pointed out above that there is a certain kind of policing going on everywhere. I would hope you would be smart enough to infer from this that I don't think policing is always bad. I swear to God, I feel like I have to write a dissertation when you're around, because every tiny bit that is somehow not stated with perfect precision is taken to mean the opposite. The Valve was set up with a purpose of affecting the discourse and that means to a certain extent having a cop logic.

"That's the worldview of a wannabe thug."

You got me pegged! I do have "Skolar Thug Life" tattooed across my stomach.

"Don't pretend to be anything that you are not."

I will certainly try. Today I did catch myself pretending to be a hippo, but I was actually just hungry. Normal human hungry. Silly me.

Do we have to keep doing this? Or are you done?

Rich Puchalsky

Scott, being an agreeable person, can agree with your "cop logic" bit as much as he likes. It's clear that all academic discussion intends to affect the discourse, and what's more, to say that someone is wrong; you can't say anything in academia without disagreeing with someone's previous view. If you want to characterize that as cop logic, go ahead, but I could just as well characterize a cop beating up a suspect as an academic discussion. That would also make your "early on" nonsensical, since any academic discussion would have to be under cop logic at all times. But really, it was clear that you were going back to your same tired bit about how the Valve was set up so that anti-Theory meanies could control the discourse, taking bread from the mouths of hard-working continental philsophers.

Anthony Paul Smith

"It's clear that all academic discussion intends to affect the discourse"

Yes, but certainly in different ways.

"If you want to characterize that as cop logic"

I don't. I think what SEK was doing was of a higher order. Again, I'm remaining agnostic as to its validity, mainly because I don't have nearly the competency in Foucault to talk about it.

"but I could just as well characterize a cop beating up a suspect as an academic discussion."

Yes, but you'd be missing the point.

"That would also make your "early on" nonsensical, since any academic discussion would have to be under cop logic at all times."

No, not necessarily, but then again you seem to think that all policing is bad. I'm not saying that. What SEK did could very well be valid, my only point was that it constituted an attempt to polic the discourse ("We should talk more about Foucault in this way..."). Stop trying to moralize it.

"But really, it was clear that you were going back to your same tired bit about how the Valve was set up so that anti-Theory meanies could control the discourse, taking bread from the mouths of hard-working continental philsophers."

Is it tired? I didn't think it had been out in awhile. I'm not going to deny that I've never said this, as I'm sure you have it bookmarked if I have. If I have said that, and it is clearly possible that I have, I was overstating. I think it would be fair to say that The Valve was set up with a certain 'anti-Theory' bent to it and that theory, at least to Holbo, includes 'romantic' philosophy which includes, for Holbo, the majority of Continental philosophy. So, yes, there is a certain anti-Continental bent to The Valve. I think it is fair to say that this represents a wider move in academia to shut down a specific way of doing philosophy (and other humanities subjects). I have objected to it for that reason, what we can vaguely call 'political reasons'. At the obvious dislike of what and how I say things by certain people at The Valve, I've cut down commenting there quite a bit. I don't think The Valve is the vanguard of some revolution, it just happened to be a blog that was started and read by people I read. I approached it in the beginning in that spirit and this was contrary to what they wanted the blog to be like. I chalk it up to mostly a misunderstanding and I do apologize for my faults.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Rich Puchalsky

"I think it is fair to say that this represents a wider move in academia to shut down a specific way of doing philosophy (and other humanities subjects). I have objected to it for that reason, what we can vaguely call 'political reasons'." is a lot closer to what I think that you really meant than some generality about how when Scott said that we should talk more about Foucault in a certain way, he was using cop logic. I also think that you have a thuggish tendency to completely misplace the distinction between discourse that attempts to control through personal baiting (e.g. an attempt to make every time Scott writes about Foucault unpleasant through some sort of personal attack plus misrepresentation) and discourse that attempts to "control" through expressing an academic opinion. But sure, that's about all I have to say, for now.

Anthony Paul Smith

""I think it is fair to say that this represents a wider move in academia to shut down a specific way of doing philosophy (and other humanities subjects). I have objected to it for that reason, what we can vaguely call 'political reasons'." is a lot closer to what I think that you really meant than some generality about how when Scott said that we should talk more about Foucault in a certain way, he was using cop logic."

Well, though you may think that, I assure you that that is not the case.

"I also think that you have a thuggish tendency to completely misplace the distinction between discourse that attempts to control through personal baiting (e.g. an attempt to make every time Scott writes about Foucault unpleasant through some sort of personal attack plus misrepresentation) and discourse that attempts to "control" through expressing an academic opinion. But sure, that's about all I have to say, for now."

A thuggish tendency? WTF? Wait, is this a performative example of a discourse that attempts to control through personal baiting? If so, good show old man. If not, I assure you that my tendency had nothing thuggish about it. In fact my tendency is downright pedestrian. No pure good or bad guys in this at all.

va

This is kind of off topic, but in this whole unfortunate episode, Scott, have you put Craig's suspicions to rest? As in, have you said no, you don't want to see Foucauldian theory banished or historicized? Saying you want us to "talk more about" Foucault doesn't exactly cut it--Foucault said something somewhere about inciting people to talk more about something, and it doesn't exactly help you out.

SEK

VA, there are no suspicions that need put to rest. Craig knows that I consider Foucault an important influence on my own methodology -- which I've previously described as a bit of Foucault, bit of Jauss, bit of Annales -- so no, by no means do I want to see Foucauldian theory banished. The problem with Craig is that, despite this knowledge, he throws a hissy-fit any time I criticize Foucault; calls me a crypto-conservative, claims I'm out to exterminate theory, &c. Which, you'll understand, is ... odd, considering he knows that's not the foundation of my critique. I mean, were I to write a post about teaching The History of Sexuality in, for example, this course, Craig would still respond like a wounded duck, assail me for teaching a book I lacked his expertise to teach, then ridicule me for being in an English department.

The problem is that he perceives any criticism of Foucault as tout court. Were I to post a similar critique of Jauss, he'd have no problem with it. (In fact, when I have, he's never bothered to respond.) Because the thing of it is, I criticize everything I incorporate into my methodology. He finds this approach unacceptable and unserious, because the only acceptable, serious way to work in academia is to blindly accept the genius of all The Genius' ideas and kowtow.

Nate

Scott, I wish you would quit trying to banish Foucault by saying "I'm not trying to banish Foucault." We all know you have a Foucault voodoo doll.

Anthony, I agree that Scott is not a jerk. I disagree that Scott's acting like a cop here, and to be honest, I think that counter-accusation of yours rings hollow from you on two counts.

First, you write "I personally wish [Rich] didn't hang around these blogs. I think [Rich is] the source of 90% of the bullshit problems and keep hoping if I don't talk to [Rich then Rich]'ll leave me alone." Your "if I ignore Rich he'll leave" thing is no less cop-like than what you accuse Scott and the Valve of. Second, if you agree that what Rich finds objectionable at Adam's blog - which is in part a collective project that you're part of - is objectionable, then you're just as (not) guilty of that as Scott is (not) guilty of what you find objectionable at the Valve - which is in part a collective project that Scott is part of.

I don't know anything about this photograph thing that you and Rich are arguing about, but if someone you know has put a photo of Rich up online - or linked to one up elsewhere that Rich says was accidentally put up online - and Rich says that your friend's putting up/linking to that photo could harm his livelihood, then you really really should intercede with this person to ask that the photo be taken down/de-linked from. Personal antipathy to Rich isn't grounds for doing something which he says could hurt his job. Doing so would also allow you a measure of moral high ground.

Likewise Scott, I think you should consider taking down the thing from Craig, perhaps after some length of time sufficient for you to feel vindicated, if he says it could hurt his job prospects. Keep it on your hard-drive or make it a password-protect site if you feel you need to hang on to it for evidence. Personal antipathy and being right about something like this aren't grounds for harming someone professionally in my opinion, at least not someone as low on the academic food chain as Craig (it'd be different if he had tenure or something). That's my two cents anyway.

take care,
Nate

SEK

Nate, you and Anthony are right about his last name being up there. It's been redacted, and I've requested Google to re-scan my site so that it doesn't get lodged in cache. I'm not out to ruin his career, only point out that he violated the implicit compact of commenting on blogs: you don't modify what you or anyone else has written in order to mock.

That said, Craig has a ridiculously stupid post up now, in which he digs the hole deeper and deeper.

Rich Puchalsky

Thanks, Nate. With regard to the picture, I guess that I do believe Anthony when he says he's not the one who anonymously copied it onto a picture sharing site -- Anthony seems pretty honest, whatever his other faults. Anthony was the first one to link to the thing, but there were any number of nasty people who were ginning up a picture-mocking bit around then, and going anonymous doesn't seem like Anthony's style.

The picture can't really harm me at this point, and I've let it stay up at the site of the original interview that it was taken from. I've already re-arranged what I do with the understanding that when people Google me it's something that will turn up. It's something that would have turned up in Google anyways; having it turn up in the panopticon in this context was, however, annoying.

SEK

Vis-a-vis my previous comment, this is what I'm dealing with here. Craig claims:

In response to my email, Scott Eric Kaufman believed a likely explanation (I had not yet re-read the comments in the detail given above): there was glitch on Typepad.

What I actually wrote was:

I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation, despite the fact that you made the same exact remark a day later. No reason to think those two identical gestures connected.

Is the boy atonal?

Of course, none of this has any bearing on the fact that he misrepresents what I write whenever it happens to be about Foucault.

SEK

Also, Rich + Anthony = Comity?

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