Reply to dms on woof tickets and violence

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Sat Jul 19 09:34:33 MDT 2003


Our conversation seems to be continuing. You are correct, the end is the
end, as we can see in the death of a British WMD expert, even so, the story
is continuing.

I did not know what a Woof ticket was, this seems to be specifically
American jargon, so I looked it up on Google. What I found is this:

In The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Betty Parham and Gerrie Ferris
wrote in 1992, "Although its origin is uncertain, 'woof ticket' is a
somewhat dated phrase that refers to an outrageous or exaggerated boast
meant to intimidate or impress the listener." Woof is a Black English
pronunciation of "wolf." According to Geneva Smitherman's 1994 "Black Talk,"
a woof ticket is "a verbal threat, which one sells to somebody; may or may
not be real. Often used as a strategy to make another person back down and
surrender to what that person perceives as a superior power." Tom McIntyre,
professor of special education at Hunter College in New York, noted nearly a
decade ago: "Woofing is especially effective against those who are
unfamiliar with it and don't realize that it is most often 'all show and no
go.' . . . The menacing behavior can usually be defused and eliminated by
informed, tactful action." He advised teachers to "look secure and
self-assured while you withdraw." In the context of the basketball star
Howard's remarks, woof tickets are not to be bought; on the contrary, he
uses the phrase to show that performance, and not intimidating attitude, is
needed to "get it together."


What I said specifically was this:

"As for myself, I am not afraid to debate with anybody. I will debate with
you, or Bush, or Blair, or Wallerstein, or any other luminary. And if the
debate occurs in a civilised manner, that's fine, I will respect them. But
if it does nor occur in a mature, civilised and cultured way, the person
involved is likely to get a swift kick in the head from me."

I am explaining my personal attitude, and issuing a warning, not making a
threat (although some sensitive souls might interpret it as a threat). If
somebody tries to run roughshod over me with a copious dose of verbiage,
insinuations and abuse, I am liable to lose my temper. I have to defend
myself. In the above quote, I am not intending to boast at all. I do not
think that the people to whom I refer would want to debate with me anyway,
but I am just stating it as a possibility, that is all. I think that is fair
enough, since the media have had a good run with me already.

If I have had a criticism in my neighbourhood, it would be that it's "'all
show and no go", in the sense that I make these email communications but do
not necessarily walk the talk, or try to get my rocks off in the normal
manner, whatever that is. That is, I am too much into my own head, and not
sociable enough. There is a history behind that, and I am suffering stress.
My personal policy is not to threaten anybody, just warn them clearly and
unmistakably, well in advance, what my personal limits are, and what my
attitude is.

You say:

I take physical threats, having been in physically threatening conditions
more times that my ex-shrinks care for me to reall, very seriously.


I think you should, and I think I should too. The whole point however is
that we ought to question ourselves about the communication style which
leads socialists to fight with other socialists, instead of joining together
in revolt against bourgeois society and its two-faced morality, which exists
despite all odes to the law. The whole point of heterodox socialism is to
say, rather than berate other socialists for their lack of orthodoxy, just
let them do their thing, have your own group, your own activity, and see in
what ways you can effectively cooperate in practice, what the points of
contact are. The heterodox socialist idea is that political unity is not
forged through a monolithic ideological unity, where we all swear to the
same Marxist bible, but rather through practical activity through which we
discover how, and in what ways, we can work together, and "programme" or
"political ideology" emerges out of that. As a heterodox socialist, I do not
believe in any violence against other socialists at all, because I think I
should not be fighting other socialists, beyond cogent argument about
matters of fact, logic or what to do in practice. If I get dragged into
interminable disputes with other socialists, I consider I am going wrong,
and that I am distracted from my aim. So in losing my temper with you, I
consider I am already going wrong in a sense, and I am sorry about it.

You wrote:

Let me know when you come to NYC.


It depends on what your motivation is for that request, since I cannot be a
hundred percent sure what your motivation is. To finish, I am not trying to
be cool or posture, I am genuinely concerned about modes of discourse here,
and if somebody wants to drown what I say in drivel, I get personally
affected by it. I am sure that they understand that very well in New York,
which is reputed to be among the fastest, toughest cities in the USA. I am
not sure yet when I will go, I got some other stuff to sort out before I can
think about redemption tours. I do not hate you, I hate a certain
communication style which you adopted, and I regret losing my temper over
it. All clear now ?



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