On Judging and not reading

Robert Day socialistrob at SPAMhotmail.com
Thu Aug 26 19:43:02 MDT 1999

In agreement with Carol, I think it's worth pointing out that the analysis
of a single or body of work without having read it word for word does in
itself have value, as that is the process of assessing intellectual
credibility in any discipline with an exorbitant amount of scholarship. I
may not be intimately familiar with the works of Rush Limbaugh or Andrew
Sullivan (an interesting character foil, to be sure...), but this does not
preclude my ability to dismiss the works as fraudulent, based on their
context. Similarly, I may have been putting off reading Capital for quite a
while now, but this does not stop me, nor declare me unfit to holding the
work to be a credible analysis of capitalism. Granted, this does not suggest
that no context or reputation that a given work recieves is fair. However,
there is a certain sensibility in examining a work's context with other
schools of work that
people on the left and in literary circles have been mastering for years. In
a somewhat vulgar, materialist sense, the mere fact that there are many of
us who dwell in the hustle of bourgeois life and not the academy makes
reading each and every work one makes statements about simply impossible and

Although, to be fair, it seems likely that the current paradigm of
"intellectual and political activity" provides many a book reviewer with
jobs that would not only become defunct if idealized, but also keeps alive
that most tawdry of artforms, to review a work by following its inherent
sense of logic, thus glorifying it or publicly sodomizing it, and to restate
the author's intent more quickly and more eloquently that originally
imagined. To any intellectual diva who laments the stigma of his or her
work, I say, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

Ultimately, one of the ladies,


----- Original Message -----
From: Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 4:40 PM
Subject: On Judging and not reading

> And yet hardly a week goes by on maillists that someone does
> not pompously proclaim that this, that or the other work must
> be read before one can say anything about it. That attitude, if
> seriously carried through, would bring all intellectual and political
> activity to a halt, forever.
> Carrol

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