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A Lady Wrote the Best Letter in the Editorials in Ages!!! - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
A Lady Wrote the Best Letter in the Editorials in Ages!!!
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_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 15th, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

And see....

.... this is where you lose me:

Quite frankly, the Statue of Liberty has become an embarrassment.

The Statue of Liberty has what, again, to do with circumventing avenues that other people continue to take in order to obtain legal immigrant status? I know it *has* been a long time since I've been in a formal history class with a professor, so please advise.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 15th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

with a professor

Er, it occurs to me this might be taken as in someway relating to *you* (as a professor) but I meant it to differentiate from non-professor-taught history classes of the home school sort (the likes of which I am always putting myself through, in history and otherwise). The latter being, obviously, greatly lacking in 'question asking' opportunities.

Just so there is no confusion. :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 15th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

Yes, I suppose it could be taken that way. For my part, I took it as part of an ideological agenda to which you subscribe with cheery consistency, one which also manifests itself in your opposition to public schooling and your willingness to question the means by which knowledge and the opportunity to impart it on the taxpayer's dime -- or a fraction of the taxpayer's dime, since public-private hybrids are the order of the day from elementary schools to universities -- are legitimated. I seriously doubt whether you believe that "history classes of the home school sort" are lacking in anything, vis-a-vis the sort taught by professors, other than the imprimatur of the state and the NGOs to which its power is circuitiously delegated. When you ask for the perspective of a "professor," you are asking for a perspective that is, in your eyes, granted a preferential treatment which it may not merit in an absolute sense and which it certainly does not merit in a relative, economic sense. Since I'm not a history professor, however, and have no more claim to institutional legitimacy on historical matters than home-schoolers do, I didn't take your reference to "professor" personally. It was clear to me that you were imagining speaking with someone else.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 16th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

Oh, no, I didn't mean all that although I suppose I could have, although my agenda with respect to schooling is a bit more than idealogical. I meant my studies in history (which have been pretty gruelling these past two years since I have my babysitter's dual majors in History and Religion to track myself with and spur myself with, keeping some degree of pace with her) are self-directed as opposed to other[professor]-directed, so if the Statue of Liberty *did* have have some connection with illegal immigration I certainly might not know it because I jump about quite bit (there's quite a lot of history out there, once you get going!!).

While I suspected the answer was "nothing", I did not assume so and I meant the comment/question sincerely. :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 16th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

I should make it clear that I'm personally in favor of challenging the institutional legitimation of knowledge, so long as that challenging doesn't turn into the conviction that anything legitimated by institutions is not to be trusted.

I'm curious to hear what you've been reading in your historical studies. Given your interests, I can imagine that many of the recent texts used in college courses might seem uninspiring. Personally, I still enjoy the Big Picture classics from thirty, forty, fifty years ago, even if I do have to correct for some of their more egregiously biased and/or dated assumptions.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 16th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

Given your interests, I can imagine that many of the recent texts used in college courses might seem uninspiring.

Oh yes, I tend to get side tracked, as you can imagine. I don't follow her courses, per se, but I tend to use her progress in one or two classes as a standard, adjusted down for my time frames, (although it's usually in a "what?!?! you've covered 100 years in the last month?!?! Gah! I just spent two weeks reading about cloth dying practices in 1848!!" sort of way!) and pepper her with opinions. And whenever she has a paper due in whichever class of hers I'm using as a baseline, I set myself the same task though it might be on a completely different era and country entirely, etc.

I'm a currently reading a book you might have read: "The Gold Standard and the Logic of Naturalism" which I shot on to somewhat on accident off of "New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905", which I am also currently reading. I'm mostly focused this year (as in 2007 so far) on the US 1850-1920ish.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 16th, 2007 06:31 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

Walter Benn Michaels. That's an artfully put together work of literary criticism, a fine example of the so-called "New Historicism," which is identified with my alma mater and Kim's Department of English, where Michaels was teaching when he wrote it. Frederic Jameson has an interesting critique of the "slipperiness" of Michaels's argument in his Postmodernism; or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Jameson is a 60s-style Marxist, one from whom I learned a great deal, even though I'm far less willing to present myself as engagé.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 16th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

artfully put together ... "slipperiness" of

:) Oh yes, this is the feel I have. Quite a few leaps of theory, in my opinion, but a not unenjoyable read by any means. And makes a nice break from fact reading.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 15th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

I was referencing the ideal with which the Statue of Liberty has been associated, namely that the United States is a nation that opens its doors to immigration. But you knew that. Quite frankly, I think I lost you a little earlier.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 16th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

Quite frankly, I think I lost you a little earlier.

Insomuchas I am not a fan of flighty rhetoric, of course you have. ;)

Even when I am cheery (as I am today) that sort of thing prods my buttons. Because the answer to what does the statue of liberty have to do with someone's opinion of policies on illegal immigration? Absolutely nothing. Such conversational techniques always just strike me as slight of hand to hide ... actually I'm not sure even what they are hiding. Maybe that's what pushes my buttons. They seem like *diversions* from rational discussion.

But, they don't irritate me to the extreme that things like "how dare you stereotype my son by saying he has girlish hair when I went through all this trouble to dress him in boyish clothes" does, so I'll still keep cheerfully poking when things come up until you tell me to stop.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 16th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

Even if we bracket the fact that the United States was founded by the descendents of people who were guilty, to build on the letter writer's conceit, not only of breaking and entering, but of breaking, entering and also expelling the original inhabitants of the "house," I still think that the Statue of Liberty is relevant to the discussion of contemporary American opinions on illegal immigration. It has long stood for an openness to the "tired and poor" who leave their homelands in search of a better life, regardless of their origins. And it has also served to rally opposition to the anti-immigrant sentiment that has waxed and waned in the 120+ years since it first graced New York Harbor. Bearing this in mind, someone who believes in the political good of liberal immigration policy might well express dismay at the rhetoric deployed by individuals, such as the letter writer, who seem to have forgotten what made the United States the diverse nation that it is today. Obviously, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol, which can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. But it certainly has been interpreted historically and also in our present day context as a bulwark against the forces who would wall the United States in without fully grasping what they were walling out in the process.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: February 16th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

See, and what you've written above is where I think you make the letter-writer's point for them:

People seem to love to blur the line between being for the enforcement of policy and being "anti-immigration". Being for the enforcement of policy does not even mean being *for* the policy. Why is it so hard just to address that the illegality is the issue? Why throw all the "cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior" on top of it? The only answer I can see to that is that there *isn't* anything to say about the illegality issue and people always need to be saying something.

The question is not "liberal immigration policy" vs. "conservative immigration policy", the question is how do you enforce it. Even in your own most desired and imagined immigration policy, surely there would be the possibility of "illegal immigrant", no?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 16th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: And see....

No, I'm not making the letter writer's point for her. You are ready to critique my rhetoric but apparently unwilling to acknowledge that her point is immersed in a conceit that perpetuates a conflation of categories which, while long-standing and often not perceived as a conceit, conceals as much as it reveals. The speeches of Abraham Lincoln and lesser figures aside, the United States is not a house and its "legal" inhabitants do not constitute a family. My sole reason for invoking the Statue of Liberty, ironically, in the first place was that the letter writer wasn't simply asking questions about the enforcement of policy in a neutral fashion, but using her conceit -- ably, I might add -- to sway opinion in her favor. Surely you see that?
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