Lizardheads, Harpies, Shills, and Ignoramuses: A Nauseating Observation on Relevance, Validation, and Malfeasance
Recently I joined a group. A discussion group on Facebook. The plan was to watch and read and possibly comment on what was being said. The group itself was suspect in my mind. A group initially put together for and by artists. Some call it a union. Some call it a trade group. Some call it worthless. Some call it home. I call it not worth one red cent in my opinion from any self-respecting genuine artist that participates in art fairs.
I have been banned from 2 other discussion groups on the internet in the last couple of years. My plan was not to get banned from a third group. I am not embarrassed that I was banned from the two groups, in fact I am not surprised at all and I wear the banned label with pride as an artist and a writer. I know in my heart of hearts I was banned from one group for not being nice. The other was because I did not possess the smug quotient necessary to fit in with the active members and administrators. Fair enough on both counts – they are private discussion groups/forums with their own agendi. My plan for participation in this particular group was to hold back and see what would happen if I merely showed up and made relatively benign comments toward whatever I may see that might possibly raise an alarm in my own mind regarding the implementation of some kind of standard-bearing for all artists that participate in art fairs.
Based on being banned from two groups and the material I have read and discussed over the last 5-10 years, I was not convinced that an artist who does not run with the lemmings and speaks up when something doesn’t seem “right” would not be welcome in an “inclusive” environment such as an alleged trade group where some members allegedly could have a track record of being not nearly as inclusive as they claim. I believe that if a narrow-minded group became the stamp of approval for all artists – the results could be chilling if not a disaster for artists as well as lovers of art.
Additionally, some people in this particular discussion group were also members in another forum I helped start with an ex-foe on yet another discussion board. We were noticing that people were joining our discussion group, The Corner Booth, and making outrageous comments and claims. One of the cornerstones of our group was and is that we would not censor anyone for what they posted on the site frankly because censorship – not vigorous debate – but 1984-style censorship is the antithesis to freethinking and the beginning of the end to any artistic endeavor in our minds and in the minds of major members of the group. This quickly degenerated and spiraled downward into really odd posts being made that seem to focus on attempting to get deleted from our site. We stuck to our original plan and did not censor or ban anyone. The response to our above board answer to their behavior was a cacaphony of wails from these same people as they insisted censorship was indeed occurring in sheep’s clothing – because people such as myself and various other members took the taunting posts to task and met them with intelligence, logic, humor, and wit.
At no time was any post deleted or banned.
As of this writing, to the best of my knowledge – no one has been deleted, censored, or banned from thecornerbooth.proboards.com or from The Corner Booth’s Facebook group page. I am proud of this accomplishment. I am not implying in any way that any ridiculous or misguided or taunting post was not met with a robust if not overwhelming response, but it was never said or implied that a post could be made without consequences. Nonetheless, all taunting posts, all accusatory statements, all misguided submissions – remain on our threads and hang on the walls of the site like dirty laundry for all to see, even you Gentle Reader – simply go to the site and ask to join the group.
In light of our experience in The Corner Booth, my plan remained fairly neutral: experience what they talk about, assess what was being said, respond with the least amount of intervention possible, and see what happens.
I am disgusted as an artist with what I witnessed.
. . . continued