Sun Dec 1 11:09:04 UTC 1991

Status: RO

Hate to drag this list down, but Richard Hayes' increasingly
anachronistic remarks on the politics of Devanagari rouse me from my
textual slumbers:
>Ronald E. Emmerick's suggestion that transcribing a text into Devanagari
>could be interpreted by some as a political act was, I must confess,
>an aspect of the issue that I had never given any thought.
     Richard, when you first raised this issue, didn't you write
something to the effect that your initial concern arose because of the
increased sensitivity to such matters shown by your colleagues
working with other languages? I had assumed that you were
specifically referring to the sort of political considerations (or
sensitivity to cultural issues, or whatever) that you here
repudiate. Further, from the comments so far it seems that Devanagari tends
to be neither the original script nor necessarily more accurate, and
complicates the life of encoders and text-critical "taggers" of
machine-readable texts as well. Do not the political considerations
remain a serious issue? I think so, as I tried to indicate in my
earlier comment on the subject (perhaps the message that led to the
branding of this List as-- horrors-- degenerating to the quality of
the Buddhist list).
>I am tempted to say that if it is not my intention to
>take a political stand by using a particular script, then it is not
>a political act.
     How tempted are you? This of course sounds like a Buddhist sort
of position, reflecting the a-social, individualist approach of the
Buddhist tradition to action and influence in this world.
Unfortunately, unless "intention" is redefined so as to make it
unrecognizable as well as incompatible with your statement
(including somehow the intention of society and culture, perhaps),
a sociology of individual intention is demonstably untenable and
rather unethical to boot.
>At best, having such things pointed out to me only serves to make
>me more weary of the dreadful stupidity of human beings.
     I always thought human beings stupid because of their
short-sighted refusal to see all of the ramifications (causal
ripples) of their actions (including the political). I, too, am
very weary of the invective of the battles over political
correctness. My home institution, a women's college in New England,
is constantly embroiled in various questions of this sort. It is
rather delightful to be in Japan for some time, where questions of
sexism, nationalism, ageism, racism, and the like are simply not
things the average person is aware of. Jokes about women's "parts"
and minorities once again! Thank god for R&R, but I prefer the
arghhhh!, politically correct over the incorrect.
arghhhh!-ingly yours, Jamie Hubbard.

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