Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ms. Q. doesn't like it when people disagree with her opinions

In a postscript to her post about sonnets, Sina Queyras says:

(Note: a wee thorn attached itself to this post below. The editor of Jailbreaks, the anthology of sonnets mentioned briefly above, apparently doesn't like it when anyone else has opinion...there's room for everyone...isn't there?)

Note again the rhetorical question, designed to make Ms. Q. look broad-minded and inclusive and folks like yours truly look like power-playing tyrants of literature and the blogosphere. Oh, could we all be so warm and welcoming, what a wonderful cyber-world it would be.

In point of fact, I love it when other people have opinions. It's one of my favourite things, along with kittens and ritual dismemberments. I've been something of an advocate for, and facilitator of, other people's opinions. As I stated in my previous post about this matter, I often publish reviews containing opinions I don't agree with. I do this in part because I like the intellectual exercise of disagreeing with an opinion, but mainly because I think opinions in general are important, particularly in a society that aspires towards democracy. And because I think opinions are important, I think they should be taken seriously. I strongly dislike opinionation that is dishonest, ill-judged, uninformed and otherwise misbegotten. (I also dislike anonymous flaming, but that's another story.) I've turned down reviews that struck me as such and I've worked with reviewers to correct such faults whenever possible.

So no, Ms. Q., I don't hate that you have an opinion. I just think your opinion, in this matter, isn't worth the HTML that encrypts it. I think it's intellectually lazy (those rhetorical questions are a bad habit for a critic to cultivate), coloured by unacknowledged personal bias, based on apparently little knowledge and that it attempts to conscript a third party's (mistaken) opinion for a cause it clearly doesn't espouse. I think using the word "sameness" to describe the content of Jailbreaks is risible and doesn't stand up to the most cursory cross-check. (Or, as contributor Stuart Ross has said, "I didn't think I'd ever see myself in the same anthology as Archibald Lampman!") But that's just my opinion, eh. You like it when other people have opinions, right?


Anonymous said...

But can one ever really leave rhetorical questions behind?

Zachariah Wells said...

Good one.

Megan said...

What? You didn't spam her with personal insults, demand that she be fired, and accuse her of having a negative bias?

I thought that was the way writers respond to criticism.