"Reading maketh a full man; writing, an exact man." --Francis Bacon
Vol. 8, No. 6 MARCH 1997
1. Whitney on South America
2. Wolbarsht on the Metric System
3. Editorial on Idiology
4. Staddon, Letter on Style
5. Virtues Rewarded, Nudity
7. A Menagerie à Trois: Ferret . . . Possum . . . Parrot
8. Ferret's Crackpots on Parade: Martin Luther
9. Possum (Passim)
10. Parrot (Hawthorne) & Classic Erotica (Joyce Carol Oates)
11. Editorial Board & Policy
Note: Academic Council Minutes for Meeting of February 20, 1997 have been transferred to the following Web File, which contains the minutes for every Council meeting since 1992: http://www.duke.edu/web/acouncil/
by Peter Whitney
[Editor's Note: Peter Whitney is Diplomat in Residence at Duke. During 29 years in the U.S. Foreign Service he has served as Director, Office of Economic Policy for Latin America and the Caribbean; Economic Counselor in Chile and Argentina; Deputy Chief of Mission in Jamaica; and Principal Officer/Consul in Bahia, Brazil. Other postings included Tokyo, Brasilia, Lisbon, and Textile Negotiations in Washington. A graduate of Princeton, Vanderbilt, Harvard, and the National War College, he has taught economics at Sophia University in Tokyo, Duke, and UNC-Chapel Hill.]
Three decades ago a Brazilian intellectual, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, published the highly influential though not very readable Dependency and Development in Latin America. He and co-author, Enzo Faletto wrote (1969, p. 145):
dependence under monopolistic capitalism acquires features that distinguish it from previous situations of underdevelopment. . . . both capital flow and economic decisions are controlled from abroad. Even when production and marketing are carried out within the dependent economy, earnings go to swell capital funds available to the central economies.
In a "Post Scriptum" to the "expanded and emended" edition of their book, that came out in English in 1979, they concluded with a vision of "a mass industrial society" that could transform:
the demand for a more developed economy and for a democratic society into a state that expresses the vitality of truly popular forces, capable of seeking socialist forms for social organization of the future (Cardoso and Faletto, 1979, p. 216).
Today, as President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso is leading the effort to stabilize, to open and to privatize the Brazilian economy and is welcoming foreign investment.
An equal or more dramatic transformation is taking place in various countries in Latin America as free market reforms are helping to build economic democracy and to strengthen political democracy. Gradually, the literature on Latin America is beginning to catch up to these remarkable changes in Latin American economic policy. Two significant additions are Crisis and Reform in Latin America, from Despair to Hope (Oxford University Press, 1995) by Sebastian Edwards, and Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano (Plaza & Janes Editores, S.A., Barcelona, 1996) by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner and Alvaro Vargas Llosa. Edwards briefly reviews the heterodox policies which stymied the economic development of Latin America for decades, and he focuses on the "new Latin American consensus" he sees taking place. This includes macroeconomic adjustment, opening of the economies, privatization and deregulation, capital market reform to improve savings and investment and measures to address the crucial problems of poverty, unequal income distribution and human development. He concludes with an examination of the Mexican Crisis of late 1994 and the prospects for reform in the future. Mendoza, Montaner and Vargas Llosa recount the ideological literature and history which inspired the state-directed import substitution and socialist policies that were in vogue in the region for decades. Pointedly calling this body of literature the "Manual of the Perfect Latin American Idiot," they note how the various authors who have contributed to this destructive model have resisted the dramatic changes which they, and Edwards, describe. In their anthology of quotes from "Perfect Latin American Idiots" (PILs) they include, with humility, citations from their own earlier writings, before their views changed.
The challenge to the old way of thinking.
Every five years Ed Tower, Professor of Economics at Duke, compiles an extensive bibliography of economic literature. He has noted the relative paucity of material on Latin America. One reason may reside in the resistance of a number of Latin American scholars to the promising free-market approaches in the region. Some may see these changes as a threat to their strongly held socialist beliefs. An example is the following introductory passage from an article by Florencia Mallon entitled "The Promise and Dilemma of Subaltern Studies: Perspectives from Latin American History" in the American Historical Review (Dec., 1994, Vol. 99, No. 5). She begins:
This is not an easy time for scholars who work on Latin America. Over the past five years or so, many of our most important and inspirational historical narratives have come undone. The Cuban Revolution is dying a slow death after the collapse of the Soviet Union, dragged down by the morass of global capitalism, the internal erosion of social gains, and a leadership grown old in the holding of centralized power. The Sandinistas lost control of the state in 1990 and face the future internally divided, needing to make broad coalitions if they are to regain a place in the executive branch. (Where is their stunning political majority of 1979-1981?) In Chile, the post-Pinochet Christian Democrats have hailed the dictatorships's radical privatization and free market reforms as "modernization," tarnishing the memory of Chilean aspirations for social justice under Salvador Allende and the Chilean statist model of economic development that emerged from the first "popular unity" government of the late 1930s. In Peru, Sendero Luminoso has confused and confounded those of us accustomed to supporting people's struggles, first by killing an astounding number of the people they were supposedly struggling for, then because their "maximum leader" reached an agreement with an authoritarian, free market-oriented president after only a few weeks in captivity.
One could go and on. But the main question, simply put, is: what is a progressive scholar to do? If we continue to commit to emancipatory, bottom-up analysis and yet can no longer simply ride one of our various Marxist or Marxian horses into the sunset, what are the alternatives? Are there other horses to ride, or must we eschew the enterprise entirely?
Learning some lessons in Peru, where the "Manual of the Perfect Idiot" was closely followed.
My association with Latin America began in 1962, with a summer job in "El Pacifico," a Peruvian insurance company. The economic problems of Peru were striking, but I returned to college optimistic about the country's prospects for economic growth because of Peru's growing diversity of exports, the investment taking place, and the apparent effort to improve seriously low levels of education and health.
Was I ever wrong!
I did not foresee at that time how influential the literature described by Mendoza, Montaner and Vargas Llosa would become. I did not anticipate the coming of presidents like Velasco and Garcia and the development of massively wasteful state industries protected from domestic and international competition, the failure to preserve competitive industries, and the disastrous economic policies which led to hyperinflation, general bankruptcy of the economy and huge increases in poverty in a country that was already poor relative to its neighbors in a poor region.
Garcia was popular with the "Perfect Latin American Idiots"(PILs) described by Mendoza, Montaner and Vargas Llosa. The PILs loved Garcia's soaring rhetoric about what he hoped to achieve with national planning but had little to say about what actually happened during Garcia's period in office. Beginning in 1985, Garcia imposed a price freeze, pegged the exchange rate, reduced payments on the foreign debt, greatly expanded government spending and returned to the policies of earlier President Velasco to create a more dominant public sector with the ultimate goal of creating a "socialist-oriented" society. By 1988, with the effects of inflation and increasing evasion, tax collection had fallen to 7.5 percent of GDP from an already low average of 12 percent during the period 1975-86, and by the time he left office in 1989, his legacy was hyperinflation (thousands of percent a year), a reduction in real income, and a dramatic fall in real wages. Poverty and income distribution, though always hard to measure, had worsened significantly by all estimates.
The influence of Prebisch, ECLA, dependicistas and Marxists.
Where did Garcia and his supporters get their ideas? Peru's economic underdevelopment, great poverty, and severely unequal distribution made the socialist arguments for redistribution appealing. In addition, Garcia and advisors drew inspiration from: (1) the ideas of import substitution and state-led development propagated by Raul Prebisch and his disciples at ECLA since the 1950s (ECLA--U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America, home office in Chile, branch offices in various other countries; name became ECLAC when the Caribbean joined); (2) dependency theory from Fernando Henrique Cardoso and others; and (3) Marxism from the ubiquitous Marxists in universities throughout the region, as well as from North American universities. Beginning in the 1960s, these ideas were not seriously challenged in most Latin American intellectual circles.
An alternative to import substitution and state interventionism: the Chilean model.
It was not until events led to an experiment with modern free market policies in Chile that there began to be an undisputable alternative in Latin America to the ideology of the "Manual." As Chile Desk Officer at the State Department from 1979-81 and Economic Counselor in our embassy in Santiago from 1981-84, I was able to witness many of the changes. By 1973, hyperinflation and the general chaos of the self-proclaimed Marxist regime in Chile under Allende had led to widespread popular opposition and unrest. Despite Chile's generally strong tradition of military subordination to civilian authority, repeated appeals for military intervention culminated in a coup. After a year and a half of government by the military junta, which included desultory economic reform, many human rights abuses and well-organized opposition to the regime from abroad, Chile had become an international pariah. Desperate to get the economy going, in 1975 the military risked turning over economic policy making to a group of free-market economists called the "Chicago boys." They enunciated four policy fundamentals and stuck to them--allowing free determination of prices, opening the economy, creating respect and guarantees for private property, and having the state play a subsidiary role. While operating under the aegis of a military regime, they were ideologically committed to both economic and political democracy.
The success of their policies and the desire of Chileans to end military rule and return to democracy led to a plebiscite on a timetable for a peaceful return to democracy. By 1989 when elections were held there was general support for free-market policies and little likelihood of returning to policies of the "Manual."
Brief review of the results of economic reform in Chile.
Except for the recession of 1982-1984, Chile has had the highest growth in Latin America. It has the most dynamic export sector in the region; for example, in the period 1975-1993, the number of exporters grew from roughly 500 to 5,500; the number of products exported increased from about 500 to approximately 3,500; and the number of countries to which Chile exported went from 50 to more than 130. There has been an important decline in the dependence on copper, which accounted for roughly 70 percent of exports in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s and has recently been responsible for about a third of exports. Since 1986 inflation has averaged around six percent, the lowest in Latin America. Foreign direct investment as a percent of GDP has been the highest in the region, and Chile became the first country in the area to receive an investment grade rating from Standard and Poor's. By 1995, total savings as a percent of GDP had reached 25 percent of GDP, also a high in the region, and an amount which helped Chile avoid the "tequila effect" which afflicted various countries after the Mexican financial crisis of December 1994. Poverty, though still serious, has been reduced, income distribution improved, the foreign debt burden significantly diminished and economic and political democracy strengthened. The task of development is not complete, though. There is much to be done in further reducing poverty, protecting a fragile environment, improving government services and administration and insuring modern protection for intellectual property rights. However, the country's success, especially since the policies have been continued under a democracy, are serving as a model for other countries in the region.
The Chilean experience followed elsewhere.
In countries as different in economic and social conditions as Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, El Salvador and Jamaica, efforts are underway to improve fiscal management, open the economy, privatize, and end price controls or terminate marketing boards which dictate prices. The influence of the free-market policies and of NAFTA can also be seen in efforts underway in various regional country groupings--the Southern Common Market, the Central American Common Market, the Andean group and in Caricom--to allow freer flows of trade and investment between members and in the Latin American Summit declaration of December 1994, to negotiate hemisphere trade liberalization by 2005.
Crisis and Reform in Latin America, From Despair to Hope.
An outstanding overview of the origins of change, the debt crisis, examples from Chile, other countries in the hemisphere and Asia, and a clear analysis of macroeconomic adjustment, opening of economies, privatization, deregulation, capital market reform and more effective social and welfare policies can be found in Sebastian Edwards' Crisis and Reform in Latin America, From Despair to Hope. Until April 1996, Edwards was the World Bank's chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean. He is presently Professor of Economics at UCLA.
As an illustration, in the chapter "The Opening of Latin America" Edwards records how the influence of import substitution and dependency theory in Latin America led many countries, especially in the decades following WWII, to adopt policies aimed at limiting trade and investment flows. Edwards reviews the consequences of protectionism, explores the recent reform efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean to reduce non-tariff barriers, to lower tariffs and the range of tariff levels, and to develop a more credible and stable exchange rate policy, and then illustrates the growth in productivity and exports that has followed these reforms.
El Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano's three authors bring a variety of experience to their analysis. Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza is a Colombian journalist who has courageously denounced narcotraffickers despite cartel threats to his life. Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born essayist, journalist and novelist who first inveighed against Batista and later against Castro. Alvaro Vargas Llosa, son of Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and graduate of the London School of Economics, is currently a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper ABC in London. He has three lawsuits pending against him in Peru along with President Fujimori's condemnation of him as a "traitor to the country" for condemning the stupidity of the frontier war that erupted two years ago between Peru and Ecuador.
The three authors begin by describing how the "Perfect Latin American idiot" (PIL) absorbs the Marxist Vulgate at the university along with notions of nationalism inspired by discussion of the exploits of various caudillos from Bolivar to Allende. The problem is not experimenting with these ideas in youth. "Almost all of us Latin Americans have had a case of Marxism just like having the measles." The problem is "not having been an idiot, but continuing to be one."
Castro as hero.
While the PIL admires leaders such as Alan Garcia and conveniently ignores the catastrophe of his presidency, his foremost hero is Castro. They cite beliefs of the PIL on Cuba such as the allegation that under Batista Cuba was a gambling den and brothel for foreigners, that despite the "inconveniences" of life under the Castro regime, the revolution has given the Cubans a special feeling of dignity, and that if there is hunger in Cuba it is because of U.S. pressures and the "blockade," and then present another perspective.
Regarding the gambling and brothel allegations: in 1959, Cuba had 12 casinos, some mob figures, and prostitution. However, most of the American tourism was family oriented, the peso was equivalent to the dollar (so there wasn't the desperate desire to earn dollars that there is today), and there were extremely low rates of venereal disease. Today, by contrast, Cuba is a Western hemisphere equivalent of Thailand. Large numbers of women, many of them very young, are engaged in prostitution. AIDS and other venereal diseases are rampant.
Regarding the alleged effect of the U.S. "embargo" on Cuba, they note it is not an embargo but rather a prohibition of U.S. companies from engaging in commerce with Cuba and of American citizens from traveling to the island (a restriction weakened in recent years) in response to Cuba's seizing of properties owned by Americans without compensation. Despite the "embargo," it is interesting that in the diplotiendas, stores where only dollars are allowed as currency, there is no shortage of U.S. products of all types, and in world markets Cuban products including sugar, nickel, shrimp and others can easily be found. The problem is that Cuba produces very little and very inefficiently. To the inefficiency of producing goods and services inherent in a Communist system, one must add the huge subsidies from the Soviet Union which abetted the inefficiencies as they tended to disguise them. The Academy of Russian Science calculates Cuba received subsides valued at $100 billion from 1959 until the recent cessation of Russian assistance, an amount four times as large in nominal terms as the Marshall Plan for all of Europe.
Why Latin America is less developed than North America, and the "Bible" of the Perfect Idiot.
In addition to the PIL's views on Cuba the three authors review the shibboleths of the PIL taken from such books as Castro's History Will Absolve Me, Regis Debray's Revolution within the Revolution, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Enzo Faletto's Dependency and Development in Latin America, and Marta Harnecker's The Elementary Concepts of Historical Materialism. In the view of the three authors, the book with the most complete set of "nonsense" arguments of the PIL, issued in its 67th edition (!) in 1994, and worthy of the distinction of "bible" of the PIL is The Open Veins of Latin America written by Eduardo Galeano of Uruguay in 1970.
Galeano's book attempts to answer the PIL's search for an explanation of why Latin America is less economically developed than the U.S. or Western Europe. In my thirty years of involvement with Latin America I have participated in many discussions and listened to numerous presentations on this highly emotional subject. As a Fulbright Student in 1965 at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Belo Horizonte, the question was posed in class and in exams along the following lines. Brazil was founded and colonized more than 100 years before the U.S. Substantial investments were made in Brazil in intensive agriculture for export. The U.S. was first settled largely by a motley group of religious dissidents whose initial survival depended on yeoman farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture. Why then is the per capita income of the U.S. so many times larger than Brazil's?
In addition to endless discussions, we read Viana Moog's
provocative Bandeirantes e Pioneiros, which is devoted to
this topic. Viana Moog came up with some fanciful reasons for the difference
in economic development including the curious thought that U.S. rivers
are somehow more "patriotic" than Brazilian ones, by which he
meant that they made the interior regions more easily accessible. That
puzzled me since although the Hudson, the Mississippi and the Great Lakes
do provide good transportation, going west from the 13 original colonies
often meant crossing mountains. Also, having traveled for long distances
by boat on the Amazon and by paddle wheel steamer on the San Francisco
River (in 1975, on a boat built in Pittsburgh in 1866), it occurs to me
that Brazil is not without "patriotic" rivers.
For Vianna Moog the argument with the greatest resonance was the different emphasis placed on education. He relates that after only a few years the Massachusetts Bay Colony made primary school education mandatory and in 1636 Harvard College was founded. While Harvard was, at most, a modest grouping to study the Bible, its founding so early in the life of the colony represented a special concern for education. When John Wesley broke off from Massachusetts and established a community in what is now Connecticut, a similar concern for education was manifest. As the U.S. expanded westward the Northwest Ordinance provided for land grant colleges every so many square miles. In contrast, Viana Moog notes that universal primary education, enforced and not just on the books, was not implemented in Brazil until 1965 under Governor Carlos Lacerda in the then city-state of Rio de Janeiro.
The PILs' views on reasons for the disparity in development between North America and Latin America are strikingly different. The three authors of the Manual build the credibility of their arguments by quoting the literature of the PIL so the reader can judge them and the arguments of the three authors. Since Galeano's book is said to be the "bible" of the PIL, some quotes from Galeano which appear in the Manual are worth considering (pp. 44, 45, 47, 52).
Latin America is the region of open veins. From the time of discovery until our days everything has been transmuted in European capital, or later in North American capital, and as such it has accumulated and is accumulating in the far centers of power. . . . The international division of labor consists in a few countries specializing in winning and the others in losing. . . . The region (Latin America) continues working as a servant. It continues existing in the service of foreign needs as a source and reserve of petroleum, iron, copper, meat, fruits, and coffee in the raw materials and foodstuffs destined for the rich countries who gain much more by consuming them than Latin America gains producing them. . . . The methods of production and structure of classes in each place have been successively determined from abroad, by its incorporation in the universal gears of capitalism.
The three authors (as well as Edwards in his text) lay out the strong counter arguments, including recent trends towards political and economic democracy and growth. They conclude that while the gringos, the MNCs and economic liberalism are the enemies for the PIL, Galeano and many of his fellow PILs are even more intensely opposed to truth, common sense and freedom.
Why is Latin America Poor?: an alternative and hopeful view for change.
In a thoughtful essay "Why Latin America is Poor" (The Atlantic Monthly, March, 1982), Michael Novak quoted arguments for dependency theory from the Statement of the Conference of Latin American Bishops at Medellin in 1968, which is similar to statements made in Galeano's book. Novak commented on how odd it is to blame the region's poverty on North America given that: (1) Latin America started out apparently with greater natural resources; (2) the differences in growth between North and Latin America came when there was relatively little trade and investment between the two areas; (3) the rates of return on invested U.S. capital in Latin America since 1950 (the period discussed by the Medellin bishops) were low in comparison to that obtained elsewhere; and (4) the amount invested by North American companies in the region in the 1950s, 60s and 70s was insignificant by any measure. Novak argued persuasively that the two areas are themselves responsible for their different levels of economic development. In North America the vast majority of persons became owners of homes or lands; this did not happen in Latin America. In North America the moral-cultural system placed greater emphasis on building and working for tomorrow. The moral-cultural system in Latin America placed a greater relative emphasis on personal rather than on civil or economic values. Each set of emphases was a choice and brought its own rewards and costs; and emphases can be changed.
The three authors of the Manual echo Novak's comments on these differences as contributing factors to a mind set which may have impeded economic growth. What is hopeful about the Manual and Crisis and Reform is that this thinking is changing. The huge sales of the Manual may encourage Latin Americans to reevaluate the bibliography of the PIL and to come to a better understanding of the importance of a freer marketplace for products, services and ideas.
In my view, the spread of free market oriented policies have led to a remarkable growth of economic democracy which, in turn, is supporting and strengthening the growth of political democracy. There are major tasks left to be done in the economic, as well as the political, sphere, including reducing poverty, improving political institutions, making the legal system responsive and honest, and establishing modern intellectual property rights. However, as a result of the shift in economic policy-making, the prospects are more promising than ever before for improving living standards, political freedoms, and legal protections in Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, the prospects are excellent for continuing to develop a stronger relationship between all the nations of the hemisphere, one that is more of a partnership and less of a conflictive, rich-versus-poor, uneasy alliance.
Should the U.S. Adopt the Metric System for Everyday Use?
by Myron Wolbarsht (Psychology/Biomedical Engineering)
The wish by a certain portion of the U.S. Government (NIST, the former National Bureau of Standards) that the rest of the USA would adopt the Metric System of measurements in 1997 is presented in a fashion to make the choice seem very attractive. However, a careful examination shows that the supposed advantages of the Metric System are either superficial or more often misleading.
I work with the Metric system every day and can understand its attraction for those advocating its wider use in the USA. The advantage of the Metric System most often cited is the decimalized statement of magnitude. This a big lure, but, before we throw out the inches, feet, and pounds that we have, we should think carefully about what we would get in their place.
The Metric System (the current version is the Systeme Internationale, usually abbreviated SI) is fundamentally illogical, very confused, and subject to frequent changes, and has been so from its beginning. The rationale for this statement is rather long and only the salient points can be mentioned. The Metric System had a big problem at its start in that a liter of water (1 kg) was not equivalent to the volume of 10 cm cubed. This is due to the dissolved air. In the SI, the liter has been changed in the past few years to be exactly equal to the volume of 10 cm cubed. Also, the inch is as recently measured exactly 2.54 cm. Thus in discussing the Metric System units, you must know whether it is the old or the new units that are in use.
In the current version of the SI, the fundamental units are the meter, second, and kilogram. All subsidiary units and their abbreviations, many of which are familiar to many of us in the U.S. such as TngstrNm-P, micron-m, gram-g, calorie-c (dietary calorie-C), erg-e and bar-b (more usually millibar-mb), have been abolished. Their replacements are not always simple, especially as the prefixes of magnitude used in the SI have their own illogical basis.
The prefixes of magnitude in decades are indeed a good idea, but unfortunately are poorly put into practice. The currently preferred prefixes are in steps of 1,000 as listed below.
ascending descending value
k m 1,000
M M 1,000,000
G n 1,000,000,000
T p 1,000,000,000,000
P f 1,000,000,000,000,000
Note that some of the ascending prefixes are capitalized. In a rational system, the ascending series would be all capitalized and the descending would use the same letters but in lower case. As you can see, that idea really only works in one place with the present list. That is in the Greek alphabet with the m micro and M mega, whereas the Roman m milli matches poorly with the Roman lower case k kilo. Other, similar mismatches are readily apparent.
Two of the difficulties introduced by scrapping the secondary units are concerned with the calorie and the gram. The calorie c and its dietary form C have been replaced by the joule J, which is equivalent to 0.23982 c and 0.00023982 C; conversely 1 c is now 4.1698 J and 1 C is 4169.8 J. Thus, in the SI an apple which was formerly 77 C is now 332,280 J or 0.33228 megajoules-MJ. This seems like quite a lot to eat on a diet! In the case of the gram, the loss (suppression) of the secondary units becomes ludicrous. The quantity that was the gram g is now, strictly speaking, the millikilogram-mkg. That's French logic for you.
The conversion of the calorie to the joule illustrates another poor feature of the SI, namely that the units are all the wrong size for everyday life. The kg is too heavy in the supermarket, the meter is too long for measurements around the house, and the centigrade (now Celsius) degree is too large to measure ordinary temperatures without at least 2 decimal places. Thus 100#F, a slight fever, is 37.78#C, which in the SI is a seemingly negligible rise over the normal 36.89#C or 98.4#F. Even 102#F, a serious elevation, especially for a child, is only 38.89#C. Imagine trying to read a small mercury thermometer to 2 decimal places while holding a screaming infant.
Even the familiar unit, the cc is discouraged. The SI would have it as the cm2, although the prefix centi-c is itself discouraged. An even better substitution for the cc should be the microstere-ms, although that might be confused with the microsecond which uses the same abbreviation. The stere, as you know, is the standard unit of volume, the cubic meter.
Just a few more items to consider. Metric screw threads are either too coarse or too fine for the body diameter in order to avoid decimal values for the common sizes. The common English sizes 6-32, 8-32, etc are well proportioned but would be a victim of rationality.
The biggest problem of the SI has only been mentioned in passing, that is, it changes almost every year. The preferred expressions of magnitude and units that I learned originally have now all been changed several times. Thus, you can be sure that today's SI will change significantly before you have time to learn it thoroughly, and then it will change again.
In one way, the English or now American system is the
only truly rational one. Start with the eye, the organ around which the
body is built. The eye has 80% of the input to the brain, and almost all
the body's postural reflexes are devoted to furnishing a stable platform
for the eyes. The adult human eye is 1 inch in diameter. That is reason
enough to begin with the inch as the standard. Incidentally, we already
use the mil, 1/1000 of an inch, and the microinch is a common machinist's
term. Kilofeet wouldn't be much of a change either; in fact I've seen it
in the scientific literature. Perhaps the best solution is to preserve
our present English units, encourage the use of a new and rational set
of decimal prefixes, and give them French names and spelling. The rest
of the world can then follow our lead.
Editor's Note: We must apologize to Professor Wolbarsht for being unable to transcribe the Greek letters he used in his original version of this essay.
THE PARTY OF UNSOUND METHOD
"Do you," said I . . . "call it 'unsound method?'"
"Without doubt," he exclaimed hotly. . . . "Shows a complete want of judgment. It is my duty to point it out in the proper quarter." --Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
II. Idiology: Faulkner and Homer
About ten years ago, I reviewed a most unusual study of William Faulkner. Entitled Creating Faulkner's Reputation, this book presented much to admire: careful, original scholarship; a clear, well organized argument; and a graceful, we might say transparent style. What made the book unusual was this fact: in its 250 pages about Faulkner's reputation, not a word is spoken about the content of any of his writings, which arguably comprise as great an oeuvre as has ever been created by one person.
The reason for this omission, it turns out, is a conspiratorial view of literary history. Although the unsuspecting common reader might credit Faulkner's high acclaim to masterworks like Absalom, Absalom!, The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and As I Lay Dying, his reputation actually originated, we are told, in a scheme jointly undertaken by Southern conservatives (Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren. Cleanth Brooks) and New York intellectuals (Malcolm Cowley, Lionel Trilling, Irving Howe). Their purpose was to find and puff a writer whose work would propagate conservative, traditional values helpful to American success in the Cold War. And our scholar's conclusion is that in Faulkner they found just the right man:
"Ultimately, Faulkner's work was championed and canonized because his. . . prose served an ideological cause. Unintentionally, he produced a commodity of enormous value as a cultural weapon in the early years of the Cold War." (210)
Perhaps we should be thankful for that exculpating "Unintentionally,"which gets Faulkner off the hook for the really serious offense that those Southern/New York intellectuals were perpetrating: deliberately abetting our nation's resistance to Stalin's murderous tyranny. But it would seem that it was the conspirators' tyranny, not Stalin's, that was something to worry about--a tyranny of the mind that conscripted Faulkner into their petit-bourgeois intellectual thralldom:
"Faulkner's reputation in this country was created by the academics and literary critics who. . . operated in a closed community of enforced conformity where dissent was suppressed and oppositionist literature and criticism were displaced." (202)
It sounds pretty grim until we bethink ourselves of what actually happens in the Faulkner oeuvre. Even the most casual acquaintance with Faulkner's novels reveals anything but a propagandist of conservative traditional values. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find a more scathing critique of conventional values than in Faulkner's major fiction. With brutal effectiveness, he savages class hierarchy in Sanctuary; racism in Light in August; class hierarchy and racism in Absalom, Absalom!; capitalist predation in The Hamlet; racism, capitalism, and environmental despoilation in Go Down, Moses; bourgeois marriage in The Wild Palms; sexism and "family values" in As I Lay Dying; and Christian fundamentalism in all these novels.
Most ruinous of all for those seekers of a cultural weapon in the Cold War was the publication of A Fable in 1954, a novel that promotes radical pacifism as the only alternative to atomic annihilation (which Faulkner had addressed in his Nobel Speech of 1950). It would appear that those New York/Southern intellectuals blew their assignment in an unbelievably incompetent fashion. Even more unaccountably, it appears that the French Marxist intellectuals whose intervention helped Faulkner get the Nobel Prize in 1950 (the most significant basis of his reputation) likewise failed to comprehend the man's true colors. Jean-Paul Sartre, the most eminent of these French Faulknerphiles, was a virtual Communist who favored Stalin's Russia over Truman's America. Perhaps it was divine grace that kept him from living long enough to find himself defined, through his promotion of Faulkner, as a propagator of this nation's conservative Cold War values.
The author of this book, whose name I choose to withhold, is not the real culprit here. To find where the thing went wrong, we must look to the "cultural production" of this book -- to use a phrase that Critical Theorists might prefer to monopolize for their attacks on Late Capitalism. With its transparent deficiencies, Creating Faulkner's Reputation represents a failure of academic intelligence on two fronts. First, its shortcomings appear to derive from the fanaticism of an ideologized graduate education. (The author calls his book "an argument for a materialist [read: Marxist] interpretation of culture" -- 209.) And second, its publisher, a solidly reputable university press (whose name I again choose to withhold), presumably secured the approval of several Faulkner experts in the review process -- "experts" who either did not know or did not care that the contents of Faulkner's oeuvre flatly contradict the thesis of the book they were approving for publication.
So far as I know, I am the only reviewer to have pointed out this book's colossal misrepresentation of Faulkner's thinking, which should have been evident to anyone who has read his novels. But far from amending this serious failure, other scholars, more eminent than I, have pronounced the work a major breakthrough in Faulkner studies. It is "an exceptionally important contribution to intellectual history," according to the former Maoist-turned-Stalinist professor H. Bruce Franklin. And Princeton's Alvin Kernan considers the book a model for larger applications: "the book exemplifies a method for the social criticism of literature of the newer variety."
I fear that these reviewers have it right. Creating Faulkner's Reputation, it appears, was published not so much to illuminate Faulkner as to serve the political ideology of its "expert" readers vis-a-vis the Cold War. Ideological correctness, in this case, seems to have covered a multitude of scholarly sins. The converse is also true: failure to propitiate an "expert" reader's ideology may doom a serious scholarly enterprise. To illustrate this point, I shall turn to another Great Author and another Ideology.
If Creating Faulkner's Reputation displays Late Marxism as the opium of the intellectuals, academic Feminism too often proves to be their castor oil: a prescriptive spoonful forced down the throats of everyone who bumbles across territory where the Feminist flag has been hoisted. As an example, a recent letter in the New York Times Book Review (1/19/97, page 4) rebukes a reviewer of The Odyssey (in a new translation) for his "naive, uncritical, and pretheoretical acceptance of Homer's text as a 'timeless' Great Book." "Pretheoretical" is the key word here. It denotes the failure to apply a feminist (i.e. "theoretical") critique to Odysseus' relationships with women in the poem. It obviously has never occurred to this letter-writer that a contemporary scholar could be non-theoretical or anti-theoretical rather than "pretheoretical" -- that is, could dismiss feminist theory as either erroneous or irrelevant to his interests. Such freedom of thought seems to be heresy in this view -- heretically disobedient to properly constituted intellectual authority, here defined as those fertile theoreticians of our leading graduate schools.
The word "theory," then, here represents a license to assume exclusive property rights to The Odyssey, which must pass through dreary checkpoints of contemporary ideology for its present-day legitimacy to be verified. Presumably the later writers influenced by Homer -- Vergil, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, James Joyce -- also suffered the fate of being "pretheoretical." They -- alas! -- were born too soon to ascend to the pinnacle of enlightenment that only Recent Theory can provide. Will provide, that is to say, coercively and straight down the hatch as exemplified by the Times letter-writer, whose demand for conformity with "theory" has been a greatly familiar feature vis-a-vis the job market and the publication of scholarship in my discipline.
Marxism and Feminism, the master ideologies propelling the foregoing incidents, represent an admirable concern for poor people and women. In part because of our Marxist/Feminist heritage, everyone of sound mind these days shares in their common purpose of effecting a more just society. But that is why it seems so senseless for so many academic ideologues to make such a hash of their project, as I have amply demonstrated for several months in these pages. Judiciously applied, ideology need not follow these contours, but in our academic frog pond we see them again and again. Which brings me to my final instance of Idiology at work.
Here I must declare an interest: the designated Party of Unsound Method in this instance is me, the offending instrument my 1981 book on Faulkner. About five years ago, thinking I might get it republished, I sent it to a university press whose panel of expert readers favored the idea. That is, a majority of them did, but they were overruled by a pair of Feminist scholars who pronounced one of my chapters ("Liebestod: Faulkner and the Lessons of Eros") "outrageous." I would have been greatly interested in learning what was wrong with my argument about Faulkner and Eros, particularly since my other expert readers had no problem with it, nor did the original reviewers of 1981. But my Feminist readers had no need to bother with proof or any form of argumentation. Their mere assertion of outrage proved sufficient to suppress this threat to their world-view. Thereafter, I never tried to test the waters anywhere else, in the realization that nowadays, unlike 1981, every academic press was likely to include an ideological watchdog or two on its review panel to sniff out and suppress outrageous ideas that might conflict with contemporary Theory.
But perhaps I got what I deserved in this case, because, come to think of it, I too in this chapter was guilty of being theoretical. Even though I drew upon the quasi-science of biopsychology instead of the political -isms popular in the Humanities, I still ran the risk generic to Theory of being crude, reductive, and simplistic vis-a-vis the complexity of actual experience (or the complexity of Faulkner's life and art in this case).
So it occurred to me that I might make a different use of my Faulkner & Eros chapter. If I lack faculty contributions in future issues, why not use some of that empty space to let my readers judge for themselves the issue twixt me and my Feminist censors? It might instruct my readers in the cultural production of "outrage" in our time. And it is sure to inform them about the Idiology of Unsound Method, which endorsed Creating Faulkner's Reputation while pronouncing my analysis un(re)printable. My "Faulkner and the Lessons of Eros" will appear in the April FF, unless it is pre-empted by other faculty submissions, in which case it can afford to wait for future empty spaces.
Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
Congratulations to the Editor for giving us a window on current trends in literary studies. We now understand that "transparent" writing is deplored and jargonized obscurity ("moronics," as Kudzu called it recently) is required by many "scholars" at the deconstructive cutting edge.
It is easy to write obscurely; many of our students do it with no training at all. But I admit that learning to incorporate the approved jargon -- "...criticism thus constitutes a virtually endless praxis as opposed to a theoretical propaedeutic" and so forth -- does require a systematic effort to stamp out students' natural tendency to say more or less what they mean. Fortunately, perhaps, our more eminent moronics can spare little time for teaching.
But Strandberg should not be surprised that his challenge to the trendies has elicited no response. Debate dissolves pretension. Those who oppose transparent writing are unlikely to favor any process that threatens to disperse the fog of fashionable squid-ink that passes for scholarship in some of the more benighted areas of the humanities and social sciences.
--John Staddon (Psychology: Experimental)
VIRTUES REWARDED & CHRISTIAN NUDITY
[From Harper's Index, HARPER'S 3/97 (13)]
Speaking fees earned last year by Book of Virtues author William Bennett: $1,800,000
Attendance at the first annual Christian Nudity Convention, held last year in Shallotte, N.C.: 65
Percentage change since 1990 in the total number of students taking the LSAT: -25
Percentage change since then in the number of students taking LSAT's adjusted for Attention Deficit Disorder: +1,510
Value of the corporate tax breaks attached to last year's minimum-wage bill: $21,400, 000,000
The assignments: Putting to use his late night habit
of random reading, POSSUM, our omnivorous scholar, will try to entice the
faculty with a few tastibits of general education. FERRET will snoop, sniff,
and snuffle out little nuggets of controversial or even slightly scandalous
matter. To offset her big advantage over her two accomplices (a voice),
PARROT will be limited to repeating what someone has said without editorial
comment. (If her column requires commentary Ferret will make it.) Anyone
who wishes either to feed the beastie/birdie with new tidbits or to wring
its neck may do so with a note, letter, or column sent to Victor Strandberg,
315 Allen Building (90015), or email firstname.lastname@example.org Voicemail is 684-3976.
FAX is (919) 684-4871.
CRACKPOTS ON PARADE
The nether side of genius
Ich kann nicht anders: Yes, we can do no other than haul this great religious leader before our seat of judgment. At least, he is one of ours [Ferret-note: that is the editor's "ours"], the founder of our own Protestant heritage, instead of a Pope, Rabbi, or other Other who might allege religious prejudice. And we do have to sympathize with his medical condition. You might be a crank, too, if--as his wife Katherine von Bara has recorded--you were continuously afflicted by "gout, insomnia, catarrh , hemorrhoids, constipation, stone, and dizziness," not to mention being constantly crazed by "ringing in the ears like all the bells of Halle, Leipzig, Erfurt, and Wittenberg." No wonder he called himself "utterly weary of life. . . . Rather than live forty years more, I would give up my chance of paradise."
In the face of all that, it must have taken great fortitude to become a Great Reformer, composer of hymns, and translator of the Bible. Furthermore, we must concede, for our own benefit with regard to future judgment, that the limitations of his historical environment -- the late Middle Ages striving to birth the Renaissance -- exculpate the man from anachronistic charges of ignorance and superstition that might arise from actions such as throwing an inkpot at the devil. Yet, pity to say, the Great Reformer still earns a place in our parade not by virtue of either of the following citations, but by dint of being the author of both of them, in a chronological sequence that dishearteningly reverses the arrow of spiritual evolution.
The subject of both citations is Luther's co-inhabitants of Christian Europe, the Jews, towards whom, despite the widespread prejudice of his age, he initially expressed the admirable sentiments that follow:
"Dear God, what a people those were! . . . The New Testament was written by real Jews, for the apostles were Jews. . . . We Gentile Christian have no book that has such authority in the church. . . . Accordingly, we Gentiles are in no way equal to the Jews."
And there is more. In his pamphlet Jesus Was Born A Jew, Luther called for "Christian love" towards Jews, who are "blood-relations of our Lord; therefore, . . . the Jews belong to Christ more than we. Therefore, it is my advice that we treat them kindly."
So far, so good -- nothing crackpot here. But late in his life a fruitcake pamphlet emerged called The Jews and Their Lies. The unforgivable offense of the Chosen People in Luther's later years lay in their failure to fulfill his egomaniac dream of converting the whole lot of them to Christianity, thereby outdoing in his one lifetime a full fifteen centuries of unavailing Popery. His vitriolic head of steam had already risen to major proportions the year before his pamphlet was written, as in his Table Talk entry of Volume 54, No. 5462:
"I intend to write against the Jews once again because I hear that some of our lords are befriending them. I'll advise them to chase all the Jews out of their land. . . . They're wretched people. I know of no stronger argument against them than to ask them why they've been in exile so long."
There follows the actual pamphlet The Jews and Their Lies in 1543, which was reissued by the Nazi government in 1935. Translated into English, it was also published in America in 1948 by an outfit who called themselves the Christian Nationalist Crusade and contributed a Preface bearing the ecumenical promise to publish "the edicts of more than 20 popes who dealt with the Jewish problem." We repeat that this phrase was used in 1948.
Although we refrain from blaming Dr. Luther for these latter day admirers, who are fully responsible for their own fruitcake actions , we must deplore the crackpot madness of The Jews and Their Lies. Even the brutal harshness of the age, which routinely practised public heretic-burning and vivisection of criminals, does not relieve the great theologian of monumental malice as he denounces the Jews for usury, for poisoning wells, for drinking the blood of Christian children, and most of all for killing Christ. Culminating this diatribe is a call for apocalyptic revenge:
"So we are even at fault for not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed. . . . We are at fault for not slaying them."
In 1983, the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's birth,
Pope John Paul II made a historic visit to a Lutheran church in Rome, thereby
paying homage to the concept of freedom of conscience that the Great Reformer
instituted as the quintessential Protestant principle. That civilization-changing
moment can never be taken away from Doctor Luther, but neither can the
stain of The Jews and Their Lies be laundered away. The end
of Luther's life thus carries to posterity a final admonitory lesson: The
Protestant Reformation was an admirable achievement, but it is no subsitute
for trying to be a Christian, at all times to all people. We say that (with
due thanks to James Joyce) in the Name of the Former, and of the Latter,
and of the Holocaust: Allmen.
Ferret's sources include Roland H. Bainton's Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther , 292; William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience,119; Martin Luther, Table Talk in Luther's Works, Volume 54.
Random Readings of a Near-Sighted Omnivore
CHARLES DARWIN CONSIDERS MARRIAGE:
[Possum-Note: The following diary meditation, cited from The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, was included in a guest lecture presented to the English Department by Dr. Janis Caldwell.]
"This is the Question MARRY Not MARRY
But then if I married tomorrow: there would be an infinity of trouble and expense in getting and furnishing a house, fighting about no Society -- morning calls awkwardness loss of time every day (without one's wife was an angel and made one keep industrious) Then how should I manage all my business if I were obliged to go every day walking with my wife. Eheu!! I never should know French, or see the Continent, or go to America, or go up in a Balloon, or take solitary trip in Wales -- poor slave, you will be worse than a negro. And then horrid poverty (without one's wife was better than an angel and had money). Never mind, my boy. Cheer up! One cannot live this solitary life, with groggy old age, friendless and cold and childless staring one in one's face, already beginning to wrinkle. Never mind, trust to chance keep a sharp look out. There is many a happy slave."
GREAT NAMES IN THE HUMANITIES:
(I) HITLER THE PAINTER:
"All my life I have wanted to be a great painter in oils. . . . As soon as I have carried out my program for Germany, I shall take up my painting. I feel that I have it in my soul to become one of the great artists of the age and that future historians will remember me not for what I have done for Germany, but for my art."
--Adolf Hitler in 1939, speaking to British ambassador, Sewanee Review 77 (1969), 701.
(II) STALIN THE POET:
"A recent piece in Pravda gives the books checked out to Stalin over April- December 1926. Much has been made of their oddity: they include works such as Is Resurrection from the Dead Possible?; Ritual Murder among the Jews; The Existence of Hypnosis; Syphilis; The Right to Kill; and. . . Practical Versification. Stalin had of course been a poet in his youth. . . . (Someone should publish a collection of the poems of Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Castro, illustrated by A. Hitler.)"
--Robert Conquest, The New York Review of Books 3/6/97 (9)
ETHICS IN PHILOSOPHY:
"In 1994 the [University of Chicago] philosophy department voted unanimously to promote a talented associate professor. But university administrators overruled the recommendation. [Howard] Stein, a full professor and distinguished philosopher of science, was outraged. In a letter. . . he denounced the university's promotion standards in the case. More shockingly, he announced that he had requested a demotion from his own post as full professor. Although Stein isn't taking a pay cut, in university publications he is now listed as an associate professor."
--Lingua Franca 3/97 (10)
ETHNIC STUDIES REVISITED:
"According to Grinde and Johansen's book Exemplar of Liberty: Native America and the Evolution of Democracy, Founding Fathers James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams enjoyed repeated contact with Iroquois Indians, from whom they derived inspiration for the Constitution's ideas about the separation of powers, representative democracy, and federalism. . . . In 1987 [these historians'] efforts paid off: New York State incorporated the thesis into its eleventh-grade history curriculum. . . . But the ascendancy of the Iroquois influence thesis may be short-lived. In the July 1996 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly, . . . two colonialist scholars tried to definitively discredit the theory, which, according to one of them, depends on words 'misquoted, misattributed, decontextualized, inaccurately paraphrased, liberally edited and misinterpreted.'"
--Lingua Franca 3/97 (8)
SCIENCE FOR LAYPERSONS:
TESTOSTERONE STUDIES & PHYSICS ENVY:
"Study after study has shown that if you examine testosterone levels when males are first placed together in the social group, testosterone levels predict nothing about who is going to be aggressive. The subsequent behavorial differences drive the hormonal changes, rather than the other way around. Because of a strong bias among certain scientists, it has taken forever to convince them of this point. . . .
This is a classic case of what is often called physics envy, a disease that causes behavioral scientists to fear their discipline lacks the rigor of physiology, physiologists to wish for the techniques of biochemists, biochemists to covet the clarity of the answers revealed by molecular geneticists, all the way down until you get to the physicists, who confer only with God."
--Discover 3/97 (46)
STARMAKING (TWO STARS A YEAR)
"A quasar is thought to be a young galaxy that includes at its center a supermassive black hole formed from the stuff of millions of stars. . . . [It] emits a tremendous light, as bright as a trillion suns. . . . Primordial galaxies [made] hundreds of stars each year. (The Milky Way now manufactures only about two new stars a year.)"
Discover 2/97 (61)
"A cubic yard of t he atmosphere can contain hundreds of thousands of bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, pollen grains, lichens, algae, and protozoa. A good sneeze expels over ten million germs.
. . . Bacteria are 100 to 300 times smaller than fungi; viruses are 100 times smaller yet. . . . Bacteria are often eaten by amoebas. But. . . the devoured bacteria can turn the tables and feed on the amoeba from the inside and reproduce. A hapless amoeba may end up carrying as many as 1,800 bacteria."
Discover 2/97 (67-68, 71)
THE SCIENCE OF STORY:
"In the aftermath of the hugely publicized hoax article planted last year by physicist Alan Sokal in the hapless cultural studies journal Social Text, you might be forgiven for thinking scientists and humanities scholars had nothing to exchange but brickbats. The Literary Mind. . . proves otherwise. Mark Turner, its author, is a professor of English at the University of Maryland who has also served a careful apprenticeship in cognitive and neural science, and his double competence empowers him to step confidently in both fields. 'The everyday mind,' says Turner, 'is essentially literary.' Literary modes, he believes--specifically story and parable--are the basic structures of all human knowledge. They may even be physically detectable, in the neural wiring of our brains."
Discover 2/97 (84)
THE GENESIS OF LANGUAGE:
"The author ( of Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language), Robin Dunbar, ... asserts that our big brains and a unique ability to communicate through language did not evolve as a means to plan for the daily exigencies of food gathering, as suggested by some earlier theories. Instead language -- and in particular gossip -- emerged to furnish the social glue needed to bind large groups. It thus substitutes for grooming: the probing of fur for dead skin, matted hair or dead leaves. (Even today the word 'stroking' has become slang for currying favor -- a means of grooming with words.)
Dunbar made his own contribution to this growing body of work by finding a correlation between the dimensions of the neocortex -- the part of the brain engaged in conscious thought -- groupings of about 150 people. This number happens to conform to the approximate membership of the clan within hunter-gatherer societies; the company unit within the military; and the aggregate of employees within a business that can be managed without an elaborate bureaucracy. The figure of 150, Dunbar writes, represents the maximum number of individuals with whom 'we can have a genuine social relationship.'"
--Scientific American 11/96 (36)
THE BOOK OF NUMBERS:
"The early Hindus, who developed the decimal system, . . . named many large numbers: one, having 153 digits, . . . is mentioned in a myth about [the] Buddha. . . . The Romans initially had no terms or symbols for figures above 100,000. And the Greeks usually stopped counting at a myriad, a word meaning '10,000.' . . . 6.02 x 10/23 represents the number of atoms in 12 grams of pure carbon. . . . If just one gram of carbon were expanded to the size of planet Earth, a single carbon atom would loom something like a bowling ball. . . . The number of protons in the known universe. . . is thought to be about 10 to the 80th power."
--Scientific American 2/97 (74-75)
HAWTHORNE ON CONNECTIONS:
"It takes down the solitary pride of man, beyond most other things, to find the impracticability of flinging aside affections that have become irksome. The bands that were silken once are apt to become iron fetters when we desire to shake them off. Our souls, after all, are not our own. We convey a property in them to those with whom we associate; but to what extent can never be known, until we feel the tug, the agony, of our abortive effort to resume an exclusive sway over ourselves."
--Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance (Chapter XXIII)
"RECOLLECTION, IN TRANQUILLITY"
by Joyce Carol Oates
See The New Yorker 6/26-7/3/96 (137)
The Faculty Forum is published monthly by the Academic Council of Duke University.
Editor: Victor Strandberg (English). Assistant Editor: Sara Cohen (Trinity '97).
Editorial Advisory Board: Matt Cartmill (Biological Anthropology & Anatomy), Howard Clark (Biomedical Engineering), Buford Jones (English), Seymour Mauskopf (History), Miriam Cooke (Asian and African Languages and Literature).
The purpose of the Faculty Forum is to provide an opportunity for faculty members to discuss topics of common interest. The FF therefore welcomes, and indeed depends on, contributions by faculty members. Absent ad hominem matter, contributions may be published anonymously, but the editor will need to know the identity of all contributors so as to authenticate the contribution and permit appropriate editing procedures.
The design of this publication figures to take the shape of a sandwich. Somewhere near the middle will be our presentation of the latest Academic Council minutes -- an entry that controls the date of our appearance in print. Working toward this midpoint from Page One will be the contributions we receive from faculty members. Working backward from the last page will be the scribblings of the three helpers who have been assigned the task of filling the space left vacant after the faculty has had its say.
Contributions of every kind should be sent, in both print and (if lengthy) computer disk, to the editor, Victor Strandberg, in 315 Allen Building. Voicemail is 684-3976; no objection to calls at home, 489-5531. E-mail is email@example.com FAX (English department) is 919-684-4871. The deadline for submissions is about the 20th of each month.