Women's Movement Reflection, 1974, page 2

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fifties. A man would be invited to come read a. paper to the faculty and graduate
students; and there would be a terrible tension in the room while he read. may
the tension? People woule1"se'h1mting about —-' desperately, if the guest speaker
were an especially good philosopher —- for the chink in the arnor, the place to
go in for the kill. Some people would lungs in and announce: "The crucial step
in your argument was thus and such, anal it's plainly invalid." Others went about
the destruction of the speaker with more finesse: they'd begin lay saying "I
_t___;hi__n1c_ I ‘E have misunderstood your argument," giving the speaker a (last) moment
of (false) seeurity. .

I should stress it wasn't only the members of the auclience who were in for
the killz. the speaker listened to the questions with the very sane tension, in '
hope not merely of protecting himself, but else of destroying the questioner if
he could.

Now what did it feel like to see this going on? It was frightening, partly
because one saw ahead in one '3 future an endless series of occasions on vrlrich
one would have to kill or be killed, but also because it was a ciisylay of violence,
and displays of violence just are frightening, even where the only weapons are
words, and what is killed is not the men but only (only3).his self-respect.

At the sane time, I have to confess that it was in a perverse my exciting
to watch those displays. I'm rather ashamed now to have fouml it/exciting in
those early days; I certainly don't now. ‘Or  be more honest, ‘I don't now where
we speaker is honest, and tmpretentious. I'm ashanei that I still take a per-
verse pleasure in the destruction of the speaker who cheats, or who is pompous
and self-ini'1atee1. I do think it bad to take pleasure in this. mere, after all,
is the charm in oven the best--deserves! misery?

But even in those early days, I often found the displays ugly. It was up-
setting too that we graduate students, and the junior faeulw, get points for
participating in then: the senior faculty sailed on success in the killing-ga.me.