Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Gores missed the synedoche

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 07 Mar 2009

  • Next message: Mark D. Nevins: "RARA-AVIS: HAND and KISS"

    Mark Nevins wrote:

    > I don't want to hijack the Gores subject line to continue an unpleasant

    Too late.

    > Ron, thanks for your helpful suggestion, which I will once again choose to
    ignore. For the record, I am not all all sensitive about my own > career choices. What I am sensitive about is sweeping generalizations: I dislike them because they suggest to me positions based in >received opinion, laziness, bias, or unproductive generalization.

    You're actually thin-skinned about "sweeping generalizations"? Oh, and since when does someone using a sweeping generalization suggest a position based in unproductive generalization? I'm no PhD. in English Lit, just a humble History M.A. here, but that doesn't seem to make much sense.

    Where are you on cliches? Because the notion of the pedantic literature PhD. with too much time on his hands and not enough to do but point out the short-comings of others is a well-worn one.

    It must be exhausting acting as the Generalization Police. Oh, I'm sorry, was that a "sweeping generalization"? Am I going to be put in the Mark Nevins Memorial Literary Generalization Time-Out Corner?

    And here's another news flash for ya, Mark: some of us on this list are by turns "academic" *AND* "anti-academic," based not upon such trite, easily quantifiable (and as easily dismissed) notions as "received opinion, laziness, bias, or unproductive generalization," but upon our own experiences in places like, say, grad school.

    For example, it is impossible for *you* to dismiss my notions regarding academia out of hand, because they are mine, borne of hard experience, complex, and at times contradictory (my well-documented affection for the work of Harold Bloom and my general lack of affection for most literary criticism, for example) and they are not subject to your notions of what does and not constitute either a "sweeping generalization" or the sort of
    "straw man" argument you seem bent upon "winning" (e.g. the "fact" that Rara Avis is rife with anti-academic tosspots who, by being "anti-academic" must be wrong about academia for no other reason than that they're

    >Those of you who have been offended or annoyed by my calling out the
    anti-academic comments on this List can rest assured that >when I am with groups of people who dismiss fans of "genre literature" as stupid, unsophisticated geeks who don't know "good" >writing because they don't read
    "highbrow" literature, I also try to set those people straight.

    Oh, so you're a high-handed, nit-picking pedant around literary poseurs as well as on online discussion lists about hard-boiled and noir fiction as well, got it. Man, you must be fun at parties.

    > Can't help it--it's a personal tic I have, set off by closed-mindedness
    and prejudice.

    Remember when I asked about cliches above? You know when a cliche is not a cliche, right? When it's a truism. So, Physician, heal thyself.

    > I've now said my last on this topic in this group,


    > since I'm reminded of that wonderful Southern expression: "Never try to
    teach a pig to sing: it's a waste of your time, and it annoys the pig."

    Careful, some of the less-edu-macated types on here whose words/thoughts you so abhor might believe that you just called them "pigs." Poor benighted fools can't possibly know that what you just called those with whom you disagree is far worse.

    > I will continue to read, enjoy, and benefit from the excellent insights on
    hardboiled books and writers on RARA-AVIS, and do my best to let the rest pass without comment, as at the end of the day it's off-topic anyway.

    Here's a last suggestion for you: the next time you're trying to
    "gracefully" (*cough cough*) exit a shit-storm largely of your own making, you might try starting with your last sentence above, and ending with it.

    Brian Thornton

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