Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Thanks for the Publicity!

by Skald

Thammasat University's BAS program has gone Orwellian on me. My students are emailing me in droves. They tell me the departments administration has forbidden them to read my teaching blog, or email me, or have any contact with me whatsoever. Apparently, they were also told that my blog(s) would be "removed" (presumably access would be blocked on Thammasat U. computers).

In addition, they are now monitoring my students' blogs.

Wow! What started as just another brush with bureaucracy has become some kind of weird censorship campaign... the thought police are on the move!

While I obviously dont condone their actions, I cant help but be bemused. Because the more they do these kind of things, the more they draw attention to the blog, and the more people (including students) are coming to read it.

And these people are writing me (the dept. will have a tough time preventing that, I imagine). My inbox is filling rapidly... emails coming in faster than I can read them.

So here we have it... the classic authoritative, command and control response: attempt to silence those you do not like. If that cannot be done, attempt to intimidate the less bold.

And here, also, we have a lesson in the way the game has changed...

"Command and control", meet the world wide web!


Anonymous said...

The Empire is Striking Back!

Anonymous said...

AJ, I imagine that the direct and almost comical interaction with authoritarianism is annoying. But perhaps one must examine the very premise that most people in the world have any free choice in their lives. That may well be an illusory luxury most cannot even afford to dream of, no matter how rebellious. And some even choose philosophically or through rationalization in a world where there are no choices. Fundamentalism of all stripes... - Greg

AJ said...

Individuals, Systems, etc.

Indeed, indeed. I certainly recognize the nature of conformist systems... and the difference between that and the individuals involved.

Truthfully, all of the individuals I met at Thammasat are lovely human beings. Very generous, very kind.

The truth is, you could replace any of them with someone else, and the same process would unfold.
Thats one reason I try to keep my criticisms and rants aimed at the systems & organization, and not at particular people in it.

As you mentioned Greg, many of these folks.. even if they were hellraisers at heart... are not in an economic, cultural, or sociological position to buck the system.

My lifestyle, on the other hand, makes it considerably more easy to do so (no kids, few posssessions, few material needs,..).

And who knows, maybe Im not "freely choosing" either. I recently read (from Hesse, I think) a quote along the lines of:

"temperment and fate are two words for the same thing".

I can no more choose to be normal than many others can choose to be Hobopoets.