Edit Energetically


To the Editors of The Crimson:

It does not bother me that Jeff Rosen, in his defense of the Harvard College Forum (April 29), shows a little intransigence in the face of some good constructive criticism by Harry M. Browne (April 25). In many circumstances an editor can defend a position, and still absorb worthy criticism for the next issue. What I find sad is the lack of understanding of scholarship and intellectual discourse that shows through Jeff Rosen's defense.

The titles of the magazine's officers may be satirical, but any intelligent reader knows immediately that the powerplay of advisors is not. That all-star lineup is indicative of this publication's love of hierarchy and invoking authority. Worse, I hope the statement "something as innocuous as a magazine for undergraduate scholarship" is also an attempt as humor. What's harmless about the way we think, or the structures we use to display that thought, or the values we assign to one kind of thought over another? It seems to me deadly. To try to say this thought is innocuous is to insulate the status quo from its effect--it is to lend an unexamined life.

More disturbing is Rosen's assertion that "it is difficult to see papers about what Harry calls 'Great Men...and their Great Ideas' are any more conservative than papers about the "common man." This confounds me. Do the editor of the Harvard College Farum really not understand pick up in the Browne', use of "great"--not does Rosen equate "common" with uninteresting. You don't have to be a Derridean to understand the danger of a dialectic that concentrates the power of knowledge in the minds of a few men. Have none of the editors read enough in the social sciences to understand alternative approaches to the study of man's history and behavior? The editors should examine whether their search for broad, interdisciplinary papers is itself a bias rather than a generosity. After all, easily read papers are themselves part of the comfortable familiar intellectual routine at this university that guards against change through defamiliarizing those brains here that sit around like apartment pets all day.

Finally, the assertion that few Women's Studies papers exist is simply correct--as any glance at a notice board will indicate there is a tough fight going on here as many women try to gain legitimacy in scholarship for their concerns. The editors do an active disservice by not going out and soliciting papers on Women's Studies. Good intentions are not enough. Informed and energetic editing is the only way to represent the reason we are all here--to think. Steve Harney '85