Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tone of the Blog

For some reason the tone of this blog has gotten kind of snappy as of late (or has it always been this way?) - I snapped at Lorraine, Mark snapped at me, Max sees himself as "challenging" me (which suggests I am some kind of oppressive authority, possibly the pope, which would be fitting). Perhaps it's the touchy topic of translation. Can we try to be a little more relaxed and have discussions instead of "challenging" each other? Lets be a little less snappy (me included). Thanks. Johannes


Blogger Max said...

Johannes -

I don't see it as my role to "challenge" you, but the reason why I snap so often is because you tend to say things like "please engage the argument," when in fact I have engaged your arguments, though perhaps not in ways that you have wanted me to. I think that perhaps the reason why I appear snappy is because I often question the very terms of your arguments and assertions, rather than investing myself in those terms and using them as my grounds for discussion. It can often appear, I think, that I'm trying to topple the debate altogether, and a lot of times I am. But to act as though it somehow isn't valid to question these things is kind of absurd, and you dismiss this kind of thing all the time completely out of hand.

5:46 PM  
Blogger mark wallace said...

It's true that conversation on this blog has its snappy moments, but I think you do a very good job of moderating the tone of the discussion here, Johannes. We actually do have conversations, which on some blogs is impossible. The occasional snappiness of all of us usually comes out of frustration or spur of the moment response, but rarely do I sense a desire on anybody's part, and certainly not yours, to be genuinely hostile or shout other people down.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I thought it was just getting good.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

I'm with Jordan!

9:34 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...


I don't think of your "challenging" as very interesting because mostly it's a matter of rephrasing my arguments into more sophmoric formats (it's really about America is bad etc) and ultimately to attack me ad hominem ("you just want your own poems published" etc). That's not challenging the terms, that trying to hobble a discussion. Any discussion can be "challenged" - but it's more interesting to try to engage with the discussion. Why try to "topple" a debate? That makes sense if I were the pope issuing edicts, but not some dude blogging from Indiana (if indeed from our lady's hometown in IN).

5:42 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Okay, so for example:

If I feel that it would be beneficial if the MFA system simply did not exist, are you trying to say that it doesn't make sense for me to criticize your defense of the MFA system by noting that you seek employment as a creative writing professor? I could see being indignant if, in a moment of anger or passion, I called you fat or ridiculed the size of your eyebrows or something, but I can't think of an example of anything ad hominem-like I've said to you where there wasn't contiguity between the overall issue and the specific argument being made or, in other words, where the purpose was to maim and insult rather than draw a meaningful connection.

6:33 AM  

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