9.231 Humanist biographies

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Mon, 16 Oct 1995 19:01:21 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 231.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: John Law <J.A.Law@newcastle.ac.uk> (29)
Subject: Re: 9.224 biographies for Humanist

[2] From: "FIRNVX::MRGATE::\"A1::DWYERJ1\""@firnvx.firn.edu (14)
Subject: a brief disclosure

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 09:36:17 +0100
From: John Law <J.A.Law@newcastle.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 9.224 biographies for Humanist

> Recently I read one of the most entertaining biographies that has come along
> in ages...
> In any case, please let me know what you think, or as we say, what is your
> pleasure.

Willard, I'm for informality.

Debate over the Internet - whether by e-mail list or by Usenet News - has
always been informal (in News: often much *too* informal). This has the
liberating influence which your message mentions.

Electronic media do not lend themselves to the formal academic styles
adopted in paper publications. These, incidentally, are often liberally
larded with pretentious verbosity, applied by the writer so that s/he can
establish his or her credibility by using the currently acceptable
vocabulary, references, and names; the 'message' itself is sometimes

The beauty of communication by e-mail list is that people are constrained
to be brief (because colleagues *will not read* long mail messages); the
quality of what they have to say then shines through.

Of course, if people get too informal then the standard can start to
decline towards the Usenet News level, which, though it may be entertaining
in various ways, has a huge noise-to-signal ratio. Hence the need for a
good e-mail list to have (a) a good moderator and/or (b) regular
contributions from masters (M/F) of the e-mail medium, who can combine
brevity with highly intelligent comment, and show the rest of us how it
should be used.

Best wishes,

John Law University Computing Service
Information Officer University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: +44 91 222 8115 NE1 7RU
Fax: +44 91 222 8765 United Kingdom

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 17:33:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: "FIRNVX::MRGATE::\"A1::DWYERJ1\""@firnvx.firn.edu

X-Vmsmail-To: SMTP%"mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU"
Message-Id: <951016173311.56e0e@firnvx.firn.edu>

A brief disclosure:
My wife and I are both graduate students. She had to leave the
town where I work and live at the university for 6 weeks this past summer.
We communicated via the net in chat mode nearly every evening and both now
feel that the experience of the *form* we used, like gold to airy thinness
beat, gave us something that now, face to face, our conversation lacks.
The print of even ephemeral electronic *pages* allows thought and feeling
to achieve a something beyond and superior to the much touted emphasis on
facial expression and *body language*. The net is wonderful, even for
private expression.
Your humble servant,
John DW