Danny Butt on Thu, 12 Oct 2006 07:29:53 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> WayneFUD

On 12/10/2006, at 3:23 AM, Wayne Myers wrote:
> Suppose Kali Tal were just Sondheim playing.


There is a nettime history of "Alan Sondheim" and "Kali Tal" outside  
of this particular discussion;  there is an Internet outside of  
nettime where those names have a history, and a world outside of  
that. Reviewing what I know of those, I would have to say that  
"Alan's" sustained engagement with race and gender theory through  
books and journal articles under the name "Kali Tal", while throwing  
people off the scent by not engaging with these at all under the name  
"Alan Sondheim", would be one of the great literary hoaxes of all time.

In fact, given the range of material covered under each nom de plume  
and what they suggest about each author's capacity to think flexibly,  
I'd have to say it's technically more possible that "Alan Sondheim"  
would be just "Kali Tal" playing. But you have picked the more likely  
option: I think of "Kali Tal" as an author who seems to have an  
audience and a lot of things to do, and doesn't need to invent sexism  
on nettime to have something to write about. On the other hand, based  
on his responses on here, I see "Alan Sondheim" as having the level  
of emotional maturity of "Alan Sokal" (hmmm........ disarmingly  
similar) so it wouldn't surprise me as much if he wanted to make a  
similar joke at the expense of the  "feminists" and "politically  
correct" who cause him so much grief. Easier than engaging the issues.

Of course, those of us that know neither in real life must take their  
assertions of their offline identity as merely part of their  
character in this drama. (If you're uncomfortable with that, I hope  
you haven't been doing any cybering with anyone called Jennifer.) In  
my engagement with this argument between the author-functions Alan  
and Kali, I am addressing the politics of their writings and self- 
presentation as I read them. Because the impact of their writings  
doesn't depend on their "real identities", and even if they did  
reveal themselves to be someone different than they told us, how  
would we believe that? It would just become part of the performance.  
As in real life, we just take a gut-level reading based on our  
experience, and see what each character offers us in working out our  
own politics, and who we want to connect with in our work.


On 12/10/2006, at 3:23 AM, Wayne Myers wrote:

> Suppose Kali Tal were just Sondheim playing.
> One could see how it might be fun to pose as such a character on
> nettime, and not all that hard to do.
> How would that change your reactions to the whole spat?
> To her arguments? To Sondheim's?


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