I stand by everything I said both to and about Vincent (specifically in my post after he bid adieu), and I don't really have anything to say on those issues beyond that.
Frankly, I would have been happy if he stayed around. He just proposed what should have been a new topic, and it seemed like he half wanted to participate . . . although it became quite clear he wasn't really here to share and humble himself to our level.
I have no objection to arguing or discussing poetry with conservatives or insiders. None at all. But I am not going to censor my opinions. I think that's not a worthwhile approach for this forum and the topics discussed here.
Also, I'm the one always throwing around the word dissent, and I stand by what I said. From the OED:
• verb 1 express disagreement with a prevailing or official view. 2 disagree with the doctrine of an established or orthodox Church.
• noun the holding or expression of a dissenting view.
— ORIGIN Latin dissentire ‘differ in sentiment’.
Vincent, from what I have seen, was expressing views that were "prevailing", "official", "established", and "orthodox". It is my understanding of the connotation of the word dissent (as the definition above supports) that it is reserved for disagreements with views that are "prevailing", "official", "established", and "orthodox", and is not normally applied to the disagreement of those who hold views "prevailing", "official", "established", and "orthodox" with those who dissented against such views (as Vincent himself claimed).
Of course, no one holds a patent on dissent, but it is one of the only tools of the disempowered, of the outsider. It is a moral tool; it's not belligerent in nature. It's merely the disagreement of the disenfranchised outsider with the way she/he is treated by the empowered insider. It's up to all of us to have the integrity to make our dissent as valid and potent as it can be . . . but we are not gods, not flawless. We will surely fall victim to being human. But this doesn't invalidate either our dissent or our inclination to dissent.
As for the value of dissent, I have personally found Noam Chomsky both enlightening and moving (despite his rationalism), and would highly recommend the reading of his writings or the partaking of his many interviews, primarily for their excellence, but very secondarily, to orient oneself to my usage of the term dissent and my other "revolutionary rhetoric" (much of which is cribbed from Chomsky) should it confuse or fall into vaguery.
One last thing regarding Vincent. I took offense at the manner he chose to interact with me (i.e., by pretending I didn't exist and was not worth replying to). I pointed this out to him, and predictably, he said nothing.
I intend to stick around, at least until I'm voted off the island. I'm not going to scurry off into a little burrow of moralistic security, spewing condescension over my shoulder as I leave. I am flatly saying that I am not better than anyone here in any way, nor do I feel like I am wasting my time spent here. I see us all as equals who may have differing background and opinions, but who share an interest in the subject of poetry and the culture surrounding it.
Beyond that, debate, disagreement, and argument can only serve the good. Tempers may even flare and a few insults will be hurled. This happens. But insults are really of little significance. Sweeping dismissals, on the other hand, are supremely arrogant and offensive.
We need to welcome allies from all quarters.
Kate, I think allies of any inclination should be welcomed (and have been for the most part), but when someone asks us to accept him/her on the condition that we sacrifice our critical integrity and any right whatsoever to opinions that do not accord with his/hers, then I for one do not call this person an ally.
I would love to see po-profs and PoBiz insiders jumping ship and slumming it with us unwashed heathens, but before these hypothetical allies do this, they will have to become either dissenters themselves or at least become capable of tolerating and considering the dissent of others. One thing I feel adamant about is that we should tolerate no condescension and power politicking from the holy insiders who have sojourned here to save our souls and convert us to the one true religion of Po.
So if any true allies from the biz ever show up, I would love to plot with them how to take back poetry from the inside.
Therefore, would those indulging their worst natures with ad hom vitriolics and adversarial us-and-them orthodoxy, please put a sock in it!?
If we end up resorting to name calling instead of useful argument (which can
be vitriolic, adversarial, demonstrative, parodic, satirical, even absurd) we are only harming ourselves and the good that Alan has done, but no sock should ever be stuffed in anyone’s mouth, no matter how outraged the rhetoric it spews. We need our outrage, our vitriol, our dissent. Without them, we are neutered and silenced. That’s what the rhetoric of power wants, and I am quite happy to see our civil disobedience raging away. Some may criticize Vincent, provoking you to criticize them in return, and then me to stand up for them/us in opposing your criticism . . . which strikes me as all good, all perfectly healthy. It’s a good community dynamic, especially since we are dealing with unanswerables much of the time.
Which is, of course, merely my opinion blubbering out, nary a sock in sight.