Open letter to Bill Chambers

R. A. Neimeyer, U of Memphis (neimeyerra@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU)
Sun, 03 Mar 1996 12:21:04 -0600


You have been open enough about your "pain" in this forum, however
appropriately or inappropriately, while I have been silent about my own.
However, the continued acrimonious and accusatory tone of your latest
posting to Devi has moved me to respond to what feels to me like an
increasingly cruel, systematic, and personalized attack on my character
(and perhaps that of the theory group as a whole), which is wholly
unjustified by the fleeting contacts we have had with one another over the
past dozen or so years.

It is clear that you have suffered adversities in your life, some of them
of tragic proportions. Under such circumstances, I'm sure that I too would
feel compelled to seek some sort of explanation, perhaps even one that
legitimated my sense of angry martyrdom. But I resent your
self-righteously pursuing this agenda at the expense of others, myself
included. I will allow other participants in this mailbase whose integrity
you have directly or indirectly slandered to speak for themselves in this
matter, and will confine myself here to my own reactions to your vitriolic

First, let me reiterate that our passing contact with one another has never
included my serving as (a) your teacher or supervisor during your
undergraduate or graduate career, (b) recommender or evaluator regarding
your employment at a series of subsequent positions of which I am almost
completely unaware, (c) reviewer of any of your papers for professional
books, journals, or conferences, or (d) any other form of relationship that
would permit me to affect the course of your career or life in the ways you
insinuate. Thus, if you insist on assembling a "bandwagon" of conspirators
to account for the reversals in your life, I would appreciate your having
the decency to take me off of it.

Second, as an occasional participant in this mailbase, I resent your
demeaning and divisive characterization of communication among its
participants as some form of obsequious self-promotion in an attempt to
curry favor with the presumed "leaders" of the "movement." If other
participants in these conversations have found themselves responding out of
such motivations, then that is for them to consider, not for you to judge.
Speaking for myself, I have found these threads of discussion to be
elaborative, challenging, playful, and occasionally circular, confusing,
and unconnected to my interests, but in no case would I demean the authors
by dismissing their motivations in the narrow and cynical terms you apply
to them.

Finally, in the rare event that you are ever given to self-doubt, you might
pause to consider whether your hostile posturing--insistently construing
yourself as rejected and shunned until you bring about that very
outcome--has served or subverted your goal of being heard and taken
seriously by others. For my own part, while I remain open to including you
in any legitimate exchange on matters of shared theoretical,
methodological, or applied interest, I will not aid or abet the kind of
vindictive personal agenda for which you have misused this mailbase over
the past week.

Bob Neimeyer

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-4680
FAX (901) 678-2579