I wondered how long it would take for this matter to be aired and am very interested in all viewpoints. Let me risk a few myself.
The newsletter arrived as I was finishing an interesting social/political study, What's the Matter With Kansas, Thomas Frank's 2004 examination of the Christian conservative movement and its manipulation and cooption by right-wing political opportunists. Reading Nuack's letter in that context was instructive. Whether or not he subscribes to those belief systems, he seems to reflect some of the paranoia of those movements, the sense that specially articulated expressions of inclusion or statements of behavioral standards are somehow an attack on the established rights or beliefs of an assumed majoritarian establishment. Or, more simply and generally, that one person's gain is another's loss, that everything is a zero-sum game, a mutual fight to the death.
We're all swimming in this rancid stew and I don't have to say how the effect of it has today become literally fatal. Yes, words matter. But, that cuts both ways. You don't have to be white, conservative, religious or straight to be bewildered and sometimes put off by the hair-trigger accusations and denunciations that greet many fair-minded expressions that fail to get the words just right. Our reality has changed so fast. As an older gay guy, I often struggle to understand my younger friend's views of the social landscape and the way their language frames it. For me, it too often reflects a judgementalism that is too much like the judgments that others aim at us, with the attendant assumptions and stereotypes they use to hurt us. Transformed into orthodoxy, this pugnaciousness can become a barrier to the civility and trust without which we cannot function as a pluralistic society. It threatens to defeat the very thing we struggle to accomplish.
And so we catch the blowback from reactionary minds. Or, the well-reasoned caution of a sincere fear that attempts to 'legislate' diversity actually will become a demand for conformity, and not diversity at all. I don't know Nuack so I don't know which of these describes him. Maybe both. But, he did acknowledge the diversity at the root of ARSC as a benefit. If the rest is an expression of a particular political and social perspective, then it is just that, and one person's opinion. For what it's worth to you. As is mine.
So, if we really believe in diversity, we have to accept that some of us harbor beliefs that others find abhorrent. If we demand acceptance (or maybe forbearance is more the reality) for ourselves, we have to be willing to offer the same. What makes that work is to keep to the purposes of our associations and keep other aspects of our personal beliefs private. Be polite and mature. If ARSC feels it needs to articulate these things, then I believe that should be the principal espoused.
If someone insists on expressing abusive or sociopathic views at a conference or whatever, shun them and their oversized egos. Beyond that, re-establishing civility and a consensus about acceptable behavior is for our whole society to sort out. ARSC's small role is to lead by example.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Corey Bailey
Sent: Sunday, July 19, 2020 8:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Comments on the open letter
In the last newsletter, there was an open letter to the ARSC membership titled "Letters to the Editor" by Kurt Nauck.
Anyone care to comment on that letter?
Corey Bailey Audio Engineering