Divisions among the "Disabled"; Footnote to Marta Russell

Carrol Cox cbcox at rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Thu Jun 18 17:07:25 PDT 1998

One more point about Showalter, and a most damning one in respect to her book and her personal integrity *even* if it turned out that her individual accounts of Gulf War Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were accurate -- by placing the sufferers from and believers in those syndromes (the believers re CFS, incidentally, now include a growing number of rather prestigious members of the medical profession) in the same category as believers in UFOs simply showed her as utterly lacking in any sense of proportion, any minimal social awareness, any sense of responsibility.

If one wishes to get a full belly of this sort of intellectual irresponsibility, read *Skeptical Inquirer*. I subbed to it the last few years I was teaching to see if maybe it would provide information useful in conversation with students who believed in various kinds of real nonsense. And it does provide a good deal of such information, which is why, I suppose, persons such as Stephen Jay Gould serve on its board of "Fellows." But the magazine keeps going (in almost every issue) beyond its announced mission, "Scientific Investigation of Claims for the Paranormal" and printing articles by high-school teachers explaining how they teach "reason" by debunking ecological arguments or articles by plain nuts using "science" to prove a libertarian politics. One would also gather from it that all feminists were freaks, etc.

Showalter pulls this same shit by mixing in her book "beliefs" which are clearly nonsense with beliefs which, right or wrong, clearly belong within the realm of reasonable differences of opinion.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list