[Humanist] 26.450 intemperance & outcry

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Nov 2 07:42:11 CET 2012


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 450.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Jascha Kessler <urim1 at verizon.net>                        (94)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 26.439 intemperance and outcry, but against
                what?

  [2]   From:    Christopher M. Ohge <christopherohge at gmail.com>           (70)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 26.439 intemperance and outcry, but against
                what?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2012 12:00:30 -0700
        From: Jascha Kessler <urim1 at verizon.net>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 26.439 intemperance and outcry, but against what?
        In-Reply-To: <20121031063536.1E2772DEE at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,
"What is being threatened?" you ask.  I have several examples or critical
remarks, even perhaps paragraphs that knock at my forehead to be *typed out
*and *emailed* to you.  But am too busy at the moment.  I will say that
your quotation reveals a *stupidum's* thoughts and writing.  It is a large
matter, and I know where to point at here and there. But consider this:
Plato banned the rhapsodes, or poets, from his REPUBLIC.  And of all the
major US media in journalism, all but one since the 1970s dropped the
little filler, a poem, from their editorial pages, that exception remains
today: THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, of all unexpected venues... In the
mid-1950s, Norman Podhoretz, on becoming editor of COMMENTARY, dropped the
several filler poems in its pages.  His former mentor at Columbia U, Lionel
Trilling, and a founder of the magazine, was enraged.  To no end.  And
Lionel was a subtle critic, mostly of prose, not verse.  It is something
that went flat in our culture.  I was stuck in 1974 for 3 days in Budapest
on account of heavy fog, waiting for a plane to Tehran each day, and became
acquainted with a one or two of the 5 men also waiting.  One was a tall,
vigorous Sudanese, a battery mogul from Khartoum.  When I told him I was
headed to Iran to read my translations of their great modern poet, Forugh
Farrokhzad, on an invitation from their Kulchur Ministry...he asked for my
pages to read, and for a day say crooning and reading aloud to himself,
entranced. Not only by the poet's work, but poetry itself as something to
be admired and read aloud and as something of importance.  Well, things
have gone down, and how! in Khartoum and Tehran, as we know, since 1974.  I
wrote an article about that visit, in fact.  [Which an editor friend
"mislaid" 4 times on his desk for 15 years, until I went elsewhere in our
current decade... "Roses and Bulbul Birds," www.calitreview.com
Jascha Kessler

On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 11:35 PM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 439.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2012 22:11:33 +0000
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: intemperance and outcry
>
>
> The season for intemperate remarks seems to be upon us.
>
> First, upon me: I see from reading further that (in reference to the
> coining of "digital humanities") the historical record, as I rather
> pretentiously called it, *does* have specific people wanting to distance
> themselves from computing support services, with which "humanities
> computing" was thought to be too closely associated. Katherine Hayles
> documents this in her contribution to Understanding Digital Humanities,
> ed. David M. Barry, p. 43. Apologies where needed -- but no retraction
> of the argument against anti-historical constructs.
>
> Second, upon Stephen Marche, in "Literature is not Data: Against Digital
> Humanities", Los Angeles Review of Books, 28 October,
> http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?type=&id=1040&fulltext=1&media=.
> I won't comment directly on what Marche says, though I do hope someone
> else does. What interests me particularly is the fact of his saying what
> he says. Getting such opposition means a nerve has been touched, an
> anxiety stirred up, a fear evoked -- which to me signifies that
> something rather important is happening. For the historian of the
> present of the digital humanities, the article constitutes highly
> valuable evidence. *Of course*, as he says in the last sentence
> of his article, "Insight remains handmade", i.e. as one might say,
> there is no text unless a human reads it, and when he or she does,
> no one (self-identical) text. The question is, why would anyone feel so
> strongly driven to insist on the presence of the human reader/
> interpreter? What is being threatened?
>
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
> the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
> London; Professor, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics,
> University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
> (www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist
> (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/


-- 
Jascha Kessler
Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
Telephone/Facsimile: 310.393.4648
www.jfkessler.com
www.xlibris.com



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:38:33 -0400
        From: Christopher M. Ohge <christopherohge at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 26.439 intemperance and outcry, but against what?
        In-Reply-To: <20121031063536.1E2772DEE at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear All –– I wrote some thoughts on Marche's article that I hope will appeal to digital humanists & those who want to know more about it: 
http://hastac.org/blogs/cmohge/2012/10/30/defense-empiricism-digital-humanities-not-merely-data

I would of course welcome any comments about where I went wrong, but my limited experience suggests that Marche mischaracterizes a diverse field & fears a world without the codex, serious literature, artifacts (in archives), & equipped readers. I know several MFA students & poets in Boston who would take issue with his line of thinking; the last thing on artists' minds is the danger of the digital. I'm not sure about what is being threatened, except the "sacred" sense of reading that he vacuously describes.    

With good wishes,
Christopher M. Ohge 

--
Christopher M. Ohge

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning
Boston University
Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities
University of Maine
http://umaine.edu/umhi/digital-humanities/
Twitter: @cmohge
 


More information about the Humanist mailing list