[SIGCIS-Members] Some notes on my Morozov/Menard address

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Mon Oct 13 08:42:56 PDT 2014

Dear Cabalists,


I am sorry to have to drag you back to our lair on such short notice, but a
couple more items are in need of our attention.


First, I'm sorry to say that despite my full throated defense of Mozorov
during our last meeting it seems that some slow-witted critics are still not
convinced. The situation was fully resolved with his original Tubmlr post.
Sadly he has been called away from his work recreating Don Quixote to write
a second Tumblr post. This is, if anything, more compelling that the first
and the situation is even resolvdier than before. 


As he makes clear at
the books and boxes Morozov photographed previously were just the tip of the
biblioberg. He's photographed more sources. As he mentioned, "there's also
plenty of factual detail in my piece that comes from the archives - or other
sources." I think we can all agree that evidence some material in a paper
was one's own work is a surefire defense against accusations that much of it
wasn't. At least that's what we were taught at the National University of
Uqbar where I got my Ph.D by mail. Academic misconduct appeals there had a
very high success rate.


In addition Morozov is an exceptionally talented prose stylist, and for a
man working on that artistic level the position of every word is crucial.
Mentioning Medina in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth,
seventh, eight, or ninth paragraph paraphrasing her work would have ruined
the aesthetics of his entire piece and betrayed his readers.  As he
explained it, "where you, the author, decide to interrupt your piece and
introduce the source matters - whether you do it in paragraph number three
or paragraph number ten affects the overall flow and feel of the argument.
My responsibility as an author is both to the readers AND to the sources
that I draw upon." As a reader I certainly appreciate that level of
dedication to my wellbeing. Case closed. Again.


Second, some outrageous accusations have been made that my previous address
bore a greater than acknowledged debt to the work of Jorge Luis Borges. Let
me state for the record that I fully acknowledged my debt to Borges when I
mentioned his entertaining article at the end of my oration. He wrote a nice
piece, but it's nothing special. Any further similarity in claims and word
choices undoubtedly results from our reliance on shared sources. I can say
without fear of contradiction that I have read every word Pierre Menard ever
published, visited each archival collection holding his letters and
manuscripts, and interviewed all of his living descendants. In addition a
public address, even when taken down by goblin scribes for dissemination to
those unable to attend in person, is a very different format from a journal
article. There simply wasn't time to acknowledge every source before the sun
came up, which to say the least would have complicated your egress from our
lair. Mentioning Borges earlier wasn't an option either - I'm a very
talented orator and it would have spoiled aesthetics of the speech and
betrayed your interests as listeners. Also, and I'm disappointed that any of
you missed this, the whole thing was a book review.


Finally, I am afraid that we had to flog those scribes because the previous
message, and a few others they sent to the listserv yesterday, have not made
it into the archive. Our elderly pipermail daemon seems to be
self-censoring, which is ironic. So that we can better defend Morozov
against the jealous and small minded I have posted a copy of the earlier
message at http://www.tomandmaria.com/tom/writing/morozovquixote.htm. 


Cabal dismissed.

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