Over two weeks ago, someone who won't be named here alerted me to a conversation of Facebook (one I wasn't invited to) started by G. Murray Thomas on a blog post of mine about Murray needing to disclose close connections to small presses when he reviews books by poets from those small presses on Poetix.net. The conversation started out reasoned and intelligent (giving thanks to Murray, who I have often disagreed with), then turned to personal attacks at my expense. In a way, I deserve being hit with metaphorical baseball bats on occasion when I've said things (on this blog and elsewhere) that go beyond professional disagreements about poetry and poets. But some of the comments made (by people in the LA/OC communities past and present) veered into a ditch filled with barbed-wire. I will provide excerpts below, with most names named:
"And we care about Terry McCarthy's opinion because...? Oh, yes, he's been SUCH a positive force in the community."--Richard Beban (Hyperpoets reading co-founder)
".. I do not see anyone asking for his opinion for reviews, because he has no clout to back them up...and that is the exact reason that his blog commentary is harassment at best."--Lob Instagon (ex-Orange County)
"Let's throw rotten kumquats at the guy! Murray you rock!"--Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo
"I'm now picturing a certain someone as an unfunny Rodney Dangerfield. This amuses me."-- Ben Trigg (co-host of OC's long-running Two Idiots Peddling Poetry reading)
"And I for one would pay good money to see a grudge match between [person who made first comment]and whats-his-name [me]." (Matthew Mars, formerly known as Matthew Niblock--co-editor of deceased poetry publication BLUE SATELLITE)
" [Name deleted], he's the reason you don't hang out with the poetry community anymore? My dislike of him has moved to hate."--Ben Trigg
And finally, from a person no longer living in LA/OC I barely knew--and thought I got along with--over a decade ago:
"Clearly in person this fellow is unpleasant. (I have been accused of the same, BTW). His blog, however, seems somewhat confused, vague, and timid. I didn't see an "attack" on you so much as a complaint that you didn't like his stuff (this was implied). How does this guy get 27,000 hits on this blog? It's not nearly as interesting as my old [poetry website] reports. Ahem"--former Orange County poet/musician Mark Corwin "MC" Bruce.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are actual poets who believe in "community."