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Circling the drain?
by Asa Butcher
2007-11-18 10:11:43
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On Thursday one of our readers felt the need to pose the question: Is Ovi's quality circling the drain or is it just me? Well, it was certainly a question that caught my eye and has prompted this response.

As co-editor of Ovi magazine I could be accused of being a little biased in my reply, but I would hope that the regular readers out there know I can also be objective. The aim of Ovi from day one was to encourage and promote discussion and freedom of speech, ideals that were never going to have us all holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Ya"… quite the opposite.

Opinions get the blood pumping to the heart and fire up the neurons in the brain, but to do that in Ovi we present a cross-section of the world in which we live. If you trawl through our archive of 2,300 articles over the past two and a half years you will find opinions on almost every subject, some of which even Thanos and I disagree with.

As editors we also knew that we have substantial control over content, but since the decision of the aforementioned quality is subjective, we have always left it to the readers to decide whether contributions are worth their space and make (or not) comments on the work.

One reader may say the content is too intellectual, another may say naïve, some choose what to read by the title and others have their favourite contributors, but the final decision is in the individual's hands – not ours.

Granted, we plainly state in our submissions guide that we will not tolerate contributions that are ignorant, racist, sexist or prejudiced, but we have yet to refuse anybody's work on those grounds. In addition, we do not censor comments either.

Ovi is an intellectual playground where all the children may not get along, but they are happy to share the same climbing apparatus. If you think something has to change then speak up, if you think the quality is circling the drain then offer your contribution to plug the hole, but, like life, Ovi provides the good and the bad and it is up to you how it is interpreted.

You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all the time.

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Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

Sand2007-11-17 08:45:35
It is overwhelmingly obvious that the world is in one hell of a mess and that those in control are almost totally incompetent to turn things around. I heartily approve of your policy of exposing the rotting garbage of inappropriate systems of thought to sunlight to prompt not only cleansing thought but innovation that might prompt, at minimum, a search for new directions for a salvaging turnaround. So far I have not seen much bright new thinking for this very necessary remedy to a very sick world but merely a dumping of further ancient garbage in the problem. Who knows? Perhaps, somewhere out there someone can offer a spark of intelligent hope.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-17 09:21:31

Well said and rightly so Mr Butcher. Within the pages of a magazine of opinion predicated on free speech, as distinct from one dedicated to peddling and propagandizing a particular ideology, all opinions, no matter how distasteful and offensive they may prove to be to some readers, need to be welcomed and freely discussed. The former, when edited intelligently, permit an enhancement of the readers’ and even the contributors’ and the editors’ cultural horizon, the latter usually prove to be a great bore, tend to attract the xenophobic and the narrow-minded, and allow precious little discussion of yjr issues treated. In my opinion, Ovi is the antidote to that kind of pernicious magazine. It was that characteristic which motivated me to first read it and then even contribute to it. Keep it going.

P.S. Moreover, the more intellectually vibrant a publication, the more its contributors and readers need to keep well in mind that one can keep on vehemently disagreeing, be passionate about an issue, without becoming disagreeable and descending to personal argumenta ad hominem. Even that however is preferable to censorship of opinions.

Eero Nevalainen2007-11-18 03:00:11
Thanks for a response. So apparently it's me. ;)

In particular, it was the astrology bit that pretty much bordered on your criterion of "ignorance"...

I'd hate to see this place descend into energy crystals and ufology next, as I *do* support the ideals of free speech and (well-argued) exchange of (informed) ideas, although over here it does sometimes seem to mean just blurbing out a three-paragraph ideological troll and pretending it's supposed to give people some kind of enlightening food for thought if it happens to go politically the right way...

Anyway, whichever article is actually worth writing a comment on is probably worth publishing. I hope the place keeps on attracting my comments ;-)

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-18 11:54:59
It seems to me that an important component of a good publication at the global and international level is its polyglot nature but also that little box under its articles with the words “get it off your chest” over it. One can of course interpret that slogan psychologically as a way to let off steam and have a free for all: much noise and little light, or praxis ahead of theory. On the other hand light, or theory, without praxis is pretty sterile. Another possible interpretation of that little box of comments is to consider its social function, as being there to create a convivial forum where people can come together and find common ground and points of agreement or perhaps discuss their disagreements vigorously but always convivially without descending to argumenta ad hominem and placing one’s interlocutor in the uncomfortable position of becoming an enabler to bullish rude behavior, or dish out the same immaturity. Plato and Aristotle were not cool stoic Finns and disagreed vehemently on many a philosophical issue but remained great friends within the convivial forum and thus learned much from each other and enhanced each other’s humanity. Yes, it is possible to disagree without becoming disagreeable and thus enhance the chances of those in the convivial forum of finding the truth. Without truth praxis remains misguided.

Sand2007-11-18 12:42:20
Disagreeability, like beauty, is in the mind of the observer,

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-18 13:40:00

Jack2007-11-18 19:26:26
I thank Ovi for the openness of the articles. I can still disagree with what is written, as many have about mine and other's articles, but just like noses, everyone will have an opinion that is different. That's the beauty of it...variety is the spice of life. If everyone thought alike, what a boring world this would be. Some like roses, some violets, some like tulips...taken together, it is a bouquet that one can sample what one like's best. How refreshing. As Sand so perfectly put it..."disagreeablitiy like beauty is in the mind of the observer". He is right. As with any human intellect, we can not help but be subjective.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-19 00:37:34
Indeed Jack, experiences change from individual to individual, and different individuals perceive the same experience differently. However, if such relativism becomes absolute, then the objectivity of science and philosophy becomes impossible. I submit that there is another side of to the coin of relativism. Within human nature there are constants which can easily be discerned. Constants such as the corrupt nature of all we possess, love, hate, fear, and most visible of all, the omnipresence of death which determines for all human beings, not excluding those who shun meditating on it, the very meaning of life. It is by reflecting on those constants that the horizon of our self-experience broadens. All the great novelists and poets have concentrated on those constants and that is why their work are universal and appeal to people of different cultures

Sand2007-11-19 02:39:35
The only corruption of love, hate and fear of death is due to the substitution of twisted idiotic fantasies created by religion to prevent people from facing the hard reality that this existence in the world is most precious and all we have and we must make the most of it.

Emanuel Paparella2007-11-19 03:18:01

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