I am glad someone got my post.
Thank you Michael for illustrating my point with a wonderful written piece in the strong tradition of the Dailymash or Onion newspapers. (because of attachments/links it is being held for moderation so see his response below else wait a while for it to come through). See Michael gets exactly what I am talking about and delivered to us an example of the weak sort of arguments happening here so that we can better know what to look out for. This is truly some brilliant satire work which I think we should all take a moment to appreciate.
First, Michael knows that instead of grasping the most basic of research tools available, Google, a person who does not present facts or figures will simply send off an email making stuff up. He does this by making me an academic. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that someone would double my salary, probably triple it, but as Michael knows, a simple Google search, even a Bing search, would have shown that I am not an academic.
But the real brilliance comes also in the choice of words, with the term academic a person can paint me as an other. I am no longer just someone who does basic research and tries to come to a relative, while limited, understanding of how the world works, but instead I am an academic with all the baggage that comes with that. It is brilliant because it also positions the 'labeller' as being from a position of weakness, thus the typical victim scenario, and anything I, the now labelled "oppressor", say will just be the strong beating up on the weak.
But in case that point is missed the person would then have to really drive home the point that they are being picked on by the powers that be. Mike demonstrates how someone would do this by calling themselves a 'pleb'. Michael of course knows that he could never be a 'pleb' because he has multiple degrees including an MBA, which means he has a higher level of formal education than me, at least for a little longer. The real brilliance is that anyone who followed the links to his website, which he included in his piece, would see this that he has an MBA. Michael has laid the perfect example of the hypocrisy of people that is so often seen in these exchanges.
It then gets really good. Instead of addressing the issues that are really driving populism in the US and UK, the hollowing of workforce with the loss of union jobs, he completely jumps into an argument about academics oppressing free speech. It is the perfect straw man argument that distracts away from any productive conversation and again reinforces the siege mentality. It is like Michael is in the mind of Trump.
Now there is quite a bit more that Michael demonstrates in his satire but I think the most important aspect is that he has shown that someone without facts will never once raise them. This is key to having these arguments is to not once raise anything that can be proven wrong. He paints us a beautiful picture with these words 'it is quite understandable that academics might make comments against views they dislike'. He has so carefully chosen the word 'view' and made it my word. It's not about what the facts and research shows, it is about what people think. This is the perfect conversation trap because facts and figures can be checked but views are personal and always correct in the eye of the beholder.
Ok, I will stop being such an ass, of which I am fully aware I am being jerk to Michael. It may be that I have seen so much of this sort of this crap in my life that now I can't help but respond with a siring critique.
To others that have views on brexit I hope you won't take this as cold water on the discussion. I think it is important discussion to have- what are the implications for archaeology, the reason we are all on the list, if a brexit does or does not occur. Though it might be good to actually talk about that and possible back up assertions with... facts or figures.
As always, your humble Pleb,
From: Michael <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 30, 2016 4:15 PM
To: Doug R-M; British archaeology discussion list
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] As an anthropologist I am intrigued but as a human I am concerned
Doug, you are correct that the two are linked, but you seem to be
unaware of the cause and are showing the typical response of academics
when confronted by views of ordinary people which the internet has
enabled to be heard publicly.
The reason we have seen this change, is that formerly what we the public
was allowed to hear was dictated by journalists - who in turn would
never print the views of us "plebs" but instead would go to some
"learned" professor who they could publish verbatim without even really
knowing whether what they said was true or even checking it.
This situation was obviously very favourable to academia which
predominantly has a (US) Liberal outlook. And it was obviously
unfavourable to us plebs whose views were not heard.
But now, I can go onto the internet and for free and without some
journalist filtering what I read, I can read views from almost anyone in
the world. The result is that the "establishment" in academia no longer
have the same "monopoly" on their views being heard. And what is even
less agreeable to academia - is that unlike the journalists who largely
just went along with what they were given, the internet is full of
awkward sods (like me) who will ask questions and answer back.
Unfortunately, in some areas this has resulted in academia becoming very
defensive and aggressive to "outsiders". And in that regard, I attach a
paper that may be of interest (to those with an open mind).
In addition here's a couple of other things I've written:
Trump the revolution:
The citizen scientist:
But to put in simply, the internet is creating a social and political
revolution as important as the changes that occurred as a result
printing. So, that e.g. ordinary people could read their bibles without
some authoritarian priest telling them what to believe. And indeed, the
internet has been implicated in the "Arab spring"!
So, given that it is the "plebs" who are revolting and given academia's
previous power to control what was considered "knowledge" it is quite
understandable that academics might make comments against views they
dislike such as a "lack of comprehension of historical context". But
this is not because the views are wrong - it is simply that they are
views that are coming from the internet, which are not favoured by the
predominant political views within academia.