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John Myhill john at RESEARCH.HAIFA.AC.IL
Wed Apr 30 05:35:15 UTC 1997

Tony Wright wrote:

>Rather, the notion of "Goldstein" (as per John Myhill's apt analogy
>with Orwell's _1984_) implies a thick-skinned individual who does not
>mind being in the minority and voicing opinions that go against the
>stream. I think this has been helpful for FUNKNET, which has gone from
>being nothing but conference announcements to having a real dialog.  The
>function of Goldstein is to remind people that there are other viewpoints
>which people conceivably might have, and we mustn't get too comfortable
>in our cocoon.

I'm sorry I was misunderstood. This is most definitely NOT the function of
Goldstein in 1984, and it was not the function I was referring to in my
The function of Goldstein was to unite people under a totalitarian regime
by giving them something external to hate which took their minds off of
the system they themselves were living under. Goldstein was himself ultimately
an agent of Big Brother, an indispensible part of the system. The relevance of
my analogy to the situation on funknet is that it is depressing to me to see
people who are supposed to be interested in talking about language evidently
only being really moved by the active presence of 'the enemy'--what would happen
if there were no formal linguists to argue with? Would functional linguists
have nothing left to do or talk about? I hope that isn't the case, I want
to believe that isn't the case, but the interactions on funknet in the last
few months give me cause for concern.    John Myhill

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