Re: what was that?

Subject: Re: what was that?
From: Eric Lyon (
Date: Thu Aug 18 2005 - 00:15:49 EDT

Dear Linda,

As a UCSD alum I was most interested to read this. I can attest, as I
worked at CME/CARL during the mid 1980s - early 1990s that almost
everyone working at CARL was white male. Further, I agree with your
point that this access was very helpful to people's careers. Almost
every one of my colleagues from CARL who chose the academic route
does indeed hold a serious post in American academia. Since it was
infeasible during the mid-late 1980s for students to own their own
computer music systems, this access certainly gave people a leg up.

Although the CARL workstation project ultimately failed to produce a
working model, I don't think it was a complete waste; the project
represented a correct vision since today everyone is building personal
computer music workstations with their laptops and stuff from
M-Audio, etc. I also think CARL made an important contribution with
their software model and in principle (though not so well in practice)
their idea to distribute their software for free. (Their distribution
at the time was recognized by many of us to be a failure, but in the
end, the CARL software has gone open-source, and it, or its descendants
is very much in use today.)

> Years later we are able to see that
> the pattern and practice of discrimination in the profession of
> computer music was part of a larger Republican design to fill
> academia with its own people.

I think I would disagree with this to an extent. Almost all the white
male CARL people now in academia strike me as very liberal, and
very attuned to the problems facing women and minorities in the
field, and to the extent that they can are trying to do something
positive about it. With some success, I think, as we are seeing
increasing numbers of women at SEAMUS and ICMC, and issues
of gender and (computer) music are being taken much more seriously
in academia now than 20 years ago.

I can also attest, having just spent six years working in the EA
graduate program at Dartmouth, that female candidates always
came right to the top of the list, as all us are very serious
about promoting women's voices in EA music. Since we often
had to fight over female candidates with other institutions, I suspect
that a similar proactive interest manifests itself in programs other
than at Dartmouth.

I don't want to be too Pollyanna about this. There's much work to be
done to truly accept women into EA music as full partners. And the
situation with persons of color is miserable. I remember attending the
1992 ICMC with George Lewis, who told me that he felt like he was
a funny hat, attending all these events as the only person of color in
the room. That was a real eye-opener for me, and sadly this has changed
hardly at all in over 10 years.

So thank you for sharing your thoughts. We really need to hear your




On Aug 17, 2005, at 12:49 PM, Linda Seltzer wrote:

> Those of you who do not live in the US have probably not read George
> Lakoff's book on the framing of social issues in Democratic Party
> campaigns. The book is called "Don't Think of an Elephant." Lakoff
> and others, such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., have written about how
> the Republicans, over the years, have been setting up "think tanks,"
> awarding fellowships, and funding universities to developright wing
> scholarship. This affected the profession of computer music. In
> 1982 the System Development Foundation (also known as the Rand
> Corporation) awarded $10 million in grants to four universities.
> The person who organized this grant from Bell Labs was the yes
> man to someone in the field of acoustics who had strong ties to the
> House Ear Institute, which, aside from its good reputation in
> hearing research, was a center of the Republican Party in California.
> The House Ear Institute was the Republican's social charity, and the
> Shriner's Hospital was the domain of the Democratic party. Ro a
> conservative think tank and Republican-leaning executives awarded this
> money, which was supposed to develop a computer music workstation.
> The
> money was largely wasted, since a workstation was never developed,
> even
> though $10 million was an unheard of amount for new product
> development
> in those days. However, this money allowed fellowships and
> stipends to be awarded to a generation of male graduate students and
> staff members from those universities. The only woman I know of who
> received any of the money was one physicist from Caltech, whose
> previous experience was in something like geoscience. While the
> grant did not specifically promote any conservative policy research,
> a generation of women was excluded. Princeton and Columbia were
> among the schools excluded from this grant, which meant that certain
> female composers of electronic music in New York (from Columbia)
> were left behind as the Republican-supported white males' careers
> advanced with grants and jobs. Years later we are able to see that
> the pattern and practice of discrimination in the profession of
> computer music was part of a larger Republican design to fill
> academia with its own people.


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