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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Dead Horses and Closing Threads
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1914  Monday, 21 November 2005

[1] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
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	Date: 	Monday, November 21, 2005
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906  Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[2] 	From: 	Bob Rosen <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 12:52:35 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906  Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[3] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 18:28:37 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[4] 	From: 	Stephen Rose <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 10:43:16 -0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[5] 	From: 	Marvin Bennet Krims <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 14:23:36 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[6] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 14:42:46 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[7] 	From: 	Sarah Cohen <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 18:22:21 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[8] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 22:15:54 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1889 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[9] 	From: 	David Bishop <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 20 Nov 2005 01:33:33 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[10]	 From: 	Phyllis Gorfain <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 20 Nov 2005 23:30:12 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Monday, November 21, 2005
Subject: 16.1906  Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906  Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

A few years before the end of his career, a past rector of my church 
announced that he wanted parishioners to comment on his sermons. I know 
exactly what motivated him to make such a request. He had been hired, 
before I arrived, for the quality of his sermons. He was very good, but 
after years and years of delivering variations of the same theme he 
began to question his effectiveness. Some were so dissatisfied that 
anything that he did was wrong. Others were so satisfied that they did 
not think anything was wrong. And others longed for the good old days 
when the message was new and the excitement was palpable. As an activist 
senior warden who came of age in the during the Civil-Rights Movement, 
Anti-War Movement, and the Women's Movement of the late sixties and 
early seventies, I had become close to this man and had a sense of what 
he was going through, so I commented.

Now, SHAKSPER is approaching its seventeenth birthday, and both it and I 
are showing signs of our age.

Like my former rector, I too appreciate feedback and welcome these 
occasional meta-discussions about SHAKSPER's purpose. I also realize 
that some members are pleased with the list just as it is, that others 
are dissatisfied, and that some long for the early times. I am 
considering all that is being said, and I am glad that members care 
enough to express their views. Thanks.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Rosen <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 12:52:35 EST
Subject: 16.1906  Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906  Dead Horses and Closing Threads


 >I applaud Hardy's decision to close discussions on the listserv earlier.
 >It's impossible to please everyone, but Holger Syme is certainly right
 >that SHAKSPER has become less appealing to scholars, because so much
 >commentary is ill-informed and repetitive. Maybe it's impossible for a
 >single listserv to be useful to both a popular and academic audience,
 >but as one who mostly lurks and quickly deletes, I would be grateful to
 >have shallow and poorly informed commentary brought to a swifter end,
 >especially if those involved show little or no inclination to read
 >carefully considered views that have been published elsewhere than on
 >the listserv. --John Cox

Us groundlings were also at the Globe.

Bob Rosen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 18:28:37 -0000
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

A topic I would add to those already suggested for the blacklist is that 
of undergraduates and high school students asking for experts virtually 
to write their essays for them, and who clearly indicate / admit quite 
cheerfully that they have read next to nothing, or who understand 
nothing - particularly the question that they have been set apparently! 
Such requests are framed of course usually rather more obscurely than a 
bald demand, although we have had a number even of those in the last few 
months. Now, I realise a problem here: it may be that out of the mouths 
of babes etc come interesting conundra, and it seems to me to be Hardy's 
job to edit so that the unfortunate is not vilified eternally, or, 
worse, indulged by a sequence of posts that write the essay for the 
student. On the other hand, wilful and invincible ignorance or bizarre 
theorising is just as likely to produce apoplexy. I know of at least one 
extremely eminent UK academic who has seriously debated continuance out 
of frustration at the peripheral trivia that clutters postings, and he 
is an acknowledged world expert in a particular field, and this list 
would be very much the poorer for his departure. I am not arguing for 
elitism, just knowledge of texts.

It is all very well to say press delete, but generally, one has to read 
to assess, by which time the blood pressure level is already rising. 
Yes, certain respondents achieve automatic nul points and deletion, but 
there are many who compass-less gallop onto cliff tops without fully 
realising what they are doing to their own cases, and the credibility of 
the list in general.

Like Holger Syme, one of my major aversions is for those who write as if 
the characters in plays were real, with back stories or forward stories. 
That seems to suggest so fundamental a misunderstanding of how drama / 
theatre is made as to render most of what they then go on to say as 
worthless, for they are reducing Shakespeare to an interactive soap 
opera. That has to be seriously worrying in a forum which was intended 
to be an exchange of scholarly or near scholarly opinion, hasn't it?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stephen Rose <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 10:43:16 -0800
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

I run a forum with nearly 10K active participants. It would be 
impossible to do without our Terms of Use. All decisions must be 
justified by explicit provisions in the TOU. That would be a proper way 
to specify threads and posts that will either be edited, deleted, moved 
or archived. Once a TOU exists that is the standard for all decisions 
one needs only to refer list members to it or update it. I would suggest 
creation of a TOU whose reading was mandatory on registration and for 
existing members and a renaming of the Netiquette document or its 
incorportation into the TOU. Best, S

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Marvin Bennet Krims <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 14:23:36 -0500
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

I suppose the quick answer as to why people insist on beating dead 
horses might be because we humans are predisposed to quarrel endlessly 
over most anything especially over what concerns us most.

But also, the fact we get so involved in such arguementation speaks to 
Shakespeare's capacity to evoke real people in real situations with a 
stroke of the quill.

Marvin Krims

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 14:42:46 -0500
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Larry Weiss <
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 >

 >Impermissible posts:
 >
 >The "authorship question"

This is already a long-established policy.

 >Reviews of local, provincial and student performances, especially if 
they have closed

Surely /all/ stage productions are "local", by definition.

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sarah Cohen <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 18:22:21 -0800
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

I am heartened that Mr. Syme would have the list be for "academic and 
theatre people alike". I am dismayed, however, that he includes in his 
list of objectionable threads those that "speak of literary characters 
as though they were real people."

Actors do this all the time. If theatre people are to be included on the 
list, please do not ban discussion of the inner lives and backstories of 
characters. It is surely as useful to our own discipline as talk of 
railed stages is to literary research.

I suggest, though, that actors (and other non-academic readers) meet the 
scholars halfway, and, in any discussion about the lives of 
Shakespeare's characters, offer textual support for their positions.

Thank you.

Sarah Cohen

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Saturday, 19 Nov 2005 22:15:54 -0500
Subject: 16.1889 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1889 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Holger Schott's remarks deserve consideration by all the members of the 
list: those of us who have allowed ourselves to be seduced by so 
appealing a soapbox, and those of us who have allowed the soapbox 
orators to preempt useful additions to the treasury of knowledge and 
thought concerning our common subject.

David Evett

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Bishop <
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Date: 		Sunday, 20 Nov 2005 01:33:33 -0500
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

I have a suggestion for tightening up this list a little: put a word 
limit on posts. Hardy could set his filter to allow the first 250 (or 
whatever) words and cut off the rest. People would soon learn, and the 
discipline might be salutary. Of course the moderator would be free to 
override the limit at his discretion.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

[10]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Phyllis Gorfain <
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Date: 		Sunday, 20 Nov 2005 23:30:12 -0500
Subject: 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1906 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

I hope I am not beating a dead horse, but I want to add my support for 
Hardy's decision to cut off some threads sooner than he would have 
earlier.  I trust Hardy's careful judgment (always considered) about 
what threads need to be cut off as he has been, I think, eminently fair 
about allowing discussion of most topics (with the exception of 
authorship and, more recently, cryptology).  Clearly Hardy has allowed 
the listserv to grow and change, and he has welcomed students, actors, 
directors, Shakespeare fans, and scholars, even though the listserv 
began as an academic forum.  If Hardy deems a thread or topic to have 
run its course because he sees that a small number of people continue to 
write in, or that the question has been answered sufficiently, or for 
other reasons deems the thread not likely to generate useful discussion, 
I believe we will all benefit from a more vital Shaksper that is lively, 
significant, and helpful.

Phyllis Gorfain
Oberlin College


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