on closing the list (WAS saving the world)

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Dec 5 21:36:28 UTC 2006

I accept (and will act on) the Coventry agreement, at least for the time being.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
>Subject:      on closing the list (WAS saving the world)
>In a message dated 12/5/06 11:49:33 AM, preston at MSU.EDU writes:
>>  Two things:
>>  So far as I have seen, and it has been luckily little, Mr.Zurinskas
>>  has provided no interesting novel data on folk beliefs about
>>  language, nor has he engaged in any interesting discussions of
>>  alphabet reform, a welcome discussion if it refers to the histories
>>  of such efforts and an assessment of them or even to attempts to use
>>  respellings as a part of educational programs (the now defunct ita -
>>  initial teaching alphabet or Pitman system).
>>  More importantly, Joel and other welcome lurkers like him should have
>>  every opportunity to "hear" us talk about what we know (and what we
>>  don't know) within a scholarly (and one hopes humane, even
>>  half-heartedly humorous from time to time) network. To have our talk
>>  interrupted and diverted and, perhaps worse, to have the public
>>  exposure of what we do trivialized by such silliness is a threat to
>>  the already weak position of our field in the public mind, not to
>>  mention to the recruitment of novices to our siblinghood.
>>  Let us reconsider making our list a professional discussion forum,
>>  open to those who interest in language and variety is at least enough
>>  to warrant the very low student rate for ADS membership.
>I seriously doubt that the price of a student membership would stop Mr. Z
>from posting to ADS-L. Remember, this is someone who paid a vanity press to
>publish his apparently nonsensical books in hopes of saving the
>world from crime
>and illiteracy. Meanwhile, we would be cutting out the educable, who would not
>even be able to ask questions.
>The only way to deal with Mr. Z is to ignore him. He will doubtless rant for
>a while, and call us ignorant and even liars, but surely he will go away after
>a while and tilt somebody else's windmill.
>Meanwhile, we can all pursue our scholarly pursuits at meeting such as the
>upcoming one in Anaheim.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

It should be the chief aim of a university professor to exhibit
himself in his own true character - that is, as an ignorant man [sic]
thinking, actively utilizing his small share of knowledge. Alfred
North Whitehead

There are many different religions in this world, but if you look at
them carefully, you'll see that they all have one thing in common:
They were invented by a giant, superintelligent slug named Dennis.
Homer Simpson

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15-C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1036
Phone: (517) 353-4736
Fax: (517) 353-3755
preston at msu.edu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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