The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1023  Thursday, 3 May 2001

From:           Andrew W. White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 2 May 2001 20:22:38 -0400
Subject: 12.1010 Seminars
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1010 Seminars

Dr. Cox does have a point -- and this is one that should give us all
some pause.  In the context of mere text, nuances and intentions are
often invisible, and it's easy for us to rub each other the wrong way
without meaning to.  On the other hand, it is also easy, from behind the
protective barriers of our modems, to lob barrage after barrage of
invective and petty sarcasm that we would never touch if we were talking
with each other in person.  What would be palpably rude and unacceptable
in personal conversation/debate for some reason becomes legitimated by
the medium of text.

Frankly, I would say Cox's remarks apply to all text-based
communications, not just email.  Just think of the kind of text-based
invective we find in the mainstream media, in periodical's book reviews,
etc., and ask yourself: if these people had to deliver their ideas in
person, would they have the nerve to talk the way they do?

Mind you, I've been known to vent on email from time to time, and have
paid for it, so at least I can understand how easily listserv members
can fall into an uncivil discourse that would be inconceivable in
person.  But it is good to be reminded from time to time that there is
such a thing as actually seeing people, actually walking up to them,
calling them on the phone, even.

Andy White

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