“Are we going to be talking about the rights of kids and teenagers in an objectified(*) manner, with the human aspect of them turned into a figure or an idea that we can manipulate, all without representation? Or, instead, are we going to talk in a manner that allows better, quicker, more concise communication, which includes those of whom we speak?”
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1991 15:11:00 EDT
Reply-To: “Y-Rights: Kid/Teen Rights Discussion Group”
Sender: “Y-Rights: Kid/Teen Rights Discussion Group”
From: “Y-Rights@SJUVM Listowner” <KUDUT@HAMP.HAMPSHIRE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Flame regarding flame
The “flame” that I sent out to the list was partially silly, but it was primarily serious. The ideas that I have been seeing presented on this list were often explained using unnecessary amounts of words. As it happens, I understood everything that was coming through here, and I am also quite capable of speaking in such a language, making references to my college-learned names and phrases and people. However, I also don’t think that it is always completely necessary.
Maybe it’s just a personal thing. I would like the things that I have to say to be understandable to a wide range of people. This means a bit of work on my part. An analogy can be made to being forced to cut down a large academic paper into a certain size, forcing one to be more critical about which points are necessary and which points are fluff. It also forces one to be more concise with the arguments that s/he is presenting.
Part of the reason I sent the original ‘flame’ was because the change I suddenly saw in the discussion. Arguments that would have been happy at one page were suddenly drawn out to three or four, with no apparent benefit. (if there was a benefit, please enlighten me ). People that had been posting at a level that the McMillian Junior High class here (sorry to have to be dragging you all into this) was surely having no trouble with were suddenly posting at a level that I wasn’t completely comfortable with (even though I did understand quite completely each of the references and the “75 cent words”).
In my mind, this all somehow relates into the main issue. Are we going to be talking about the rights of kids and teenagers in an objectified(*) manner, with the human aspect of them turned into a figure or an idea that we can manipulate, all without representation? Or, instead, are we going to talk in a manner that allows better, quicker, more concise communication, which includes those of whom we speak?
There is something else that disturbs me somewhat. After this discussion of “rights kids shouldn’t have while adults should have” started, about five people have left the list. Now, granted, that isn’t a large number of people in comparison to the size of the list, but that’s five people. I received letters from a couple of them. One of them said that this list wasn’t turning out as she had hoped it to turn out… basically stating that what she had seen so far is bickering, and not discussion. Another letter that I received was from a High School student that was receiving the list. This person basically said “What’s the use of me being on this list if I can’t participate in the discussion?”. These two in particular were rather new to the list, but what they said concerned me, nonetheless.
I’m not commanding you to change your vocubulary or anything of the sort. I’m just requesting, as a fellow member of the list, and not as a listowner, that we all try to think a little before we speak. Try and remember that not everyone on this list is in the field of academia. Not everyone on the list is a college student/graduate/administrator. Some are social workers, some are political activists, Junior High students, High School students, workers in child-care, parents, public school teachers, and the list goes on. Just try to ask yourself whether your audience is the entire list, or just the select bunch that happened to have shared a similar academic background as yourself.