ichael . benson on Sun, 20 Jun 1999 01:58:02 +0000

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Re: Syndicate: moral responsibility

Date:          Sat, 19 Jun 1999 23:03:12

> your constant unfounded sarcasms betray your lust for confirmation of what
> you already hold to be the truth.

Lust? Now there's an idea. It is Saturday night, after all -- what 
the hell am I doing here?

Certainly not feeling anything close to lust.

But seriously, the given idea, as I understand it, of a mailing list 
such as this one is that it encourages an exchange of views -- 
contrary views, comparable views, divergent ones, etc. While I 
understand why, obviously, these discussions, or I should maybe say, 
*this* discussion, might give rise to some heat, given the 
circumstances, personally I think it serves some kind of purpose. I 
certainly don't *mean* to be overly sarcastic (though I make no 
apologies), and I don't mean -- I really don't mean -- to offend 

In fact, I would apologize if I have offended anyone. Neither myself, 
nor as far as I understand it Fred, has been living in a war zone. 
But I don't apologize for writing my "take." 

I would go further about these kinds of dicussions and say 
they are valuable because they are exactly the antithesis of war, or 
rather one of the few realistic antitheses of war. In the sense that, 
a high volume of high-level discussion and comparison of views, 
including disagreements that are dealt with by talking (not 
blasting guns, correctly loaded or not, at each other), may in fact 
be the only *non-utopian* (i.e., realistic) thing pointing to the 
possibility of a 21st Century better than this one. In the face of a 
lot of -- really, a lot; too many -- indicators to the contrary. 
Including, I'm afraid, some of what I detect (rightly? 
wrongly?) in Fred's implicit answer. The entirety of which I still 
haven't been able to really get out of him.

And he would no doubt say the same about me, and use me as 
evidence that more conflict may lie ahead, what with my 
regressive attitudes, etc. The difference is he says he 
completely understands and knows my view.

Still, again maybe that's the silver lining in the war cloud. Maybe 
the fact that this war, the first in human history conducted while 
various opinions and points and contrary ideas, and shouts of outrage 
and put-downs and all the rest -- and for example "insomnia" 
disappearing, & Bruce Sterling firing opinions from Texas, where 
among other things he scribbles about high-tech war -- maybe the fact 
that this war was hiding such a high-volume of communication inside 
the black smoke points to the way out, or rather *a* possible way 
out, of the cycle of tragedy. 

But on second thought, I don't really believe it. I'm curious what 
people might think, though. Why are there so few Bosniaks on 
syndicate and nettime? Is it because they don't really have any 
enthusiasm left to communicate with a Europe, or a world, that let 
them down? Or am I wrong -- are there a lot on Syndicate? As for the 
Kosovar Albanians, their POV has been entirely absent, this entire 
time, on these lists -- simply because they were on the run. And even 
if the Kosovars had been more of an on-line presence, had been 
completely wired, in the years before this fight broke out into the 
open, I wonder if there would have been a dialogue between them and 
Belgrade. I doubt it.

Still, maybe there's something to the above idea anyway. Curious if 
anyone agrees... (bowing obsequeously, cringing in fact, like in that 
old Goya etching called "Two Gentlemen, Each Convinced the Other is 
of Higher Rank"... Crab-walking sideways to the exit... The black 
moon flashing darkly above).



Michael Benson  <michael.benson@pristop.si>
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