nettime's long winded digestion on Tue, 17 Oct 2006 21:34:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Recent Gender Things on Nettyme digest [3x]

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   gender thing                                                                    
     Jonathan Marshall <>                                

   Re: <nettime> pope-on-a-rope digest [x5: butt, tal, pentecost, miller, baldwin (
     John Hopkins <>                                           

   Recent Events on Nettyme                                                        
     "Charles Baldwin" <>                                


Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 13:27:58 +1000
From: Jonathan Marshall <>
Subject: gender thing

Hello everyone. Given that I am indirectly responsible for the recent
squabble about gender on Nettime, I thought it might be useful to say
something about the recent events even though I am not on the List,
and I hope peole will excuse me.

I am currently editing a special issue of an ejournal which is
about gender on the mailing List Cybermind, and the experiences
of its members. I'm probably the main contributor. The idea was
to try and overcome the problem of writing about gender from
one person's perspective, and to have multiple presentations of
views, disagreements, discussion and so on. I aimed at enabling a
multi-voiced ethnography, hence the rather controlled focus; even
though it will spread elsewhere because of people's interests.
Submissions were to be either refereed or non-refereed. Alan, on my
request, decided to submit to the non-refereed section. The point of
this section was to encourage people, especially people outside the
academy or students, to give their reflections, accounts of their
experience, quick analyses and so on, without them having to risk
being heavily trodden on by academics. In other words I wanted to
attract into an academic environment, those people whose voices might
not otherwise be heard, and who, if we to listened carefully might
have something interesting to say. Especially, I wanted males to risk
talking about their experiences of gender online rather than to have
it analysed for them. As you might expect, other than myself, most of
the academic contributors are female.

Now perhaps it was a mistake for Alan to post an early draft of his
piece to Nettime, but nevertheless I am hoping that his experience has
not put too many people on Cybermind off contributing, and that it has
not lead to the silencing of too many voices, and the undoing of some
academic discussion of gender.

This is not to deny that some of the general points raised by people
on Nettime are not interesting or that I would not agree with them.
However most of the points do not seem to me, to have been made in a
way which would open up discussion. Some Nettimers also seem to have
felt the same way.

To some extent, as the 'debate' went on, some of the comments
seemed to move into 'unreal' territory. This kind of reinforcement
of identity, intensification of positions, and taking things in
strange ways is, as you all know, very common online and it is always
interesting, if painful to observe it, and especially to note that
'we' are not immune to it. I do it myself - hence the 'we' here.

Thus, as a mild example, someone describes Alan's reflections as
research findings, which is clearly not the case. For one it does
not have the coding, or the references. Someone else seems to claim
that Alan ignorantly insists on authorial intention and the lack of
indeterminacy in the text, while at the same time the critic proclaims
that (they as critic) know exactly what is text is really about.
Another person seems to have read Alan as relying on the Holocaust
as an excuse (for 'his' sexism?), when what he seemed to do was ask
whether his Jewishness precluded him from writing about anything else
than being a Jew. Someone else seems to have accused Alan, or people
like him, of having particular power and privilege - something which
to me, suggests a bizarre social theory at the least.

This whole debate seems to show how online, or maybe everywhere, we
react not to a particular text, but we react strongly to other texts
and positions we have met elsewhere - we already seem to know what
someone is saying, and don't actually put effort into reading, or
questioning each other, at all. Certainly we don't have to reflect
on how our words might be affect another or undo mutual presence and
reflection. Maybe that is taken as good by some people? Those people
who can't stand the heat, should leave, shut up etc... It's a standard
net-libertarian position, after all.

Anyway, in 'reality', as most of you possibly know, Alan is not only
leading a precarious existence trying to do his work, but cannot be
described as mainstream or representative of anything much other than
the difficulty of trying to make a living nowadays if you want to
think, or approach material, in truly different ways. The ongoing
result, of his work over the last 12 or so years is the 'internet
text' - some of which I think is quite brilliant, some of which I
disagree strongly with and some of which I quite frankly do not get
at all. But, this is beside the point, it is a brave and persistent
attempt to deal with many difficult problems in text, film and music,
produced at great cost to himself. Disagree with it by all means,
disagree with anyone who has almost no position - it does not sanctify
them - but perhaps we do need to have a sense of perspective and think
about the possible effects elsewhere in the world.

Maybe this is impossible. Perhaps to some, the study of, and sensing
of humans, is superseded by posthumanism, but at the moment they are
nearly all we have that's talking to us.

Online, especially with ambiguous offline reference, we write each
other into being, part of alan's point, so it may be that our
writing/reading needs more care than it does offline; if not, we let
others, or other symbols, we may not even be aware of write us and
keep us from listening.



Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 20:43:25 -0700
From: John Hopkins <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> pope-on-a-rope digest [x5: butt, tal, pentecost, miller, baldwin (sondheim by proxy)]

>That's all i have time for now but couldn't resist jumping in, since
>i have been trying to sort these things out for myself.
>oh and if you are allergic to the words patriarchy or white
>supremacy, pffff, it's a fact.
>thanks to the listening energy of nettime,

nice post, Claire, I'm listening.

I guess what bothers me most, but might just be the limited forum
in which this is being enacted in, is the leap to a praxis. While I
literally understand the rhetorics, I am having trouble imagining the
consequent actions which should follow. It seems like the problem is
framed in the point-counterpoint as absolute, unsolveable, and relying
on text-based discourse.

I'm thinking, while yes, there have been some changes in the last 40
years -- (I note that my undergraduate engineering department at a
hard core conservative school which was 8% female 25 years ago, is
now 65% female) -- Kali's framing of the near-complete lack of real
progress would suggest changes in strategic praxis is due. I mean, 40
years. That is (I think) technically more than a generation. While the
depravities and needs of human behavior surely have temporal roots
deeper than a single generation, I would suggest that real change
occurs in an individual lifetime and between two people who have
decided that change must occur. Another words, if I cannot initiate
some kind of personal evolution in my lifetime, I have a hard time
understanding WHY I should remain here in this incarnation. There
would be no point. Really, I'm not the kind of person who would throw
away my own lifetime in order to serve some (for example) grandly
framed nationalist mission/ideology.

What is to be done NOW? Reading and otherwise consuming second-hand
information takes (life)time away from some kind of action f-2-f...
(I'm still listening!)



Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 00:22:24 -0400
From: "Charles Baldwin" <>
Subject: Recent Events on Nettyme

I was asked to forward this by Alan Sondheim.

> Recent Events on Nettyme

 The Sun clouds o'er, the Golden Hour -
 All Men love a Golden Shower -
 The Female Pope sits in her Bower -
 But never fear - I won't eat Kali's Flower.

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