ADS Website Link to Vocabula Review

Robert Hartwell Fiske Vocabula at AOL.COM
Thu Jun 19 17:55:38 UTC 2003

In a message dated 6/18/2003 12:56:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time, G
ordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU writes:

Given the contempt Fiske has for linguists, it's interesting that he proudly
lists the mysterious ADS "endorsement" of Vocabula on his site among other
comments praising the publication.

In a message dated 6/19/2003 8:17:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG writes:

I'm sure I looked at the Vocabula Review site for ten minutes three years
ago, found it inoffensive, and whipped off a few lines to cover the link. I
couldn't tell you why I even bothered with a review. I'm no Michiko Kakutani. I've
looked at the VR site a few times since and have usually felt the articles I
had access to stopped about ten thousand words short of explaining the true
mission of their subtext. So, since
I added the link, I have come to concur with the general opinion on the
Vocabula Review.


I thought I'd wait a while before sending this letter. Surely one or two ADS
members would be as disturbed by Barrett's words and thinking as I was. But
only Ron Butters has yet to utter a word on the matter, so I will, too (unless I
have now been banned from the list).

Now that Barrett has decided that the Vocabula site is as objectionable as
others here have maintained, I, too, will remove the ADS endorsement that he
wrote some years ago.

Apparently, descriptivists are hell-bent to unearth "subtexts";
prescriptivists wish only to write well and clearly. Any subtext in Vocabula articles is of
Barrett's imaging; what's more, I dare say, he has not read any of Vocabula's
articles in at least a year; he does not subscribe, and he does not know of
what he speaks.

Truly I had no contempt for linguists (though I didn't much care, as I made
plain, for the tone of the attacks against me), but I'm now understanding that
linguists (very well, some linguists) are lemming-like. However would you
manage if the country were overcome by terrorists or North Koreans or evangelical
conservatives? Tergiversate? Become quislings? A society *is* generally as lax
as its language.

As I believe I have said before, only a handful of ADS members do subscribe
to The Vocabula Review. The rest of you (who have participated in railing
against me and Vocabula) have not read TVR, but you have felt you can judge it
harshly (based, I suppose, on a four-paragraph mission statement -- which by the
way, I wrote some years ago; TVR has evolved over time even if the mission
statement has not). This is surely the antithesis of liberalism.

The final point I wish to make is that I welcome alternative or opposing
views in Vocabula; descriptivists have written articles for Vocabula (I suspect
you'd all be delighted to read jjoan ttaber altieri's articles, for instance,
which even I find interesting). ADS, it must now be now clear, does not tolerate
free-thinking any more than it does a prescriptivist approach.

Therefore, for a more balanced, egalitarian view of the English language
today, I do invite you all to subscribe to The Vocabula Review: Though the cost is $8.95 a year, if you are a student,
self-employed, on a fixed income, or live outside the United States and cannot
afford $8.95, pay $5.95.

Robert Hartwell Fiske
Editor and Publisher
The Vocabula Review

The Vocabula Review
A measly $8.95 a year

The Vocabula Review
10 Grant Place
Lexington, MA 02420
United States
Tel: (781) 861-1515

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