Can I disable Observers from a single controller method?

I need to stop an after_update Observer method from running, but only
in one method of a related controller. I want to be able to change the
sort order in acts_as_list without triggering the whole after_update
business, since nothing that that Observer was interested in has
actually happened.

Alternatively, is there a finer-grained way to call the Observer?
Something like Prototype.js’s synthetic events as defined in
Event.fire()?

Thanks,

Walter

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