“HARRIET SEES NOTHING ON HARRIET!” An Open Letter.

Here’s looking at you, Don Share — “politically, personally, and poetically!”
_________________

w
“To grasp the essence of what our species has been and still is: this is at once political, personal… and poetical.”

Dear Don Share,
I had good times with you for the whole month of June on Blog:Harriet, particularly right at the end of Martin Earl’s wonderful thread, The Fish II,  when we talked big fish! [click here] More than that, I also enjoyed a private correspondence with you behind the scenes even after I got put on “moderation”  — as I’m sure you all know, my posts on Harriet were monitored for almost 2 months, occasioning long and painful delays, and over 20 were summarily deleted. [For some details on that 1.)  click here, 2.) click here, 3.) click here, 4.) click here, and 5.) click here. And for a fuller summary elsewhere, click here and click here.]

But just to be sure there’s no suggestion of impropriety behind these revelations, Don, let me be very clear that you never compromised your position at the Foundation. You never said a word about colleagues, or the chain of command, or policy, or gave me any hope that you would intervene on my behalf– yes, you were very free with me, open and interested, but never for a second did you let your professional mask slip. You weren’t involved in any way in the management of Blog:Harriet, you insisted, and even sought my help to get Alan Cordle to remove a paragraph from his Bluehole blog that held you partly responsible for what had happened [click here] — which Alan did, and with good grace. And I was very proud of that too, because I know we are like that, always willing to admit a mistake and do something about it.

Indeed, a lot of good things happened in those early exchanges. Michael Robbins came in on Alan’s blog too, for example, and bitterly protested our interpretation of his involvement, and we responded immediately to that as well, and not only apologized to him but praised him for his openness and courage. [click here] Indeed, that moment with Michael Robbins was one of the most positive moments of our whole protest, and we are still very grateful to him for that as well as for his decision to distance himslf from Blog:Harriet — not in solidarity with us at all but because he felt badly about what the atmosphere at Harriet had done to him personally. Because, of course, it brought the worst out of everybody!

EYE Don ShareBut you did nothing whatsoever, Don Share — almost as if you didn’t see anything happening. And here you are today writing all this wise and well-informed poetry stuff about deep human issues, who we poets are, what matters, what poetry can accomplish, what art,  what passion, however foolish, what the spirit can achieve [click here], yet you didn’t engage yourself at all when you were face to face with the REAL THING — a real poetry massacre! Because we were deeply involved in these very same issues in July and August, of course,  but on a much, much deeper, more meaningful, and more tangible level than on Harriet today. And then on September 1st we had the plug pulled on us,  and we were all summarily executed. Yes, and you were right there and said nothing.

And look what’s left on Blog:Harriet today? Just look at the response to your sensitive and exceptionally well-written new article, for example? [click here] A dry board-room discussion of the niceties of copyright law combined with some fawning, some clichés, and some banter. Before you were face to face with the real censorship of actual living American poets, ones who weren’t hiding behind anything at all, and were therefore extremely vulnerable. And you watched the axe fall on them, and you did nothing whatever!

That photo above is of me in Brooklyn, New York when I was Head of the English Department at The Brooklyn Polytechnic Preparatory School in Bayridge in the 80s. A lot of my students were from John Travolta’s neighborhood too, and they loved it because I taught poetry in a fever as if it were a real Saturday-night thing, as if poetry really did dance and rumble and matter — over the top sometimes, for sure, but that’s what energy and commitment bring out, a rage to inhabit the mountain peaks with the Saturday-night gods. When I first wrote like that on Blog:Harriet, I felt the same sort of resonance that I did in Bayridge, and even the Contributing Writers got excited, and praised me for my efforts — and yes, some of them even talked to me off-line like you did…

And then I got banned!

~

Blog:Harriet is a tiny bit of The Poetry Foundation’s on-line commitment, I know, only 3% of the traffic, but it’s where the free voice of poetry really matters. Because Blog:Harriet is financially independent and doesn’t have to balance the books, satisfy institutional requirements, or mollify advertisers, corporate or even college presidents. Most important of all, it doesn’t have to take sides in the wonderful complexities that blossom when poetry rumbles as if it were, wow, Saturday night in Chicago!

W.B.Yeats is dead, and we’re still wondering, who was this ridiculous genius? How could our greatest modern poet be such an enigma, and what if anything did he accomplish beside all that inconceivably beautiful, deep and earth-moving verse he left behind? And now the intellectual conscience of the modern era,  the creator of our most modern discourse, Claude Levi-Strauss, he’s dead too — and we can celebrate his Triste Tropiques as one of the greatest modern explorations of what human expression can accomplish — in its author’s own style, and in the sacred communities he initiated us into.

Well, I’m 70, and my writing matters too, Don, particularly as I’m just as passionately committed as Claude Levi-Strauss ever was, and just as nutty, passionate and lyrical as Yeats. And that’s true, even if I have no creds, no prospects, no mentor or editor or maneuvers for tenure or a pension or even a credit card in my wallet!

And you banned Desmond Swords too with all that next-generation Irish brilliance, and Thomas Brady who put Blog:Harriet on the map with his well-informed, startling, and indefatigable genius. And Alan Cordle, perhaps the best-known and effective social critic on the contemporary poetry scene in America — summarily chopped for just being who he was!

EYE Don ShareSo what are you going to do about all that, Don Share? Just let it slip, just let all those hurt feelings and that outrage fester? Just let Harriet go down the tubes as an accident, the usual sort of bumbling and grumbling which takes people over when they refuse to talk to each other, what’s more listen? Are you trying to prove that even at The Poetry Foundation poetry doesn’t matter, that it’s all just business as usual even with the blessings of Ruth B. Lilly’s profound good-will and all her benificent millions?

So why did you bother to write  that article on Yeats and Claude Levi-Strauss then, or don’t you take any of it serioously? I mean, is that just what you do for a living, to write like that? Is that just your thing at The Foundation?

And I know that’s not it at all, dear Don, but sooner or later you’ve got to say what it is, and take action.

Sooner or later you’ve got to stand up and be counted!

Christopher Woodman

This is the first of the Personal Statements of those who were banned from Harriet on September 1st, 2009. Stay Tuned for the accounts of Desmond Swords, Alan Cordle, and Thomas Brady.

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7 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    November 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Christopher,

    When you link those summer ’09 Harriet threads in which you and I participated, and I take the time to read them over, I’m always impressed. Those were amazing discussions, and in ‘The Fish II’ I was as rhetorically combative, in a sly sort of way, as I’ve ever been. But I had to say what I had to say. It’s plain to see I flatter no one, and I will be flattered by no one.

    Annie Finch wrote, in that thread:

    “Dear Tom,

    I agree with you and Christopher that it’s a crime when an English class, for example, ruins poetry for students by over-analyzing it. When teaching undergrads, and when talking with general readers, let alone with myself, I am often totally into the “let’s read it aloud once or a few times, take some deep breaths, and then just sit and grin” school of literary criticism.

    I’d be happy to read “High Windows” or “The Fish” that way anytime.

    But more structured readings have their rewards too, some of which I’ve tried to lay out in a reply to Christopher above. At best, they can lead you through remarkable places into states of mind far beyond the vehicle of the poem. Guess what–it’s not an either-or proposition! THERE”S ROOM FOR BOTH! REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A truly good poem is never destroyed by any kind of reading–just as a truly good poet is never destroyed by any kind of education.

    I don’t know how old you are, Tom, or what you do in life, but I have to say that you have exhibited a kind of extraordinary passion, care, and insight for literature in the time I’ve known you on Harriet, leading me to think you might really enjoy becoming more familiar with literary criticism–David Lodge’s Reader for example. Just a thought. It’s mind-growing stuff, especially Lacan.” [click here]

    Look at all those exclamation points. Annie usually doesn’t get that emotional. She was engaged in this discussion. We all were.

    Yet, after Annie praised my insights–on that same thread–when Annie delicately objected to my use of ‘ranking’ as a way of reading poetry, I not only pointed out that Arnold’s ‘touchstone’ method (by way of Poe) is similar to ‘ranking, I ALSO said that she was at that very moment a contest judge. I didn’t mean to make this some great accusation–only a gentle nudge, but in the current ‘foetry’ climate which produces its own professional guilt and paranoia, unfortunately Annie may have taken it the wrong way. I never stopped being Thomas Brady towards her, and I suppose her praise of me and asking my age, and recommending I read Lodge, was all a signal for me to be someone else, I don’t know.

    A fact mentioned on ‘Fish II’ also went unnoticed–Annie studied poetry as an undergraduate with Harold Bloom, and I now wonder what Annie thinks of Camille Paglia (Annie also mentioned Paglia’s favorite phrase, ‘the male gaze’) and how much Annie was influenced by Bloom’s way of close-reading–which is not to ‘close-read’ one poem at a time so much as to ‘close-read’ every poem that was ever written–at once.

    Annie also revealed that Bishop was the only female poet read in Bloom’s class, one more bit of proof that Modernism, Inc. (of which Bloom is a member) is a men’s club, with Bishop (or her mentor M. Moore) the token female. I think Annie even said she thought Poe was a female, or am I imagining that?

    John Oliver Simon called me on my ‘Moderns v. Poe/Millay/Shelley’ obsession, and wondered why I called Brooks & Warren’s ‘Understanding Poetry’ “stupid.” Could I “unpack that?” he said. Simon also admitted, “I can’t read Eliot.”

    Now I, for one, in the final analysis, can’t see the difference between ‘X is stupid’ and ‘I can’t read X.’

    And Christopher, you defended yourself and your close-reading quite admirably, and pointed out that John Simon and I were similar–in a nice piece of dashing language.

    In any case, I then proceeded to “unpack” ‘Understanding Poetry’ on ‘Fish II,’ in a long comment or two, and perhaps that was a bit off-topic, but, in my defense, the larger discussion had become ‘close-reading’ and the way moderns read and analyze poetry, by then.

    As for Don, he countered my ‘Poe lecture influenced ‘High Windows’ thesis’ with an obscure 20th century poem which had possibly influenced ‘High Windows–I thought the ‘Fish II’ thread brought out the best critical Don Share, as we know him. That entire discussion brought out the best in everyone who seriously participated–there was very little flattery and a lot of disagreement. I do notice with Don, though, he has his favorite modernist icons and he really doesn’t like to see them tarnished: there’s this deep, professional investment which, I don’t know, seems finally a barrier to close-to-the-bone analysis. Don and Travis together, for instance, became annoyed at the same time when I wasn’t being nice to Ashbery’s poetry.

    As far as Scarriet is concerned, why in the world Harriet felt she had to nix wonderful discussions like ‘Fish II’, of which you and I, Christopher, often led the way, beggars belief. Did Desmond Swords get banned because he supported us, or for his unique rhetorical style, and how much did Alan’s Foetry identity have to do with it all? We’ll probably never know, but I have a feeling foetry is the factor, because that’s where the personal touches the professional. At least my end as a participant on Harriet was quick, whereas they cut you sooner and with all that ‘awaiting moderation’ nonsense, kept giving you hope, and making you very confused–that must have been quite unpleasant.

    You must have thought many a time of Harriet: “Prithee, why so mute?”

    This, perhaps, is how it will end betwixt you and Harriet:

    “Quit, quit, for shame! this will not move,
    This cannot take her–
    If of herself she will not love,
    Nothing can make her:
    The Devil take her!”

    Thomas

  2. thomasbrady said,

    November 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    How can Don Share not see the irony of quoting this from Levi-Strauss on Harriet, after Harriet’s banning massacre?

    “The grace to call a halt, that is to say: to check the impulse which prompts Man always to block up, one after another, such fissures as may open up in the blank wall of necessity and to round off his achievement by slamming shut the doors of his own prison.”

    To ban those you disagree with, and then to stand solemn-faced beneath this quotation is just another reason why Harriet, day by day, is losing all credibility…

  3. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 9, 2009 at 2:33 am

    But there’s more, Tom. I mean, Travis Nichols almost certainly received instructions from way ‘upstairs’ — that Blog:Harriet ought to be kept deliberately simple, a sand-box for the poetry kids to play in between classes.

    Just like it is now.

    “Find ways to dumb it down,” might have been the message — and what an irony. Because in fact it’s not young high-school students, house-wives and amateur writers who prefer it like that, but the old guard of retired academics, up-tight dilettantes and lonely PPLUs (Poetry People Like Us) who are afraid when the cart begins to move too fast and the landscape gets blurred and out of focus. The PPLUs want it steady and predictable like the recent comments on Don Share’s thread, Poetry Makes Nothing Happen, for example — high-class kitsch, fancy foot-work that feels good, high-minded routines and wrap-ups, all of which slow the cart down to a manageable stroll. All is nice and familiar, and the great bits of literature we all know by heart make us look so good when we trot them out, daa dah!, just like that, as if we were just suddenly inspired to recall them even with our sleeves rolled up. And of course we’re right up on the insider facts too, proving we really know the sticky stuff as well and, of course, the trivia. That’s what we like on Harriet, familiarity, fashion, trivia, puff and gossip. We don’t want to have to cope with anything outside that doesn’t stay still, God damn it, we don’t want to rush off to places and histories we know nothing about, ones which confuse even the experts. I mean, they make all of us look so old and so foolish!

    The Like/Dislike function was installed to safeguard us from ever feeling old or foolish, or having to come to terms with personalities or views different from our own. It’s the perfect Firewall for PPLUs because, as Travis Nichols himself pointed out, you get to kick out all the other noisy diners who spoil your own higher, more refined collation. [click here]

    Yes, Martin Earl’s The Fish II was a wild ride indeed, and I’m sure Marketing did feel that more of the same would alienate the readership. Because Marketing felt Fish II didn’t include everybody, as it should in a democracy with a nice tidy dot over the d. Marketting felt Brady, Swords and Woodman were agitators even, under the bed as well as in it, and that without them Finch, Earl and Myles would behave much better — because Finch, Earl and Myles were really PPLUs too, Marketing obviously felt, otherwise they wouldn’t have been so successful in stirring up so much interest on Harriet!

    QED!

    Now Harriet is Marketing’s dream space. Now it’s a snooze — even if Marketing was so, so wrong about Annie Finch, Martin Earl and Eileen Myles, and even if the discontent and anger are still growing.

    Not to mention Scarriet.

    Christopher

  4. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Lest someone else say it, and then it looks as if Christopher Woodman doth protest too much, let me say it first:

    There were 122 replies to Martin Earl’s The Fish II posted by 13 individuals, all but one of whom (Forrest Gander) were regulars on Blog:Harriet at the time. The two of us who were banned later in September, Tom Brady and myself, received considerable support and encouragement from the three Foundation writers present, Martin Earl, Annie Finch, and Don Share, even when at times we disagreed with each other.

    There was essentially one theme in the discussion which arose out of what Martin Earl called “epiphanic structures.” In the pursuit of that theme there were very close readings of a number of poems, but Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” and Philip Larkin’s “High Windows” in particular.

    I confess I was sort of the leader in this particular rumble — after Martin Earl, of course, who was the author of the article. On the other hand, I was certainly not the best informed or most persuasive by any means, it was just that from the very start I was the one who questioned Martin Earl’s position [click here]. I was also the one who introduced the other poems, one by one, and indeed perhaps a third of my comments went into specific, detailed analyses of poems which in turn became the focus of further discussion. Martin was away for four days during the heart of the discussion, so it was only much later that he could comment on what was said. Click here to see what he said when he did.

    Here’s the breakdown — and I do hope you’ll review it:

    Christopher Woodman 48
    Thomas Brady 19
    Don Share 15
    Annie Finch 15
    Martin Earl 11 (Martin flew from Lisbon to New York in the middle of the discussion!)
    John Oliver Simon 8
    Duane Sosseur 4
    Gary B. Fitzgerald 4
    Bill Knott 1
    Camille Dungy 1
    Desmond Swords 1
    Forrest Gander 1
    Michael Robbins 1
    Matt 1

    It’s important to note that, unlike Tom Brady, Annie Finch, Don Share, Michael Robbins and John Oliver Simon, I did not participate in any of the other threads that were active on Harriet at the same time — all my eggs, for what they were worth, were in just this one small basket, and I hope you’ll agree I carried that basket appropriately. (At least no one can say there was any damage!)

    It’s also important to note that this thread went on for so long and in such depth and detail precisely because there were two or three people who were passionate about it, who stuck close to it and gave it consistency and shape. None of the other posters were coerced into participating, and could indeed have put there eggs elsewhere had they preferred — goodness knows there were a lot to choose between! But good threads build on dedicated initiatives, sharp, well-focussed, and continuous, and Harriet is lucky if at any time it has two or three dedicated participants it can rely on to keep a particular discussion developing. Indeed, those participants are just as important to the success of the site as the quality of the Contributing Writers — who are very unlikely to get fired up if nobody responds or seems to care!

    Finally, I’ve taken the risk of concentrating on this thread because I think it is truly interesting, and would like to offer it as a model for Harriet in the future. As it is now, it’s just a pile of ashes.

    Indeed, Scarriet’s purpose is to raise the phoenix from those ashes, and we hope very much you will take the time to revisit this discussion and decide for yourself what you want from Harriet in your own future.

    Christopher

  5. thomasbrady said,

    November 9, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Does anyone know who this clown, Nick, on Harriet was? He was fawned over by John Simon and Travis, among others, but came across as a belligerent creep with nothing to say. Who is he–Czar Nicholas?

    The whiners on Harriet NEVER acknowledged that there were ALWAYS OTHER THREADS on Harriet that sat, virtually untouched, and wide open for discussion. The whiners never went to these OTHER threads–they just went on the lively discussions, and rather than contributing to them, complained about the “air-space.” This was NOT an etiquette or good manners or community issue whatsoever–and Harriet knows it.

  6. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 10, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Extremely important point, Tom.

    In fact there were 15 other very fine articles posted at the same time as “The Fish II,” 9 in the 5 days just before it and 6 in the 5 days just after. So why did those disgruntled posters have to feel crowded out by me and you when there were so many undeveloped threads they could have worked on in peace and silence all by themselves? Or was it as you said, that wherever we were the action was and, of course, everybody wanted to be part of it?

    Well, fair enough, but you can hardly blame us for that but should, on the contrary, congratulate us. Also, we both would have welcomed them had they bothered to participate, not bayed for their blood as they did.

    It’s also interesting to note that it was just a week after The Fish II went up that you and I were accused of sucking all the air out of Harriet, and poisoning the atmosphere. What makes that accusation all the more shocking is that it was posted by the Editor of Blog:Harriet himself, Travis Nichols. (Click here if you don’t remember that fatal moment.)

    So here’s a list of the 14 threads other members could have helped to develop instead of getting all hot and bothered about our involvment in the two that we chose to concentrate on.

    1.) 07/04 Don Share, “We do things funny over here” (9 comments)

    2.) 07/04, Joel Brouwer, “Keep the Spot Sore” (103 comments)

    3.) 07/04 Eileen Myles, “Welcome Abroad” (4 comments)

    4.) 07/01 Katie Hartsock, “A Glass Glass Factory” (5 comments)

    5.) 07/01 Kenneth Goldsmith, “Flarf and Conceptual Writing in Poetry Magazines” (18 comments)

    6.) 06/30 Annie Finch, “Muse-Goddess” (37 comments)

    7.) 06/30 Martin Earl, The Fish II, (122 comments)

    8.) 06/30 Annie Finch, “A Post of Posts” ( 21 comments)

    9.) 06/29 Eileen Myles, “End of the Road” (1 comment)

    10.) 06/29 Camille Dungy, “Not Finished Yet” (7 comments)

    11.) 06/ 28 Eileen Myles, “The Kids and a Request” (3 comments)

    13.) 06/27 Annie Finch, “Four Ears: The Curse of the Metrical Code” (20 comments)

    14.) 06/26 Eileen Myles, “Gender Hike” (26 comments)

    15.) 06/26 Travis Nichols, “The Man in the Mirror” (7 comments — on Michael Jackson’s death, and posted by Travis! Hey Nick, hey Noah, hey Krista and JOS, why didn’ you seek the silence and companionship you craved right here with Travis?)

    16.) 06/25 Annie Finch, “Marxist Hexameter” (70 comments)

    ~

    Do these riches not offer enough scope for everyone to breathe freely? Why did Krista and Nick and Noah Freed feel they had to crowd in on the threads with people they didn’t like? Why didn’t they post elsewhere, like on “The Man in the Mirror,” for example? Indeed, why didn’t they ever post anywhere at all — except just to complain about us?

    Because, as you say, Tom:

    “The whiners on Harriet NEVER acknowledged that there were ALWAYS OTHER THREADS on Harriet that sat, virtually untouched, and wide open for discussion. The whiners never went to these OTHER threads–they just went on the lively discussions, and rather than contributing to them, complained about the “air-space.” This was NOT an etiquette or good manners or community issue whatsoever–and Harriet knows it.”

    Christopher

  7. thomasbrady said,

    November 10, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    HERE’S WHAT TRAVIS NICHOLS ACTUALLY WROTE:

    Hey Nick,
    I definitely hear you, but I don’t think there’s a formal solution to the problem you’re presenting. We have a couple different formatting changes in the works that I think will help people skip past commentary they have a stated distaste for, but beyond that the only way the discussion becomes valuable for people is if they participate in it.

    It’s a big responsibility in a lot of ways, and I completely understand using your time for other things, but I, for one, would greatly appreciate you hanging around and offering up your two cents from time to time. It can get a bit cult-like in here (let’s go ahead and talk about it like a room; it feels that way sometimes, like when you’re in a room just trying to read or write down a thought or enjoy a meal and some guy at the next table is going on and on and ON (sheesh!) about his medical experiences or his politics or how he totally almost scored on his last date, and it’s all you can do to not start yelling or making some kind of gag out of napkins and notepads and endpapers or just thinking the world is a terrible no good very bad place full of asshats and douchebags (as they say) . . . but, you know, really it’s not like that. All the time. Is it? Maybe it is. But it doesn’t have to be.), and simple one or two sentence sober thoughts can cut through the funk very nicely. As you have done upthread, I think.

    So a plea for you–and for others reading and thinking of chiming in but holding back for fear of the cow patty hammer or whatever: don’t leave. Your presence will help make things better. Promise. Maybe we can come up with a rewards system. Free candy for pithy on-point commentary!

    -Travis

    PS: Clearly, no candy for me this round.
    POSTED BY: TRAVIS NICHOLS ON JULY 8, 2009 AT 9:00 AM

    ~

    So hey, let’s look at this:

    After Nick writes, “there are certain sorts of people…”

    certain sorts of people…??

    And then Nick tars ‘certain sorts of people’ with his brush and then announces he’s leaving in a huff…

    Travis responds:

    Hey Nick,

    Hey Nick –note the familiar tone...Hey Nick…

    I definitely hear you, but I don’t think there’s a formal solution to the problem you’re presenting.

    I definitely hear you…in other words I completely ascribe to your ‘certain sorts of people’ tone of bitchiness and disrespect…

    but I don’t think there’s a formal solution… immediately Travis jumps from the bitchy complaint to…oh how can we come up with a solution to make things better for Nick…

    Why does Travis have to jump when Nick says jump? How does Nick suddenly become the authority here?

    We have a couple different formatting changes in the works that I think will help people skip past commentary they have a stated distaste for, but beyond that the only way the discussion becomes valuable for people is if they participate in it.

    And now Travis slips in something that’s actually an intelligent and proper response to Nick (the angry and the deluded) THE ONLY WAY THE DISCUSSION BECOMES VALUABLE FOR PEOPLE IS IF THEY PARTICIPATE IN IT.

    Bravo, Travis! Where did that come from? If only this had been Travis’ sole reply, the world might be different…

    HEY NICK, THE ONLY WAY THE DISCUSSION BECOMES VALUABLE FOR PEOPLE IS IF THEY PARTICPATE IN IT.

    But alas, Travis did not respond thusly, and, to please Nick, launched into the following:

    It’s a big responsibility in a lot of ways, and I completely understand using your time for other things, but I, for one, would greatly appreciate you hanging around and offering up your two cents from time to time. It can get a bit cult-like in here (let’s go ahead and talk about it like a room; it feels that way sometimes, like when you’re in a room just trying to read or write down a thought or enjoy a meal and some guy at the next table is going on and on and ON (sheesh!) about his medical experiences or his politics or how he totally almost scored on his last date, and it’s all you can do to not start yelling or making some kind of gag out of napkins and notepads and endpapers or just thinking the world is a terrible no good very bad place full of asshats and douchebags (as they say) . . . but, you know, really it’s not like that. All the time. Is it? Maybe it is. But it doesn’t have to be.), and simple one or two sentence sober thoughts can cut through the funk very nicely. As you have done upthread, I think.

    Now Travis makes this weird analogy…posting on a blog is compared to sitting in a restaurant and TRYING TO READ while a conversation is going on at the next table… Huh???? Oh…so Nick WAS TRYING TO READ…and Christopher, you and I were TALKING…so he couldn’t READ… LOL

    So a plea for you–and for others reading and thinking of chiming in but holding back for fear of the cow patty hammer or whatever: don’t leave.

    holding back for fear of the cow patty hammer…?

    Yea…it’s called a METAPHOR, Travis…why would someone FEAR that?

    What’s to fear in another’s words and opinions? ANY discussion on the web offers the SAME THREE RESPONSES, cow patty hammer or not, Travis. You 1. agree, you 2. disagree, or you 3. ignore comment X, –or some combination thereof.

    That’s it! Simple! You can ALWAYS do this–unless you are censored. These are ALWAYS the choices, whether Christopher Woodman and Thomas Brady are part of the discussion, or not.

    Travis? Nick? You know this, don’t you?

    Let me say it once more. In ANY discussion, you only have 3 choices: Agree, disagree, ignore. These are ALWAYS the choices–no matter who you are having a discussion with. It doesn’t matter if Woodman or Brady are in the discussion, or not. These are the 3 choices one ALWAYS has.

    Your presence will help make things better. Promise. Maybe we can come up with a rewards system. Free candy for pithy on-point commentary!

    -Travis

    Chrisopher, I think Travis owes us a lot of candy.