From: henry sholar <hwsholar@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 07:40:59 -0500
On Mon, 11 Jan 1999 10:59:43 -0800 (PST) Tony Roberts
> Great response! You're right. What matters more than belief is
> practice. I still believe, however, that what "goes without saying"
> underwrites such practices in exactly the way that grammar rules
> underwrite and justify "correct usage" of a langauge. People of a
> community can be relied upon to do the right thing (practices) from
> the perspective of the community because a certain interpretation of
> "the right thing", a certain sense of legitamite obligation and proper
> restraint, goes without saying for all "decent people", decent people
> being "us" from the perspective of the community. Knowing what the
> right thing to do is and doing it is what being "decent people" means
> within any community
well, hello levi-strauss, ain't seen you since savage mind.
> I was trying to use the word "commentary" in Foucault's special
> sense of that word. One question I was asking was "this is what I
> think Foucault means by "commentary", does this make sense or am I
> somehow misreading Foucault?" I choose the example of a minstral show
> put on by Duke and company trying to make it clear that by commentary
> I meant a story about a community which would not be seen as at all
> fair or accurate from the point of view of that community. A story
> which did not serve the interests of that community but only the
> interests of those who reject the members of that community.
such complications spell out a great more than just what you subscribe
(to). weaving this particular pattern in a vacuum gets you where?
ressentiment against the dukes? i cna get that easier. a framework of
"what's going on"? well, i don't see it as helpful towards diagnosis.
again, why stage a show about people who reject members of a community?
> I agree that flexibility is a pretty good measure of the health of
> a community. As Rokeach pointed out, a belief system serves two broad
> functions. One, it structurally couples the behavoir of the individual
> to reality. Two, it insulates the individual from aspects of reality
> which are too threatening to cope with. Rokeach defined persons as
> being relatively open minded or close minded depending on the degree
> to which this second function interfered with the first function. The
> people whose belief systems operated more as a mechanism of denial
> than as a mechanism of coping Rokeach labled as dogmatic. I would have
> no problem with the idea that some communities are healther than
> others in the sense that the communities shared belief system has more
> to do with careing and coping than with denial. I would also expect
> that the stories told about the other within a healthy community would
> have less to do with "commentary".
I missed where "belief" became a "system" and why trhis is so
definitive of a community. so much so that it appears to me that
belief system is a rigid grammar you're still pushing that i think is
wrong. if there are beliefs that strongly mold the community, i think
that many of them are convoluted, unarticulatable and mostly
transparent to members of the community. even, shall we say, Amish and
othe cultic communities (ie, communities "based on faith")
Commentary is precisely a story
> about the other designed to deny validity to the others' perceptions
> and experience. The members of a healthy community would probably not
> be threatened enough by the other to feel the need to construct pure
> commentary. Their stories about the other would be more guided by
> healthy curiosity and a desire to deal fairly than by denial. But, I
> would still argue that any story told be "us" about "them" will have
> some aspect of commentary in what I take to be Foucault's sense. Even
> a story about why gays should have rights told by an open minded
> "straight but not narrow" academic will, I think, have an aspect of
> commentary to the extent that it is a story about how "we" (straights)
> should threat them. I can tell you from my own experience in class
> that it's very hard not to fall into commentary when discussing any
> person different in a way that would make that person "them" rather
> than "one of us" from the point of view of the typical student.
> Thanks for responding,
> Tony Michael Roberts
objectification of the other is objectification of the other, and i/we
do it all the time because our culture is built on it. i am learning
how to shrug and shudder and resist it (i hope). but i don't think i'd
take F's commentary this route.
where, by the by, is F using the word?