3.1169 death and rebirth of Humanist (117)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Wed, 14 Mar 90 20:23:04 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1169. Wednesday, 14 Mar 1990.

Date: 14 March 1990
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: death and rebirth of Humanist

Dear Colleagues:

Last December, as the year rapidly slid into gloom, I announced
my resignation from the editorship of Humanist. Though a time of
Saturnalian celebration and a defiant as well as joyous lighting
of lights against the darkness, Humanist's fate was then as
uncertain as Spring always is at some deep level of my mind. (The
sun will return, but will my sap flow?) Many good friends and I,
like Ishmael, shared winter in our souls and took to following up
every funeral we met for some weeks after.

Because of the long silence on the subject, you may well have
begun to suspect, however, that I was going to play Caesar to a
contrived crowd of citizens. Perhaps, like me, you have known
teachers who have managed to retire several times, each time
being given a party, presents, and signs of affection, until at
long last either death or good sense got them. Actually, I was
looking for a suitable replacement, and to my relief one stepped
forward, actually two -- Elaine Brennan and Allen Renear of Brown
University. Because the editing of Humanist is now such a large
task, Elaine and Allen have had to get approval at various levels
of administration, and to the great credit of Brown University
permission has been granted.

To have taken on Humanist in the beginning was no great burden,
but to take it on now signifies a remarkable commitment to the
future of electronic scholarship and the international community
that has discovered itself by means of e-mail. Humanist is
blessed in its new home, not only because it is being recognized
officially there but also because of its new co-editors. I doubt
very much if more able people could have been found anywhere, and
I am very much looking forward to the many improvements they will
bring about.

As for me, in case you should wonder, the great pasture of
buzzing summery idleness is not a whit nearer, though I am cow-like
in my contentment to watch others labour in the sunshine of
your attention at Humanist's editorial mill.

Humanist has an interesting future, I think. Apart from the
maturity it is bound to gain by falling into new hands, it will
have the opportunity to confront some fundamental problems in
communication and provide a kind of specialized laboratory in
which they can be worked out. If we as humanists are good for
anything at all aside from collecting our salaries -- don't
answer that -- we should be able, like our Renaissance
counterparts, to influence the Mighty as they struggle with issues
of design and control in the electronic regime. Let me draw your
attention, for example, to a recent publication of the Office of
Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, _Critical Connections:
Communication for the Future_ OTA-CIT-407 (Washington, DC: US
Government Printing Office, 1990). This 400 pp. book was written
for the Congress, not for scholars. One of the fascinating things
about it, however, is the extent to which scholarly opinion seems
to have informed it. On the same page where I find Machiavelli
the Florentine warning me about the difficulty and peril of
setting up new things, the authors discuss the need for a vision
of the role of communication. Are we not visionaries or at least
dream-interpreters? Do we not have some experience with the
literacy that is said to be essential to computer-mediated

Anyhow, I relinquish Humanist to Elaine and Allen gladly --
Spring is coming! -- and hope that with all these important and
responsible things to do Humanist does not cease to be our
intellectual playground.

More announcements will be forthcoming shortly. Elaine's and
Allen's message follows immediately.

Yours, Willard McCarty
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We are excited and pleased about Humanist's impending move from
Toronto to Providence. Of course we are also a little
apprehensive -- Willard is not only an inspiration to us, but a
challenge as well. Fortunately we will not be working in
isolation; a number of Humanists have agreed to serve as
associate editors. None of us could ever replace Willard, but we
will rely on his experience and wise counsel as Humanist's
Founding Editor. We have also asked him both to serve as our
senior advisor and to form an Advisory Board to provide us with
further advice and assistance.

We will be posting further details soon, including a schedule for
Humanist's move that we think is realistic given the constraints
of file transfer and the vagaries of listservs.

We are delighted to have this opportunity to serve the community
of computing humanists.

Elaine Brennan
Women Writers Project,
Brown University
womwrite@brownvm or

Allen Renear
Computing and Information Services,
Brown University
allen@brownvm or