[INDOLOGY] Fwd: sad day

Paolo Magnone paolo.magnone at unicatt.it
Fri May 23 20:59:47 UTC 2014

Dear Dominik,

Please, look twice… joke-warning (the smiley) and advance apology were already there in my original post as quoted by you below.

And — apūrva indeed is this court of (summary) justice that you are setting up for me: I am left with the choice of pleading guilty and retracting — or? the alternative does not exist, because if I wanted to defend my case, that would “fall outside the scope of Indology”!

But anyway, I had already said that

[because] The appropriateness or otherwise of my rethorical devices [emphasis added] is entirely beyond the original point, and hardly a subject of indological interest.
[and because] Nitpicking over details is also in itself a well-known rhetorical device to deflect attention from the main argument.

I would respond off-list to those who felt offended, or would care to take up the matter with me (which I have already done).

Since, as you say, “email is a poor medium for ironic jokes”, then let the dry statement above speak my mind, to which I needn’t add anything further in this place.

Much more importantly, coming to the rest of your post, to me what was deplorable in the message which elicited my reaction is not what you rather mildly put as “the use of financial metaphors for non-financial matters” (perhaps a case of British understatement? ;-) see how obdurate I am!) pertaining to institutions but 1) the ludicrous consumerist reductionism perpetrated on (what at least some of us regard as) lofty ideals such as democracy and freedom:

This, Prof Magnone, is what democracy is all about, this is what freedom is all about. I have a right to buy from whom I wish; anyone has a right to (try to) sell to whomever they wish, but I can tell them: I won't buy from you, so if it is important to you to sell to *me* […] then you might want to rethink what you do.

and 2) the more disquieting fact that it was no metaphor at all, but a very serious threat, materialized in that ill-advised (my opinion, of course) petition of yours : “we Indologists will not buy your books or your services unless you submit to our ‘friendly advice’” — or, in prof. Silk’s own words,

There is therefore absolutely nothing, logically or legally, of suppression in writing to MLBD and saying: if you sell this, I won't allow you to sell my book, I won't buy books from you, I will discourage others from buying books from you. This, Prof Magnone, is what democracy is all about…

Patronizing tone aside, allow me to say that *the purport* of that proposition — i. e. that forms of blackmail be the essence of democracy and freedom — causes me far greater outrage than would a jocular remark on the character of Italians. Apparently, though, some do not feel in the same way (but luckily others do, who expressed their support off-list) since they were quick to censure my presumed intemperance, but not to disown that proposition — as one might say, looking at the speck and failing to see the log…

With best wishes,

Paolo Magnone

Sanskrit Language and Literature
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart - Milan
Study of Religions III (Hinduism) & IV (Buddhism)
Theological Faculty of Northern Italy - Milan

On 23/05/2014 20:21, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
​Dear Paolo,​

Your derogatory remark about North Americans was made publicly on this list.  When I read it, I hoped you were joking
​, since you did have a smiley ​
​but ​
email is a poor medium for ironic jokes).  If you seriously meant it as an ethnographical analysis of North Americans, but on second thoughts wish retract it, please do so here too.  If you wish to pursue a defence of the assertion, then I think it must be said to fall outside the scope of INDOLOGY.

I think we can all agree that we deplore the use of financial metaphors for non-financial matters, what anthropologists like Marylin Strathern have called the "spread of the audit culture."  But my experience of European institutions shows me that this practice is just as pervasive in Europe as anywhere else. In Britain, the decisive turn to viewing every human act as a form of business transaction was achieved by the Thatcher government, and has been in force ever since.
​  Maybe it's not so in Italy.  :-)​



it is true that North Americans have a flair for boiling everything down to money :-)          (I beg your forgiveness for my impertinence).​

INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info<mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>


Messaggio istituzionale

Ricerca, Formazione, Assistenza, Cooperazione e Sviluppo: 5 ragioni per metterci la firma.
Grazie a un gesto semplice puoi sostenere le iniziative dell’Ateneo dei cattolici italiani e del Policlinico “A. Gemelli”.
Sottoscrivi il 5 per mille a favore dell'Università Cattolica.
Info: www.unicatt.it/5permille<http://www.unicatt.it/5permille/>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20140523/a5673452/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list