[Smt-talk] Advocating for the humanities

Frank Riddick friddick at ou.edu
Tue Apr 8 09:59:28 PDT 2014

I think Jeff Perry's post has the situation exactly reversed. The  
original message to which Ben Whitcomb dissented was sent to the list  
precisely because the authors believed they were writing to a  
sympathetic audience. I doubt seriously they were expecting anyone to  
voice an objection, and they were probably not looking for a  
discussion of the issue. They were advocating a certain position, and  
they were asking for support. They simply assume that most, if not  
all, members of SMT agree with them on the issue of funding the NEH.

More importantly, if the SMT list is not the place to discuss Schenker  
and 6/4 chords, then where is?


Frank Riddick
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory
University of Oklahoma

On Apr 8, 2014, at 7:35 AM, Jeffrey Perry wrote:

> If one task of scholarly discourse is to question foundational  
> assumptions
> and ³settled² truths, Dr. Whitcomb¹s thread certainly qualifies. Maybe
> instead of a meta-discussion about whether or not we should have a
> discussion about support for the NEH, the list might benefit from a
> discussion about the value of public arts funding in principle, and  
> about
> the NEH as a (beleaguered, underfunded) model specifically. Surely  
> there
> are list members with experience in the NEH grant writing and  
> reviewing
> process who could provide useful details.
> By the way, what threatens to drive people away from smt-talk, in my
> opinion, is not necessarily politics, but (in no particular order)
> ‹Posts about the cadential 6/4
> ‹Schenker-bashing for its own sake
> ‹Lengthy polemics of any sort that substitute for, rather than  
> supplement,
> peer-reviewed work on a given subject. Bonus points for ad hominem  
> vitriol.
> With best wishes to all for a pleasant spring,
> jp
> Jeff Perry
> Professor of Music Theory
> 277 Music and Dramatic Arts
> School of Music, College of Music & Dramatic Arts
> Louisiana State University
> jperry at lsu.edu / (225) 578-3556 (voice) / (225) 578-2562 (fax)
> On 4/8/14, 6:55 AM, "Whitcomb, Benjamin D" <whitcomb at uww.edu> wrote:
>> Hello Dr. Berry,
>> No, I am talking about NEH. It is not hard to find examples online of
>> projects that they have funded that many people would consider  
>> wasteful,
>> although many of the folks on this list might not consider any of  
>> them to
>> be. But, no, I don't think that does affect the argument at hand.
>> Do you think that it is desirable to have a discussion list dedicated
>> only to the discussion of music theory?
>> -or-
>> If there is a benefit to having political discussions on this  
>> fourm, is
>> it outweighed by the costs of driving away some of the members?
>> -Benjamin
>> Dr. Benjamin Whitcomb
>> Professor of Cello and Music Theory
>> University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
>> www.benjaminwhitcomb.com
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