Minding Manners

Within minutes of posting a message about a poetry issue in the UK, I was inundated with nasty personal messages.  One poet said she was "disgusted" by me.  Goodness, and I was only recommending we try and get along.  Apparently, poets are not immune to the dangerous attractions of instant messaging and the Internet.  But, as I have said before, we need to be good to each other, and to try to reign in the ad hominem attacks.  I can only imagine what it would be like to be one of the offenders in this whole PoSoc debacle, if a mere bystander can get so spammed and reviled.  This is why I have removed the earlier posts on the matter from this week.  I have no wish to continue being a part of this.  There are enough parties on both sides to handle it at this stage.

Comments

Jessica Maybury said…
awww I wanted to see the drama. Or even know what the PoSoc is. Things keep happening that I feel I should know about!
Let's all forget about the damn PoSoc, go back to the grass roots and get creative!
Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

You really need to take a leaf out of my my book and avoid other poets like the proverbial plague. I know from bitter personal experience that a significant minority of them are seriously unbalanced!

Best wishes from Simon
Penelope Shuttle said…
Dear Dennis, If we forget all about the Poetry Society how are we going to fund the many grass roots projects that the PocSoc is currently managing, and of which it has such a great track record of supporting? I am thinking in particular of its essential work with young poets. Much of the current crisis is to do with funding. ACE is holding back its grant until good governance returns to the Poetry Society. At present good governance is not in place. This is the view of ACE. It is also the view of a significant number of the members of the Society. Regards, Penelope.
Jon said…
Er, Todd, you said: "I am disgusted by the lack of respect for our peers and colleagues."

Why is someone saying they're disgusted by you anything other than tit for tat? I'm not disgusted by you but be fair.

Jessica, Dennis and Simon - this is, sad to say, a very important and difficult issue, which a lot of reasonable, fair-minded people have weighed in on. It's not a spat where everyone has lost control and it's not a witch-hunt. It's very easy to sit back and say, "Oh, let's avoid all the nonsense or laugh at the bickering poets", but I'm afraid to say it's not the reasonable or fair response. Fortunately, there are some very reliable and decent people working very hard - on both the inside and outside - to get this mess sorted out.
vazambam said…
Todd,

Spoken like a true gentleman--let the rabble drag themselves even deeper into the morass!
Todd Swift said…
Jon, there is a very big difference between saying "I am disgusted by behaviour" which is not aimed at any individual, and someone writing "Jon I am disgusted with you". One targets the sin, the other the sinner, as it were.
Ian said…
Would have assumed a difference like that didn't need pointing out for poets, whose business is after all trafficking in words.
OK, Penelope, Jon and others, I admit I overreacted to the crisis in my post above. The administration of the Poetry Society might have been bad over the last few months, but some people are clearly trying to sort things out. I hope the PS can carry on working in the mean time.
Jon said…
"Jon, there is a very big difference between saying "I am disgusted by behaviour" which is not aimed at any individual, and someone writing "Jon I am disgusted with you". One targets the sin, the other the sinner, as it were."

Not sure that's a material distinction, Todd. Anyone saying they're disgusted with you necessarily means they're disgusted with something you've done or said, ie. your behaviour. They don't literally mean they're disgusted by, say, your entire being or your state of existence - that would be rather odd!

So the way I see it, you said you were disgusted by a collective behaviour and someone has retorted and said they're disgusted by your behaviour. The only real difference is that your disgust was with actions taken by a broad swathe of people, rather than an individual.

I think the best way you can put it is to say that you felt the poster attacking you was intending to be hurtful, whereas you were intending to defend someone. Without seeing that poster's message, I couldn't say whether that was right or wrong.
Todd Swift said…
Jon, your point doesn't make sense. It is rude to call a person disgusting. It is not wrong to call an act disgusting. There is no comparison between saying "eating worms is disgusting" and "I am disgusted with you, Pat". You may infer that Pat is eating worms, occasioning the disgust. Anyway, this is getting silly. You seem to want to imply someone was justified in being disgusted with me. Maybe best to move on.
Jon said…
Maybe. I just don't see the distinction is anything more than semantic. If you said "I am disgusted with you, Pat" in direct response to Pat eating worms in front of you, that seems to me exactly the same sentiment as saying, "Eating worms is disgusting, Pat." Poor Pat feels the brunt of your disgust either way.
Anonymous said…
oh yes...if only all that energy, angst and time had been used to write poems....might be best thing if P S. simply ceased to exist...