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Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Split with the Watchers of Weasels

I've been asked to leave the Watcher's Council, of which I've been a part since about this time in 2008.

This week I've nominated this piece on the Chicago poet Kevin Coval. Coval holds some strong opinions on Palestine and Israel and the Council doesn't agree with those opinions. I was told that by nominating this piece was "hitting a raw nerve" and "rubbing their faces in it."

Ironically enough, Coval himself has been uninvited from several scheduled performances for these views. More ironic however is this. In November of 2009, the Watcher's Council had this set of nominees. Included in the nominations was this piece by Michael Gaynor (we each nominate one of our own weekly and one from another source) That is a hit piece on ME. Council member Terry Trippany thought that was the best piece he'd read all week by outside sources.

In other words, writing a hit piece on a member of the council is appropriate but writing about a poet with anti Israel views hits a nerve and is worthy of being expelled. The audience can decide if that sounds right.

Here again is Coval's pinnacle performance.


AG said...

I'm sorry to hear about that. You put a lot of effort in to what you do and publish a lot of serious work. Its pretty sad that your colleagues felt you've become inappropriate to their group.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought interblog politics were a bit melodramatic (mmm, metablogging). Don't let it get to you. Turns out that when you put a group of people whose opinions are so strong that they feel compelled to regularly write about them that they will sometimes disagree vehemently with each other.

Keep writing. Speak your mind. Sometimes people will disagree. You knew that when you started writing.

mike volpe said...

I appreciate the kind words but this is no big deal. I have big things coming.

mike volpe said...

A member of the Watcher's Council just left a message that I denied. I want to make it clear it's not for content but because you used a swear word. If you want to try it again without the swear, it will be accepted.

mike volpe said...

Here's the comment...

It was not the Coval piece, which offended a number of us because it characterized a man convicted of funding terrorism as a "political prisoner". It was not that you are glorifying a promoter of terrorism in your piece. It was not even some of the devious little stuff that went on regarding its writing, posting, and nomination. We might have put up with that. Indeed, I even defended your right to make that nomination, as did most of the rest of us -- we simply were going to refuse to link it or vote for it.

No, Michael, the problem is that you are an arrogant, combative A$$hole. You have managed to alienate virtually every single one of us since you came on the Council. You are an incredibly talented writer, but unfortunately cannot take criticism of the positions you take. You are not merely defensive when someone disagrees with you, but you become insulting and offensive. We've just grown tired of putting up with it. it reached the point that discussions on the in-house mailing list for the Council did not happen because no one wanted to get into another argument with you. Frankly, it was either get rid of you or get rid of the rest of us.

The issue of being "self-hating" came up recently, and arose again during the discussion yesterday regarding your nomination and yourself. I commented as follows in one email to the rest of the Council -- "as far as Michael being self-hating, I'd find that to be psychologically healthy, given his character. The problem is that he is so lacking in self-awareness that he lacks the contempt for Michael Volpe that many of the rest of us have come to have." No one rose to your defense in that context.

You burned your bridges with us, just as you did at Big Government. That makes me sad. I used to think very highly of you, and consider you a friend. I used to value your insights. But an anger and bitterness and hostility has emerged of late that makes it impossible for me -- and the bulk of the Council -- to have the sort of relationship with you we once did. I hope that maybe that can change some day.


Just so everyone understands, I've never actually met anyone in the council. I do however like to argue, but how someone can make personal judgments about someone they've never met is interesting.

Again, I've never actually met Greg from Rhymes with Right. We only communicate through email and all of this he gathered from those communications.

Rhymes With Right said...

No, Michael, I won't try again. Your need to comment as you did on the denial proves that my single use of a vernacular term for the orifice from which one defecates was apt -- and is typical of your manner on the in-house mailing list, which was at the heart of why there was a groundswell of support for the notion of removing you, something that has never happened in my five years with the Council.

Anonymous said...

What irony.

This Rhymes with Right person makes a hateful and arrogant rant in which he accuses you of being arrogant and hateful.

I think that's an example of it takes one to know one and also of you can dish it out but you can't take it.

If you really hate arrogance and hate, best to start with yourself and then move on to criticizing others about it.

Also, Mike has disclaimer that swear words aren't allowed and that's why I think he had that note.