Forum's tone

Brian Akers Sfauthor at AOL.COM
Thu Oct 5 17:28:05 UTC 2000

I think part of the reason for the periodic deterioration in our tone of
conversation is that people everywhere are not keen on being "studied."

People like to be conversed with, learned from, taught (sometimes!), exalted,
flattered, humored, and so on, but they really don't enjoy being put under a
microscope and analyzed. Some members of this list feel more like the slide
and less like the observer.

This is why, in Anthropology, there are thousands of village studies,
thousands of working class neighborhood studies, but very few studies of the
wealthy--they have the wherewithal to avoid being studied. (The exception
being that small subset known as celebrities, who derive their wealth from
being observed.)

Unless this list becomes moderated and exclusive, some members will have to
come to terms with the fact that it is primarily a detached, analytical,
academic forum, and others with the fact that their statements can be taken
quite personally. It reminds me a bit of an essay by Clifford Geertz. He retur
ned to a village in Indonesia he had studied many years ago--and found his
ethnographies for sale in the village shops!


Brian Dana Akers
sfauthor at

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