[csaa-forum] worried by the tone

Alan McKee a.mckee at qut.edu.au
Mon Apr 4 12:39:09 CST 2005

>I've been lurking on the debate about Danny's tone.

Personally I feel he should be congratulated for raising the issue of 
alternative modes of engagement with public issues - even if I might not 
agree with the actual ideas he proposes.

I don't think it does us much good to hide behind the rubric of rationality 
and facts - mainly because none of us actually live up to them in our work. 
Even those of us who claim strongly that only rational debate is suitable 
for public engagement fail - as we all do - to achieve such ideals. We all 
repeatedly use arguments ad verecundiam ('as Barthes has shown ...'), ad 
populum ('postmodernism and its capacity for evil'), and ad hominem 
('people need to lift their game'). Failing to acknowledge that we as much 
as Windshuttle and Bolt employ these forms of argument merely makes us look 
like hypocrites.

Indeed, as cultural studies practitioners we need to take ourselves less 
seriously if we want others to take us seriously.


Alan McKee, PhD
Film and Television
Creative Industries Precinct
Queensland University of Technology
Kelvin Grove
QLD 4059

07 3864 8235
07 3864 8195 (fax)

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