I think everything should come with footnotes.
Now, i know not everything can. Some statements are the product of lots of research, and can’t be attributed to a single source. However, if you’re citing statistics and studies, surely that obviously calls for footnoting. It’s not that i want to look up everything i read, i just want to be able to if i ever did want to. I’m getting so tired of “a study conducted by such-and-such organization in such-and-such year found....” You must have found the study somewhere; put a mention somewhere so i can look it up too. Statistics can be deceiving.
I’m also getting tired of people not interrogating their assumptions. I’m reading this zine called Reflections on Women in Prison
and near the beginning is an article on who determines what a criminal is, and it includes the following sentence:
“Indigenous people had existed here for (years here) and were living lives that were centered around a holistic communal culture, one that both lived off of the land and gave back to it.”
Eek. Idealizing “the other” is so problematic. I regret that i didn’t photocopy the “Pre-Columbian America” chapter (and references, of course) from Paul F. Boller, Jr.’s Not So!: Popular Myths About America from Columbus to Clinton
(itself an imperfect work), but it definitely refutes that assertion.
It’s not that i think everyone should come up with documentation for everything they say before they say it, but it would certainly improve things if people held that as an ideal. You should be able to back up everything you say. If you can’t think of somewhere to refer me, that should be a big warning sign to you that you need to think critically about what you’re saying and why you believe it.
This also brings me back to one of the problems with protesting, etc. I have this need to know all about an issue (sweatshops, free trade, Mumia Abu Jamal, genetically engineered food, etc.) before i make a decision, and obviously i don’t have the time or energy to research everything
, so i pick my battles.
And fairly unrelatedly, i was at Puddingstone last night and Diane and Ron were talking about music -- eras, composers, etc. It’s something that’s really important to them, but i’m just not really into it. Jane says when i have a family i won’t have so much energy for caring about some of the stuff i get righteously indignant about now. I certainly understand that (esp. seeing my mom being so exhausted caring for her mom and just not up for getting angry about marketing to children and such) though it always irritates me too, the implication that this stuff isn’t important enough for me to still get worked up about once i have a family. (Hey look, it’s youth privilege. We can get angry about this stuff, because we don’t have “real life” draining our energy.) I doubt anyone would tell them that once they have a family they wouldn’t spend so much time and energy thinking about the conductor of the BSO or anything. It’s interesting, no one tells you that when you have a family you’ll stop caring about (pop) culture stuff (though of course you’re often laughingly assured that you’ll grow out of your Buffy
-- or whatever -- obsession) but people say it about political activist concerns, which one would think one would be much less likely to let go of. Yeah, i’m not sure exactly where i’m going with this, and i know i’m basing it on limited experiences and generalizations. So i’ll stop now. Current Mood: thoughtful