me and my big mouth

So given that I seem to have pissed off some people on C18-L, now what do I do? I was not as polite as I could have been in pointing out the well-established ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING convention. However, the response to what I said is way out of proportion. I will wait before I respond at all. As the comments to my previous entry indicate, graduate students and younger scholars are put off by the kind of animosity often displayed on listservs. I know I was when I was a grad student.

I think I will apologize for the nature of my original post but clarify that the all caps convention applies to Internet communication (and has for a long time), not to all forms of writing. One of the C18-L correspondents seems to be confused about the convention, citing eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope’s use of all caps as a defense. I am also toying with the idea of joking like this: “To avoid confusion, all future ad hominem attacks upon me will please use the phrase ‘ethical onanist.’ This is what is printed on my business cards, and my chair says the department can’t pay to have new cards printed up with the perversely brilliant phrase ‘moral masturbator’ on them.”

I’m open to suggestions. Please advise.

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15 thoughts on “me and my big mouth

  1. Probably best to drop it, but the idea of a business card with “Moral Masturbator” on it would be so cool. Maybe you could just use that as part of your signature on emails and see if anyone notices. :-)

  2. What about a t-shirt?
    I was so relieved to read the reasonable comments to this and your previous entry, George. Reading C18-L for the last two days, I thought the world had gone mad. Though it must be said, that list is usually most civil. Please, no-one drop out of their program on the basis of this one thread.
    I think you are suffering a bit of a backlash. Listers orginally seemed to react badly tooh, let’s not use names, let’s call him “M. I-bend-over-pour-le-Marquis”and then, in an effort to restore equilibrium or be “objective,” spread some of the blame. Democratic, I suppose, but irritating nonetheless.

  3. I like the idea of apologizing and clarifying, once, in the most diplomatic way you can muster, perhaps with a safe joke thrown in – and then letting it drop.

  4. I woud agree with “let it drop”. However, this is exactly the sort of thing that I personally could not drop, until the obviously very, very wrong person acknowledged their very, very wrong-ness. This is one reason I do not subscribe to lists anymore…poor impulse control.
    Seriously, it’s not like the whole “all caps is shouting” thing is new. Almost 20 years old, isn’t it? Argh.
    I do like the “Moral Masturbator” t-shirt idea….cafepress anyone? :)

  5. George,
    You could give an aCaPpeLla rendering of an ApoLogY.
    I’m with Matt K. on the let the episode quietly die advice. Although it might be funto add to your signature block M*M* Maximus as a mark of the difference of opinion on the plaqce of case.

  6. “M. I-bend-over-pour-le-Marquis”
    I nearly had an aneurysm laughing at that. It’s so wickedly perfect. Thank you, Miriam.
    Definitely a Moral Masturbator t-shirt. And I was somewhat bemused and bewildered to discover that any of the posters thought there was anything less than polite or reasonable about your original post – or that it was some kind of outrageous censorship. So perhaps you could set up a nice side-income selling the M-M t-shirts to people like me.

  7. Yeah, given time to think about it, I suppose I should just let it drop on C18-L.
    However: Voila!
    I sincerely appreciate everyone’s feedback and advice.

  8. I’m intrigued. I accessed the cafepress.com site using Lynx and what I observed maybe a factor of the type of browser. The catch phrase that was affixed to George appears all in lower case… shouldn’t it be screaming?

  9. I didn’t add any markup on top of the cost to Cafepress.com, so I’m not making money off the sale of these items. But maybe I should add a little bit and then donate the money to charity, which is what I think Randy has done with his Cafepress stuff.

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