Hi people!

I haven't contributed to the list for a long time, for various reasons,
but I've been reading as many of the messages as I can.

I feel compelled to break my silence to express the strongest possible
support for Brian Betty, and my profound unease at *some* of the
messages posted on the "mental masturbation" issue.

The messages posted by Tom Weir on this issue didn't surprise me. I can
only share Brian's resentment that some people, including Tom, feel free
to divert whenever they like, to comment on Texan independence or any
other issue, and then to snap in when they feel like it and attempt to
crush someone else's freedom of speech. And Tom, I see that once again
you're doing your trick of speaking for other people who have not
appointed you as their spokesperson.

Above all, as when Tom attacked me (first in a debate about PC and then
for offering some flippant sentences about Clinton as a translation
exercise), note the lack of proportion between the original spark and
the response. All Brian said, for heaven's sake, was "What's wrong with
masturbation, anyway? It's healthy. Ask the APA." You can disagree,
smile, nod, wonder what Brian does in his spare time, or any other
response. But the number of words and messages used - mainly by Tom, and
by others - to respond to this deviation is astonishing to me.

After Tom came back to the list, after a short break, I went more or
less silent, wondering whether it would be a place I could feel
comfortable. During one flame war (involving, if I understood Sally's
apology correctly, a different Brian, but very much the same Tom) I
realized it wouldn't be such a place. I very nearly wrote something
then, but bit my tongue. But this time my tongue is hurting too much, I
wanted to say what I have to say, and now I'm going to go back to being
quiet. I share with many people the admiration for what was a really
laid-back yet high-quality list; the minute it gets back to being like
that, I'll be glad to become active again.


Shaul Vardi