Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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A Few Brief Addenda Because the previous post may present an unsavory impression of Y.T. I offer these addenda: I'm not an anti-feminist in the contemporary or medieval sense. Sure I try to force The Little Womedievalist to do the dishes all the time . . . but that's only because my fingernails have been "spongy" since the cancer and when they dry the tend to crack. Down the middle. Which is as painful as you imagine . . . only more so. I'm no liar. If a certain hostess of a certain annual Halloween Party were to stoop to admit to frequenting these parts she would confirm that I was mauled by a feline of unusual size . . . and that I bled all over everything I wore and touched and entered the general vicinity of. Not that I want to sound overeager to prove my honesty . . . but I am in the unique position of being able to refer you to a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for more information about my infamous morning. I've been investigated by the best. And if you send him an email he'll tell you I'm 100 percent kosher. I don't mean "Jewish" there even though I could. If you want proof of my election I can upload an .mp3 of my Haftorah portion. You heard me. Don't pretend you didn't. I will upload audio files of my bar mitzvah to prove myself trustworthy. (I feel obliged to note that despite being thirteen I gave a rousing reading of significance of Sukkot and the erection of the Tabernacle . . . and I didn't even laugh when I said the word "erection." Now if you want to brand me a liar . . .)
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Half-Comment, Half-Post: I Christen It "Compost" [WARNING: The following post reads like a comment. Just so you know. 'Cause I set high standards for posts around here. I like them to be freestanding and am disappointed when they seem otherwise. And so I have banished it below the fold . . . where it will frolic in fields of flowers with all your beloved dead pets.] N. Pepperell of Rough Theory points to her desire to engage in gender-neutral online debates as one of the reasons she doesn't post under her full name. I should begin by noting that I hadn't realized she was a woman despite her having commented here fairly frequently over the past few months . . . but neither did I assume her a man. Be gentle, dear readers, as I blunder through this minefield: the operative question here is how I could have failed to notice the import of gender entirely. The answer? If someone's name fails to mark their gender it doesn't pique my curiosity. I'm more interested in what "entities" have to say than in communicating with them as people. Not that I don't acknowledge them as human beings, mind you, because I do. But online all the identitarian benchmarks can fall to the wayside without damaging the intensity of intellectual interaction. Like Pepperell, I would prefer my words not be implicated in the masculinist discourse I've taken pains to remove myself from elsewhere. And that's what trips up so much online communication. Because I've done what I've done elsewhere and previously instead of always here and immediately, I leave myself open to charges that I'm ignoring what I've failed to explicate here. This is why I'm such a devoted bridge-builder. WHAT? YOU? A BRIDGE-BUILDER! Yes. (Stop laughing.) I am. (I really am.) A bridge-builder. (Don't make me turn this car around.) Despite the fact that my posts on the Valve tend to generate more comments than any post which doesn't include the word "Zizek" in it, none of the principle combatants considers me anti-intellectual or unnecessarily hostile. (I can provide definitive proof of this but am satisfied to let the statement stand and have Matt, LB, CR, Ken Rufo, &c. waiting in the wings in case anyone doubts me on this one.) Despite regularly ruffling everyone's feathers I have somehow maintained my integrity and popularity. The reason, I believe, is that I confront arguments instead of people and proffer counter-arguments instead of attacks. I don't think this an inherently masculine or feminine so much as an acquired trait. I've trained myself to respond in such a way that the compact that is "the benefit of the doubt" is never broken no matter how heated the debate becomes. (Speaking of which: I've been grading and grading and grading all day . . . and so may need a heartier benefit of a greater doubt than is typical.) Belle (if I may) notes that seriously blogging transforms fun into work. I don't think that's quite right. The thing about studying...

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