Re: Professional Support, Political Philosophy, and Civic Friendship

Subject: Re: Professional Support, Political Philosophy, and Civic Friendship
From: RoseRead -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 1994 16:42:05 EDT

>Either we limit ourselves to topics that are
>professionally useful for some of us, or we accept the fact that
>public policy discussions will expand rapidly to more basic
>issues about the purpose of government and the defensibility of
>one position or another.

Yes, but on the other hand, the broader politics of a more general issue
often lend a great deal of insight into the particulars of a given exigency.
For example, the clumsiness of using "them, they, their" as a singular
pronoun to avoid male bias in the language. Or how an individual might
avoid the appearance of personal responsibility or liability by reporting
events in the passive voice (those darn doctors again....).

I don't think we have to accept that "public policy discussions will expand
rapidly." Not at all. But we should be prepared to ask how a particular
political/policy discussion relates to a particular in our work. And be
prepared to take criticism if we don't.

>It is arbitrary to limit political discussions
>once they are launched, except by consent of those participating.

One person's assessment of arbitrary is another's idea of internal
consistency. But you do NOT want to hear about my marriage.

Those who have the spare time, for whatever reason, to read and respond to
every post on the list are certainly going to be more influencial than
others, which has direct impact on "professional support, political
philosophy, and civic friendship." For whatever that's worth....whoever
decides what is relevent and what is not, and whoever decides to what degree
consensus is going to take place is exercising political power.

This, however, is one beauty of the Internet....I'll bet not one of you can
tell that I am an un-degree'd hack writer for Hallmark who just happens to
own a computer. LOL.

>Let's either get out of the politics and policy business, or
>be prepared for what happened these past few days with the
>drug testing discussion.

I disagree. I do think, however, that we have to relate our political points
to our work as technical writers....I, for example, would love to see a hot
political discussion on global communication and racism/sexism/classism/ or
tourism and the implications for the education of technical writers.

As for what we should post and not post, Steve Arrant summarized it best.
For those of you who are reading this that for whatever reason didn't read
his, it follows:

>Before you reply to a message, please ask yourself:
> o Is the message relevant to technical writing?
> o Does it need a reply to everyone on the list?
> o Would my reply be better in email?
> o Am I giving an objective fact or a subjective opinion
(Steve Arrant)

Kim T.
roseread -at- aol -dot- com

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