Re: My Mistake and a Lament

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on March 02, 1999 at 09:52:29:

In Reply to: Re: My Mistake and a Lament posted by Jerry Silverman on March 02, 1999 at 01:55:12:

: : Dear Michael et al -

: : I can see now that I read too fast.

: : Claude's ending line was "Brother can you paradigm?" and was, of course, a take off on an old Depression era popular song "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" The coincidence seemed too close and I jumped conclusions.

: : Michael, I AM sorry that it all happened at Madison for you, although that school has its points: beer in the cafeteria before NYU, I've heard.

: : But the main reason for this post is to lament Jerry's use of the word "paradigm" in his initial statement. What a lightning rod it is. I know that Kuhn's book generated at least two books of responding articles but that was among practicing philosophers. Could we retreat to a term that might permit us to discuss what might actually be occurring here? How about "change?" "Big change" if you want. I fear "paradigm" will take us to a place that Claude joked about in another part of his poem, one in which every "thought" is a "conceptualization."

: : Regards,

: : John Howe

: Hey, John! I'll be the one changing my choice of words here!

: I chose "paradigm" because I've seen it misused in just about every meeting I've sat in on in the past decade. (Like the rest of you I read Kuhn in college, during my second year on my Master's in, yes, that's right - political science. I just do advertising and public relations because I was cursed at birth by an evil witch.) And if you'll notice this Salon's title, the juxtaposition is between "paradigm" and "oxymoron."

: If I'd known so many of you would focus on the term, I'd have thought twice about using it. How was I to know that it might draw more attention to itself than the situation it was employed to examine? A little like using profanity in a discussion with a sanctimoniously pious person - all of a sudden you're talking about who's got a dirty mouth and not what is being said.

: Can we get past the philosophical hiccup caused by "paradigm" and get on to the impact of the Internet on all the myriad aspects of the rug world?

: -Jerry-

Dear John and Jerry:
I am sorry to have caused you such pain. But I guess I also do not understand it. I thought the question of whether there is a paradigm or a shift to be a compelling one (and certainly not the exclusive one of this Salon).
One observation concerning e-mail and the Internet. It is too often used as a substitute for oral communication and reads as such, very stream of consciousness. That certainly has its place, but so do tough questions requiring careful responses prepared painfully. The Internet will not advance much meaningful to a deeper understanding of rugs and textiles or other areas if we cannot continue to challenge our notions of convention and probe tough, controversial issues.
Regards, Michael

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