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RE: Changing the game

Fortunately, most of us never have to face the "lifeboat" 
situation Jean-Claude describes, so it is normally not an 
either/or choice we need to make. And where Einstein is 
concerned, legend has it that he was so oblivious to his 
surroundings that he would walk into an open manhole if he were 
by himself; so he is one genius who really needed the help of 
others to survive and do his good work!

Regarding "meioitic," I suspect the word I originally wrote was 
"maieutic." How it got changed is a mystery to me--maybe one of 
those meddling copyeditors? :)

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State University Press

>I took a peek at Sandy's text, but recoiled because I have more 
>urgent 16-page texts to read. Nonetheless, I will make two 
>simple little remarks regarding the text. The first point will 
>take aim at the exalted vision of the editor as presented by 
>Sandy. The second point tries to make a small comment on a text 
>written by a self-respecting (and respected) editor.
>1. The following quotation will be enough for this point: "Just
>   as editors can help shape the cultural agenda by forging
>   links among people and ideas, so too can they influence the
>   direction of scholarship by stimulating the production of
>   certain kinds of writing." The quotation at the end of the
>   "linker" section says much the same thing in even more
>   assertive manner. Now, let us ask a question: imagine
>   Einstein and an editor on a raft, and one has to die to let
>   the other survive. Whom shall we choose? I suspect this takes
>   care of that claim, once and for all.
>2. The editorial point has to do with the word "meiotic". Now,
>   English is not my first language, so I was cautious when I
>   came across the following passage: "Editors ... play a
>   meiotic role in making connections among different strands of
>   intellectual development." To me, meiosis means cellular
>   division in biology. So I checked a couple dictionaries I
>   have on hand (and, echoing another remark made to Joe
>   Esposito earlier, I must confess I have not read my
>   dictionaries entirely, or even all that significantly, but
>   they are quite handy all the same). Sure enough, meiosis
>   means division, so that connecting by dividing became a deep
>   mystery for me. There is however a second meaning to meiosis
>   that I did not know at all: understatement, lowering
>   diminishing. But I was baffled as to why an editor should
>   want to act meiotically with respect to an author. It did not
>   make sense to me until I realized that Sandy's entire text
>   was indeed a meiotic operation on the authors to provide, by
>   comparison, an elevated, even exalted, vision of the editor.
>I must confess that this discovery made me very happy indeed. My 
>vocabulary has increased and I finally understood what Sandy was 
>after. Thank you for being so transparent, Sandy, but, given the 
>more usual sense of meiosis, beware, as a good editor, that your 
>meaning might catch many by surprise. Some might even believe 
>that you made an inappropriate use of the word "meiotic".
>There would be so much more to say about Sandy's little piece, 
>but I will conclude by saying that my vision of editorship for 
>research results aiming at feeding further research is that its 
>functions are quite limited indeed.
>Now for novels, and essays, and the stuff sold in bookstores, but
>of course...
>Jean-Claude Guedon