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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Tragic Hero
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1104  Friday, 11 May 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 10 May 2001 09:07:00 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1091 Re: Tragic Hero

[2]     From:   Stevie Gamble <
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        Date:   Thursday, 10 May 2001 18:04:26 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1091 Re: Tragic Hero


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 10 May 2001 09:07:00 -0700
Subject: 12.1091 Re: Tragic Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1091 Re: Tragic Hero

Ms. Hughes wonders:

>I am truly perplexed as to why the idea that Shakespeare based MOV in part
>(note: IN PART) on a current situation (snip) why it should be necessary to
>haul out citations to prove it.

Because that is what scholars do.  They don't assume.  They demonstrate.

>I never sought to prove it, only to suggest
>that such a thing was likely. Are we to
>restrict ourselves on this list to discussing only that which has been
>"proven" to the rest
>of us?

Possible, yes.  Likely?  Prove it.

Is it likely that there were bed tricks, people sneaking into wives
rooms to steal bracelets and look for moles, and ghosts going to their
sons to request revenge?  Why would *MOV* be more likely to be based on
a real event than these incidents?

>I know from gong through this kind of thing
>before and from watching these same tactics
>used on others, that nothing that I offer in
>the way of evidence will be sufficient and so to dig it out will be a waste
>of time.

This is wrong.  Most of us will gladly follow the evidence if you
present it.  Your suggestion would be a fascinating addition to our
knowledge of the play, IF it is more than just a warm fuzzy feeling.

>I don't post for Jensen, who has shown his
>animosity towards my ideas frequently over
>the years,

Not your ideas as much as your inability to back them up.  Discourse
should be on the level of what is known, not what you hope is true.

>Why can't Jensen and Gamble do as I do to
>them or to anyone whose posts don't interest
>me or with which I don't agree, simply ignore me?

Because I care about getting at the truth, and I care about using sound
tools so we will know the difference between facts and fancy.

>Why try to beat me, or anyone else, to death
>with words? Is this your idea of scholarship?

I hold you to the same principles of discourse that I want to be held
to.  I consider it a kindness when I make error if it is pointed out to
me.  If there is a lack of gentleness in the way I point your errors out
to you, it is due in part to frustration over your pattern of doing this
that remains proud and uncorrected, and some rather annoying off list
messages you sent a few years ago.  Remember the one when you wrote, "I
don't care about critical thinking.  I care about thinking."  That
reveals so much.

>Are we to have a vote on whether or not
>Stephanie Hughes is a fool and should be
>peppered to death with paper bullets or
>shall we proceed with courteous discourse,
>state our own views  (when we have them and
>when they are relevant) and politely refrain from pointless diatribes once
>it becomes clear that the argument can go no further?

If I understand this, do I?, I really think it misses the point.  I
appears to assume that all opinions have equal weight, and should be
simply stated, not held up to scrutiny.  Obviously, this list debates
ideas all the time.  If an idea is bad, it will be pointed out.  If it
has no known basis if fact, as does your idea about *MOV* being based,
in part, on an actual incident, that too is pointed out.  I encourage
this.  It is part of the process.  This is actually a good thing.  Not
all ideas have equal merit.  Some are wrong, and that should be noticed.

>I worry about Mike Jensen. He gets so worked
>up over infractions of the rules, rules that as far as I can see are purely
>of his own making.

Worry?  Gee, thanks.  Nice of you.  Hmmm.  The principles of good
scholarship are of my making.  Well, thanks for the promotion, but I
can't claim credit.  I've had good teachers.

>How nice it would be if Jensen's courtesy
>extended to those who don't share his views.

Actually it does.  I read something every day on SHAKSPER with which I
disagree, or regard with caution.  I seldom address those issues because
the poster has sound reasons for making the claim.  Those reasons are
given in the post.  I remember it for the next day's posts, then read
and consider the new comments.  Other reasons are given in those posts.
It is one way that I learn, and when discourse is on this level, it is
very useful.  That you would assume I go after everyone who does not
agree with me, tell us a lot more about you than it does about me.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stevie Gamble <
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Date:           Thursday, 10 May 2001 18:04:26 EDT
Subject: 12.1091 Re: Tragic Hero
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1091 Re: Tragic Hero

>As I hope I have shown in a number of discussions on this list, I am
>more than willing to dig out citations to back up anything I say when
>asked by someone who shows either a genuine interest in the idea or at
>least a modicum of courtesy.  When, after two posts from Gamble it
>became evident that the intent was not to discuss my suggestion (again,
>that MOV had its basis IN PART from current problems with London
>moneylenders) rather to make me look like an ignorant fool (while at the
>same time publishing a dissertation on usury through the ages, of which
>the relevance to my post was questionable), I did as I usually do in
>such cases, ignored them, a tactic I suggest to others who are afraid to
>post for fear of being trashed in this way.

I have become accustomed, in a brief acquaintanceship, to Stephanie
Hughes' misrepresentation of facts, I have become accustomed to her
misrepresentation of what I have said, and I have become accustomed to
her misrepresentation of what she has said; this latest posting provides
yet another example of all three. I have posted corrections of fact, I
have posted corrections of what I have said, rather than what Stephanie
Hughes says that I have said, and I have even posted corrections of what
Stephanie Hughes has said when she subsequently announces that she said
something quite different. Her apparent conviction that facts are
irrelevant to argument, and that someone correcting issues of fact is
'trashing' the argument does imply a distinctly strange world view, and
for that matter, her conviction that it is perfectly ok to misrepresent
what others have said is also strange, given her cries of injured
innocence.  As for her own statement above re 'current problems with
London moneylenders' what she actually said was:

 >>>I posted ... to
>>>suggest that his intention may have been NOT to paint a nasty picture of
>>>a Jew but a nasty picture of a seemingly doctrinaire Protestant
>>>reformist who dressed in black, named his children after OT characters,
>>>spouted religious doctrine at every turn and fulminated in Parliament
>>>and Church against the theaters while practicing extortion on the side.

There is a world of difference in those two representations; just as
there is a world of difference between my assertion in my first post
that "Elizabethan England had moneylenders in plenty, including John
Shakespeare, some of them rapacious, but very few of them Jews."  And
Stephanie Hughes' subsequent claim that I was so ignorant of the history
of the period that I didn't even know that there were rapacious English
moneylenders at the time.

>I know from going through this kind of thing before and from watching
>these same tactics used on others

What tactics? The correction of issues of fact? The correction of
misrepresentations of the views of others? Expecting people not to
misrepresent their own observations later in the discourse, and
challenging them when they do so?

>that nothing that I offer in the way
>of evidence will be sufficient and so to dig it out will be a waste of
>time.  I don't post for Jensen, who has shown his animosity towards my
>ideas frequently over the years, or for Gamble, but for those who may be
>interested in a different take on the plays. (I too get supportive posts
>off list from others, believe it or not.)
>
>Why can't Jensen and Gamble do as I do to them or to anyone whose posts
>don't interest me or with which I don't agree, simply ignore me? Why try
>to beat me, or anyone else, to death with words? Is this your idea of
>scholarship?

Do you not comprehend the need to make corrections of fact, so that
other readers are not misled into believing that x is so when it is not?
Is repeatedly misrepresenting others your idea of scholarship? Are your
arguments so bad that that the only way you can sustain them is by
misrepresenting fact and then pretending that you could support your
arguments really, but don't have the time or the inclination to do so?
Oh, and do you really believe that you have license to beat others to
terminal boredom with cries of hard done by you are?

Major snip

>If you want citations, Stevie, from me or anyone who posts on this list
>or any other, I suggest you ask politely without assuming that what you
>know is more important than what the other fellow knows.

But I did ask politely. I assume therefore that this is an addendum to
your notions of scholarship; 'I'll only support my arguments if I've got
the time, and the inclination, and definitely only if you ask me really,
really nicely, and I'm the judge of what really, really nicely is.'

I can see that this approach has considerable advantages from your
perspective, but it's unlikely to catch on. At least not with people who
have to be able to sustain their arguments without recourse to personal
whim.  The Merchant of Venice is a great play; one which confronts
questions central to the human experience for five thousand years, and
dilemmas felt as keenly now as when Shakespeare wrote it. It deserves
our best efforts.

Incidentally, with my apologies to that great actor Sidney Poitier, one
final point:

They call me Miss Gamble.

Stevie Gamble

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