11.0419 flying meat

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 21:32:45 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 419.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: "R.G. Siemens" <Raymond.Siemens@UAlberta.CA> (49)
Subject: Re: 11.0415 flying meat boomerangs

[2] From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> (11)
Subject: martrix

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:57:41 -0700
From: "R.G. Siemens" <Raymond.Siemens@UAlberta.CA>
Subject: Re: 11.0415 flying meat boomerangs

Still afflicted by what some of my friends inform me are naive notions of
the value of traditional humanities study and pursuits -- specifically, I am
thinking here of the inherent 'good' in literacy and reading, the values and
ideals promoted and sustained (and, perhaps most importantly, questioned) by
humanists, and the positive role that humanists ideally should, can, and do
take in society-at-large -- I found the concerns raised in by Chris Floyd's
posting to be quite pertinent.

I, too, agree that "'the application of computers to the humanities' should
not be some insular ivory tower Nero fiddling thingammy." Moreover, while I
do have sympathies with the U of Toronto graduate student who commented in
Canada's _Globe and Mail_ newspaper (during the last Modern Language
Association conference held in Toronto) that as a discipline we are
deceiving ourselves if we think our work is accessible or even of interest
to the society-at-large that we may ultimately and ideally hope to address,
I hope that this is not the case, and do see how HC plays a positive role.

(While not directly addressing this concern, the role of HC in a wired
world, as the first generation to have been 'technologised' early-on begins
to understand that term, provides the underlying discourse for a forthcoming
collection of essays -- editors of that volume, please pipe up!)

For me, perhaps the most important thing that HC has to offer in light of
the very tangible concerns noted by Chris Floyd is the further dissemination
of the staple of our discipline, of our engagement of it and, consequently,
of the 'good' contained therein. It is a positive step towards countering
the "dumbing down of society" and also the affliction of "affluenza" (the
pursuit of affluence, figured as a disease) that appears to dominate

>The whole new world order as it relates to global employers & electronic
>money with the high end of Metropolis throttling away on their keyboards
>whinging about over work, & the rest expected to clean their shoes, wash
>the car, walk the dog, wipe the babies' bum, ..., be starved, raped &

Others, with some good reason, may argue that the humanities in fact help
perpetuate this new word order, good and bad elements alike.

This is only a partial response, I realise, but to it I would also like to
add that the question

>Which side of the World Order do you wake up in the morning?

posed in the context that it is, for a humanist (and for HUMANIST) can also
be recast in terms of the role (active & passive) that the discipline has in
society. What role does our pursuit have in society? How can we ensure
that our role is, indeed, a positive one? (And, specifically, for those
whose interests are served by HUMANIST and HC) how can HC assist in
fulfilling that positive role?

Yours, likely in naivete,

Ray Siemens

R.G. Siemens
Department of English, U of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. T6G 2E5.
Editor, Early Modern Literary Studies: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/emlshome.html
wk. phone: (403) 492-7801 fax: (403) 492-8142
e-mail: Raymond.Siemens@UAlberta.ca
www homepage: http://purl.oclc.org/NET/R_G_Siemens.htm

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 12:47:16 -0500 (EST)
From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca>
Subject: martrix

I found a lovely philological curiosity in the message of Chris Floyd
that you copied to Humanist.

martrix of literary e-texts

The mother of mars... the martyrs of revolt...

Sometimes a revolt can mar a revolution...

Sometimes you do need to jump to turn.

I often twist before I shout,

I do think Martrix would be a wonderful WWW site devoted to the
literature of war, trickery and diplomacy.


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