Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Rules and spookiness 

A small but rather telling thing happened on our campus: We have two email lists for faculty, an "announce" list for all of the normal campus announcements, and a "discuss" list for our discussions, opinions, and so on. Most of the faculty are on this first list, and fewer than half on the other -- most folks here don't want to be bothered with the kind of discussion our faculty carries on.
The people who run the lists have been persistently clear about the different proper
uses of the two lists, and most of the time faculty writers play by the rules.
But a woman from the Women's Center found a Bush-bashing article she was so excited about that she decided we all needed to read it and so she sent it, which is proper material for the discussion list, to the other larger list.
It's a small act, but symptomatic. She had to presume that her article contained such important opinion on what a scoundrel Bush is that the rules didn't really apply in this case. And modern liberals do that a lot. They simply have to believe that the things they believe in are significant enough to override other, larger principles. The rules simply aren't the same when one has to alert a whole faculty to Bush's scoundrelness, for instance.
And I think people who find themselves above others' rules are spooky.