Monday, August 18, 2008

In the Medieval Muddle

Some of you are aware that a new blog on theory, generally attacking In The Medieval Middle, has arisen: In the Medieval Muddle. That blog has now been shut down, as following the link will show.

HERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE INTERESTED AND ABLE TO DO THEORY!..There is obviously interest in discussing theory by some people in the blogosphere: there is room for more than just the folks at ITM. This is a chance to do some theory without the ad hominem poison of the middling Muddle blog.

I've been thinking of an email list devoted to theory if there is interest. Let me know if you're interested.


Matthew Gabriele said...

Weird. Restraining order? That's not good...

Eileen Joy said...

There is NO restraining order. For once, would someone please believe me when I say that those running In The Medieval Muddle not only do not play fair, but are also sometimes not even telling the truth. Let's ask ourselves this question: is there such a thing as a restraining order against a weblog? Um, no. There is this little thing called free speech. As much as I abhorred the tactics of In the Medieval Muddle, it has a right to exist, and I've seen worse in the blogosphere as far as libel and slander go, both of which have to be proven through litigation before anything like a blog would have to be shut down, voluntarily or not. Next: what are the necessary requirements for a restraining order against a *person*? To whit:

"A temporary restraining order document includes a number of boxes that must be ticked by the court regarding the behavior that is to be prohibited. This may include behaviors such as harassing, striking, threatening, stalking, and attacking. Behavior such as telephoning a person, destroying personal property, sexual assault, and contacting a person through a third party may also be included."

If there is a restraining order against one of the persons running In the Medieval Muddle [I personally am not aware of one, but . . . . I don't know profess to know everything that is going on here], then the above actions have to have occurred. What I do know is that the person or persons running this weblog will stop at pretty much nothing to make Jeffrey Cohen look like a vile person, and I for one will not stand by and watch this happen as if it is none of my business. At the very least, I would ask everyone to please use their common sense and realize that , as far as In the Medieval Muddle is concerned, we are in territory where reality is not always what it seems and someone has a personal vendetta against Jeffrey Cohen that is out of all proportion to reality. Now, if there are those who disagree with anything we say and/or argue on In The Middle, by all means tell us, or start a weblog to critique us--it's fine by me!--but let's try to get beyond this shit-hole we've all been thrown into over the last several weeks. I want my life back.

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

I just want to remind everyone that the fantasies and fixations of one person who starts a blog don't necessarily offer a useful entryway into a discussion of the field at large.

As to a restraining order on a blog ... I simply trust that those who read the announcement quoted above are smart enough to realize that only rainbow striped unicorns can issue such legally nonexistant documents, and that this one was in fact issued by a monochromatic unicorn. It is therefore null and void; the Constitution remains in effect.

John said...

It wasn't a restraining order but a "request" for "prior restraint." Sorry to pick at the details. But no matter. As I said elsewhere the irony was that this loser who wrote for the Muddle knows nothing about theory and is just another Allen. It's funny how the folks who know nothing about theory always think they can do it or criticize it. Anyone else notice that?

theswain said...

Jeffrey: Very good point, and one I tried to address in the next post. Not sure I succeeded, so perhaps I'll try again.

John: You raise a couple of good points, and a couple not so good ones.

Regarding those who don't theory who think they can: yes, this happens quite often, and the result is a bad theory paper. I'd say that this practice stems largely from the misconception that "theory" is easy. At the same time though, this misconception and the resulting practice are not unique to the field of literary critical theory: its really just a form of arm chair quarterback, or the arm chair general, etc., just taking place in a more academic environment.

Re: the maledictorian over at the middling Muddle, I've been assured that he's actually quite good at theory. I have his books on my list of things to look into. But I think there are some key differences between the Muddlers and Allen. Allen ridiculed what she didn't understand for an audience with potential power to affect higher education at least in the USA. The Muddle ridiculed someone they do understand and disagree with, though the blog in its short life did not take advantage of its space to really tell us why, wasting its time in useless ad hominem attacks. Very clear differences there I think.

Anonymous said...

I did read the phrase 'close to government' and thought, "wow, grandstand much? The blog has clearly been Taken to Area 51 Because It Knew Too Much!" I don't think this particular blogger even falls into my "imagine if he used his powers for good!" category.