the extremists/ be careful

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Tue Jan 23 08:26:37 EST 2001

Let us abandon the question of the "poacher" before Neil drowns us all
in data. Neil, would you, as a personal favor to me, post your
information *on your web page*. I was here during the court trial and
conviction of "He Who Must Not be Named" and remember well his happy
decision that he could profitably spend his community service hours
posting emails to Our List discussing his crimes, his virtues, and how
we might best redeem our own lives as he had been redeemed.
All of this has got to be in the archives, and Neil probably stored the
stuff he wrote somewhere.
But KEEP it on the web page, for the love of God. Many of us set our
browsers to reject postings on the subject, by the perps, or even
containing the word Tom. Those of us who were too dumb to do so, cursed
a lot.
Ted Williams wrote an article for Audubon Magazine, the screaming from
this list shook the world, and it was a long time before the fragile
peace was declared which now endures.
As you'll note, there are still hard feelings, here and there, on the
issue, but it was polarized for a while there.
Now we are, most of us, contented on a middle ground where it's ok to
collect, ok not to collect, and *not* ok to spring at each other's
It is even safe to make small jokes about collecting. As I have a couple
of boxed butterflies, and have mounted a few micro-moths for a dollhouse
collection, I am myself a collector ... but was at the forefront among
the anti-collectors.
But now we know each other, we understand each other, and it's all
different. Some of my best friends are collectors, and we dig side by
side in the same gardens.
There are some spots, however, still too sore to probe. Let's not go
Anne Kilmer
South Florida
Martha Rosett Lutz wrote:
> Ooops.  My attempt to noodge things back towards a combination of civility
> and evidence-based commentary seems to have misfired.  Neil Jones wrote:
> "I am not the only one who has erred. Hank Brodkin who founded the
> original lepidoptera list was completely and utterly mistaken when
> he told this guy "Take your paranoid delusions elsewhere".
> Hank! You're a very naughty boy. You *must* report to nanny for a
> spanking immediately.
> Seriously folks. Despite my attempts at humour this is not a trivial
> matter. I don't think you have to be medically qualified to know when
> someone is divorced from reality."
> There was an important distinction there.  You may not have to be medically
> qualified to "know" this (in your own mind), but unless you want to leave
> yourself open to legal action, you must have irrefutable evidence before
> you state your personal 'knowledge' in public.  There are people, including
> most of the MDs I socialize with, who do NOT take these formal diagnostic
> terms lightly.  It's part of the medical/legal culture.
> It's an easy distinction, and has nothing to do with whether or not the
> diagnosis is correct.  It has everything to do with the rights of the
> individual--something we take more or less seriously in the U.S.  You may
> believe anything you like, but your rights end exactly where the next guy's
> rights begin.  Someone else's right to be protected from slander exceed
> anyone's rights to use slanderous terms in public.  It doesn't matter how
> many people have erred, or even who they are:  some rights are protected,
> and violation of these rights is wrong.  If you want to say:  'The guy is a
> complete goof,' or some such comment, that is not actionable because it is
> merely your opinion, will be interpreted as such, and is not slander.  If
> you state that someone has been formally indicted, and you have proof that
> this is true, then that is fact and not actionable.  In contrast, as soon
> as you use a medical diagnosis as an epithet you have strayed beyond
> opinion and into something that must be supported with facts or else it
> could be considered slander.  It's simply safer, not to mention more
> courteous to everyone, to keep language both precise and pleasant.
> Since I only joined the list sometime around 1996 I do not know about
> things that took place 6-7 years ago (on the list . . . ).  I have no idea
> who Mr. Jones is talking about.  I am neither defending the unknown person,
> nor attacking Mr. Jones.
> I am not questioning Mr. Jone's judgment regarding his ability to evaluate
> a personality defect; I am criticizing the judgment of anyone who uses an
> official medical diagnosis as an epithet.  I do apologize if this analysis
> is personally offensive to anyone (on or off this list), but because the
> law will see it as a clear issue, I would hate to see anyone get in trouble
> with the law, so it seemed reasonable to speak up.
> I would much rather read (and write) about something else.  Iowa is still
> cold and icy.  Has ANYONE seen a moth or butterfly, caterpillar or cocoon,
> or come across something more Fabre-like than personality disorders and
> semantic tangles?  Has anyone heard that Fabre was once fired from a
> teaching job for allowing girls (Gasp!!!) in his science classes?  I am
> trying to work that into my Science Education dissertation; it's kind of
> fascinating, and provides a wonderful perspective on how far we have come
> in just a few generations.
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