Recognizing the apparent diversity of opinion on this evolving thread, I
did want to preface part of what I said with "For my part." To be honest
(which does not, possible objections from elsewhere notwithstanding, mean
that other statements are not honest), I am not ready to concur with you
regarding "much language that has been hateful, untrue, " etc., unless it
were on a case by case basis. Often enough the posts (I'm not sure how we
mean it when we say "language is hateful") that I find baseless, or
abusive, or perhaps just superficial, or just wrong--other people find
intelligent and academically sound. So with all respect to the careful
attention that (as I see it) characterizes your own posts, I don't know
what to do with this one except to say it is apparently not so easy to say
all of these strings of words over here are abusive, and all of these over
here are intelligent. I'd like to think that discussion would reveal, among
other things, which is which (and that they are not the same), but the
discussion itself, it seems to me, will include some language that some
feel to be objectionable.
Peter's statement I didn't find objectionable. His point, wasn't it, was
that John's statement was in bad taste, or at any rate (since that term for
the moment belongs to you) that it made as much sense as it would to put on
blackface, etc. I have to agree with Michelle. The bad taste here seems to
be in the ears of those who take it that way. And, from my point of view,
the decision to launch the big stones was as I described it.
I expect, however, that "those who take it that way" are as convinced of
their rightness, or attached to it, as I am pretty sure that they are
wrong. What to do? Here we are to talk about a poet the perception of whose
poetry depends in part (in great part it more and more looks) on
understanding just this phenomenon, this property of language if you will.
At least we are (from my point of view and for the moment) on topic now.