RE: [-empyre-] Size matters?

Hurrah! Eryks back!!!!

I must credit Eryk with being part of the first mailing list discussion I
ever entered! - I am sure he doesn't remember ;-) but it was on Empyre and
it was about gender!!! Anyway I quickly realised I didn't have the skills to
keep up with the jujitsu, more of a Tai Chi girl myself, so I exited and
have lurked ever since! 

Of course over generalisation boarders on caricature, which is also why I
used the term 'stereotype' and had a reply sitting in my mailbox that I
never sent making some of the points you have...

When I have discussed lists in person with people, I have called it a
perverse level of criticism, because as you say, the aim of the game so
often seems to be about point scoring, rather than open discussion. When we
speak in person, our thought process is more visible, I often get a bit
fluffy, I use silly analogies and wave my hands about frantically. Most
people read this as my thinking process and rather than try to trip me up,
they let me make my point and try to understand what I mean, even if I don't
explain it that well. With lists you can't see my waving hands and my fluff
would be an absolute no no, so I am constantly on guard. Which is a shame.

I can't think of anything more illustrative of your points than Mathieu
saying that lists are a place to show off. I just have this image of school
playgrounds in my head and my hair being pulled!

Thanks for marking your territory, I have tried to remove images of
urinating wolves from my mind, but they persist, but as I have often enjoyed
your list entries in the past, its good to bring you out of lurker-dom!


PS emailed you on your one38 account and it bounced...should I use this one
in the future?
PPS so pink is the new mailing list then? That is one argument I would
definitely win! ;-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Eryk Salvaggio [] 
Sent: 11 August 2004 19:48
To: soft_skinned_space;
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Size matters?

Just marking my territory-

Isn't every discussion of gender an over generalization that borders on
caricature? Certainly all men are not trying to be Hulk Hogan, but that
doesn't mean there isn't a little Hulk Hogan in the way men act, nor is
there a pressure for every woman to be Minnie Mouse. Do some people resist?
Obviously. But most don't. So the question is of what is encouraged, and why
these gender roles are capable of segmenting us- some people chat online,
some people email, some blog, some don't. Why? And why the disparity in

I've encountered, in the criticism of blogs by mainstream journalists, that
the arguments basically boil down to "they're too masculine", and I see a
lot of parallels to mailing lists. George Packer, in Mother Jones magazine,
had an article about blogging in which he wrote:

The entries, sometimes updated hourly, are little spasms of assertion,
usually too brief for an argument ever to stand a chance of developing
layers of meaning or ramifying into qualification and complication. There's
a constant sense that someone (almost always the blogger) is winning and
someone else is losing. Everything that happens in the blogosphere - every
point, rebuttal, gloat, jeer, or "fisk" (dismemberment of a piece of text
with close analytical reading) - is a knockout punch. A curious thing about
this rarefied world is that bloggers are almost unfailingly contemptuous
toward everyone except one another. They are also nearly without exception
men (this form of combat seems too naked for more than a very few women). I
imagine them in neat blue shirts, the glow from the screen reflected in
their glasses as they sit up at 3:48 a.m. triumphantly tapping out their
third rejoinder to the WaPo's press commentary on Tim Russert's on-air recap
of the Wisconsin primary.

Indeed. I can't but help to feel the same way about mailing lists, where
nothing much ever gets done, and where otherwise very brilliant individuals
"catch each other" in forms of word-game jujitsu and that's what constitutes
a "good point" or "argument." For anyone who considers me guilty, I agree,
and that is part of why I hate, hate, hate, mailing lists. I am bitter! Far
from the golden utopia that was promised to me by the Next Five Minutes
conferences ("A global art needs a global meeting place! Global Activism
needs Global Discussion!") what we have, really, is an anonymized forum
where general insecurity about one's masculinity asserts itself even
stronger because of what we are supposed to be doing, the communication of
ideas: Very girly stuff, so we turn it into war.

I left the mailing lists and now I wear pink shoes. If that isn't a thesis
proof then I don't know what is.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Mathieu O'Neil" <>

> This strikes me as an over-generalization which may even border on
> caricature: "males love erecting reasonable arguments while females 
> prefer the empathetic emotions of chat"? I would hate to deny one half 
> of humanity reason and the other emotion. I may not chat that much but 
> if I'm online and a friend is also then we will happily email back and 
> forth. And it seems to me that for a female, and an ex-lurker to boot, 
> you seem very comfortable with the list format!
> Mathieu

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