RARA-AVIS: Re: Handicapping the List

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Sep 2009

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
    > So you were a "total fan" on August 8, now you're not. But you might
    > be tomorrow. Got it.
    > Now that I know your positions are ephemeral and temporary, I'll try
    > to pay less attention to them.
    > Gee, I feel less "handicapped" already.
    > (Although I was looking forward to scoring a primo parking space.)

    Kevin, the dialectical method you are trying to apply does not work in the discussion of literature. I am a fan of Pynchon's and have been since I read the first book by him. But I judge each book separately, be it Pynchon, Leonard, Chandler or any other writer. There is nothing to debate about this. It doesn't hurt me in the least if a Pynchon book sucks. I have no investment in Pynchon. He writes, I read. Being a fan carries no responsibilities.

    The "handicapped" comment was simply an ironic way of saying that you seem to suspect people's motives when they express enthusiasm or scorn for a writer. I don't think that's a good basis for discussion. If you don't believe in the good faith of your interlocutors, how can you discuss anything seriously with them, and more importantly, why would you want to?

    In this list, the good faith of participants has always been assumed. We could change that and assume that everyone is a potential troll with a hidden agenda, but I don't think that would be wise. If somebody says that he has read Chandler and that Chandler sucks for this or that reason, I take that at face value.



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