Wednesday, 25 March 2009

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You think you know what you mean? I’ll tell you what you mean. Jeff Goldstein is upset at Patterico. The reason is too inside baseball to rehash here, but it involved someone poking fun of him, him reframing it into an assault on his family, threatening an anonymous commenter, threatening to out an anonymous commenter, said commenter telling him to bring on the lawyers, him responding with threats of physical violence, then actually outing the anonymous commenter and being banned shortly thereafter after making a crack about a hanging-tree which — while not a death threat per se — certainly qualifies as ban-worthy in light of the earlier escalation. Goldstein disagrees: Once he’d established the pretext for disallowing me to defend myself — and giving his commenters the freedom to attack me without my having recourse to respond directly to them (something I’ve never disallowed him to do on my site) — he then encouraged people to support his “honor” at the expense of mine. He set up a lynch mob and then pretended to wash his hands of the whole thing. Patterico banned him, then set his readers upon him. The nerve! That said, remember when I wrote this on 13 October 2008? Goldstein responded: SEK tried to link back here with yet ANOTHER exegesis on his having be WRONGED by my anger . . . So let him have that last word . . . He just ain’t gonna be having that last word here. He then deleted the automatically-generated WordPress trackback I’d so callously lobbed and banned me. I know what you’re thinking: Goldstein wouldn’t be so hypocritical as to ban me, thereby “disallowing me to defend myself — and giving his commenters the freedom to attack me without my having recourse to respond directly to them,” would he? On 16 October 2008, Goldstein wrote: I shouldn’t have to point this out, but what the hell, I’m feeling kinda engaged this evening. First, IF ANY OF THIS IS TRUE (hi, SEK!) . . . He merely mocked me in the forum from which he’d banned me, thereby “disallowing me to defend myself — and giving his commenters the freedom to attack me without my having recourse to respond directly to them,” and that’s completely different from Patterico banning him, thereby “disallowing [him] to defend [himself] — and giving [Patterico's] commenters the freedom to attack [Goldstein] without [Goldstein] having recourse to respond directly to them,” what with the names and pronouns in the brackets being different — nay! significantly different. In the first case Jeff is doing something to someone else, whereas in the second someone is doing that same something to Jeff. That changes everything. Because everything comes down to intent: My argument is that when one does not take into account what the author intended, one is no longer concerned with “interpretation” as such. Instead, s/he is concerned with what s/he is able to do with a text . . . Again: saying a literary text has a single meaning and that the meaning belongs to its author [does...

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