Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dharun Revi and Marc Bousquet; the Spy-Cam and the Blog affiliated with the Chronicle of Higher Education

What follows is a note signed by "marcbousquet":
marcbousquet - January 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I for one welcome this edition–I wouldn’t describe this substitution as “censorship,” but more simply as “editing.” There’s room for lots of editions, especially in hypertext: one can provide dozens of different editions and toggle back and forth between them. I see no harm and much good in adding another edition to a work widely available in a variety of ways.

For perspective, consider the work of textual scholar Hershel Parker, whose romantic theory of editing has been applied under the imprimatur of many distinguished grant-funded projects. Believing that author’s revisions frequently represented pressured reconsiderations (concern about the public’s reaction, an editor, spouse or friend’s bad advice, etc), Parker often reversed authorial revision in an effort to reconstruct what he contended was the author’s inspired original intention. There were often many choices for Parker to revert to: multiple crossings out in a manuscript, multiple alterations in successive lifetime printings, etc: which was “right,” even by Parker’s loose standard? See Parker’s role in producing the text of the Library of America Melville edition, for example.

We give Parker millions to reconstruct what Melville would have published if his editor or friends hadn’t interfered. We happily watch performances of Shakespeare in altered or redacted language–there’s a whole essay in acting as translation here, even when the “original language” is used. We routinely expect the Supreme Court (ok, not this one!) to navigate “original language” for us. In the end, I think the best comparison to this kind of editorial work is translation: the editor is translating the work into a language in which aspects of the work can be better understood by some readers. As in all translations (and other editorial decisions, right down to typography), things are both lost and gained. Translation is additive; “censorship” is repressive.

End of quotation from marcbousquet.
That was last last year. We give Parker millions. I sacrificed myself on the Melville Project 1965-1968 for $9000 a year up to $9500 the next year (half the promised thousand) and $10,000!
What have we learned from the conviction of Dharun Ravi this week? Will reckless rough-riders of the Internet and the social media learn to discipline themselves on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, text messages, emails, and think twice about where they aim their webcams? Will the Chronicle of Higher Education think twice about what it is sponsoring? Dharun Ravi may, just may, go to jail.

Will the "Chronicle of Higher Education" ever be sorry it has been so very very trendy?

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