LINGUIST List 3.351

Sun 19 Apr 1992

Disc: Genie and the New Yorker

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. Susan Ervin-Tripp, Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker
  2. ALICE FABER, Genie in the New Yorker
  3. Vicki Fromkin, Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker
  4. Vicki Fromkin, The New Yorker

Message 1: Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 92 21:03:33 -0Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker
From: Susan Ervin-Tripp <ervin-trcogsci.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker

It seems to be an appropriate occasion for those who have had been dealings
with the press or experience as journalists to give some advice to
the prudent in case of future situations like the New Yorker one.
Given the lawsuit against Janet Malcolm precisely for inventing quotes
in her New Yorker article on Masson, there is reason to be cautious.

If the topic you are interviewed about is one that is important enough to
you so that you want to be sure not to be misquoted, in my experience there
are only two methods:

1) say something very simple and repeat it often enough so it can't be
 distorted.

2) or insist that you be able to see and check the story.

Any other views?
Susan Ervin-Tripp
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Genie in the New Yorker

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1992 11:54 ESTGenie in the New Yorker
From: ALICE FABER <FABERYALEHASK.bitnet>
Subject: Genie in the New Yorker

I want to thank Vicki Fromkin for the clarifications with regard to Russ
Rymer's New Yorker piece, and will pass them on to my parents and others who
have read the piece. These lapses are regretable, especially since my parents
claimed that the piece gave them a better idea of the big picture involved in
what I've been up to for all of my adult life. (I think they spent more time
reading than they have listening!).

With regard to the publication of Syntactic Structures (a side point in
Fromkin's note), I have a very vivid recollection from when I was an
undergraduate linguistics major in the early 70's. One of my professors, who
had been in graduate school in 1957, spent a considerable portion of one class
period describing his reaction on first seeing a COPY of Syntactic Structures
(NOT the theory, the content, the new paradigm...). He described his reaction
in terms that would be more suited to religious experience, or perhaps the
'discovery' of the Pacific Ocean!

Alice Faber
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 92 09:18 PDT
From: Vicki Fromkin <IYO1VAFMVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.344 Genie and the New Yorker


This is to express our collective 'thank you' to all of you who have been
writing to me and Susie Curtiss with support and concern regarding the
two-part article in The New Yorker. I would like to make clear that our
major concern is how the article(s) distort various views on child
language acquisition, on linguistic issues, on the 'innateness' issue,
on what linguists do, etc. While the distortions regarding our participation
(particularly Susie's) in the case are real, they are obviously less important
than the issues of the nature of language. But it is also obvious that
the writer Russ Rymer was not interested in the 'science' and we also
understand why this tragic case evokes so much interest from individuals
everywhere. The first response we sent out to LINGUIST was an immediate
reaction to the inaccuracies such as those we listed. There are many more
distortions of the facts. Susie Curtiss and I will be writing an 'answer'
to Rymer with a copy to the New Yorker and all of your own views have been
very helpful in our assessment of what we should do and say. So thank
you again and you will hear more from us.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: The New Yorker

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 92 09:51 PDT
From: Vicki Fromkin <IYO1VAFUCLAMVS.bitnet>
Subject: The New Yorker


Many of you have written to suggest that letters to The New Yorker
be written to at least express the indignation of linguists regarding
the linguistic distortions, the 'anti-scientific' overtones, the
misrepresentations of what linguistic views (of all theoretical
positions) as a means of voicing opposition to the philistinism
of our society. I personally think that is an excellent idea. What
is needed is less of an answer to misrepresentations of oursonal
personal roles, and more of a strong rebuttal to articles of this kind
which so distort the work of scientists and the goals and methods of
linguistic science .

After reading the artic les, if you want to express your own views in this
way, Susie Curtiss and I would very much like to get a copy of your letter
to The New Yorker either by e-mail or snail mail.

Thanks again for all your help, support, good wishes, and collegial hands
stretched out to us across the miles.

VAF
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue