Some of you may have stumbled across this on Daniela's blog..
Since the usual pattern that I’ve seen with these sort of things (ie anytime anyone dares to disagree or criticize anything that CJ Laity seems to do) typically ends with him twisting you’ve everything said around to suit his own purposes and make himself out to be the victim(SEE COMMENTS BELOW), I initially refrained from responding to his little jab about my weight. It seemed so puerile, so junior high, and, hell, sort of sad and pathetic that all he could think to level at me was a criticism about my appearance. Not to mention sort of ineffective if he intended to be hurtful, since I pretty much got over any sort of body issues in my early twenties, and having decided that, indeed, since I am a girl who likes to eat, to accept my body whatever it’s size, shape, etc. So being overweight, not really an issue for me. So it was pretty laughable to find that that’s what the argument had been reduced to. Really, almost not any more worth of a response than a wild-eyed ranting man on the corner yelling at everyone as they pass by who calls me a bitch because I won’t give him a dollar. What my body weight has to do with poetry or the calendar blog, I just don’t get… And seriously, wow, who knew as a "young overweight woman" I had so much power to put down "the older man"...perhaps I should add that to our mission statement..
He seems somehow to think that there is this vast conspiracy against him, but, really, I have my own distinct reasons for wanting to avoid him (see here and here). Note: his comments have conveniently been deleted, but you can see some of the tone of it if you follow the initial Time Out Chicago Blog link.) Seriously, no one told me he was a bully because I saw it for myself, several times. Numerous times,actually, and with more people than I can count. This imaginary vast conspiracy? I’m sure everyone, no matter which crowd you hang out with in Chicago, probably has something to say about their bad interactions with him. But I tend to form my own opinions about people regardless of what others say. If he wants to continue to think everyone is out to get him, that’s his choice. Mostly I think everyone just tries to ignore him and go about their business. But sometimes, it’s hard to ignore the hatred masked as “news”. My biggest problem with his site, is the negativity he seems to propagate and thrive on, which was my impetus in thinking maybe there was another way, a better less hate filled way to get poetry news out locally. After seeing him rip people apart during that Small Press Month tirade, again and again, I wanted something infinitely less negative, more open to varying view points, to all different little corners of the Chi Po world, which I thought a group blog would do. It’s not really my blog any more than it is anyone else’s on the contributors list, or anyone else who wants to contribute for that matter. An alternative to the maliciousness, the bullshit, the gossip. I sent invitations to join to every single contact in my address book that edited a journal, ran a press, or a litmag, or would have news of some sort, and the people who joined were the ones who responded. His claim on the phrase “chicago poetry” is absolutely ridiculous . What else is one going to a calendar blog that lists readings and such. The Topeka Poetry Daily. ? But it’s what can be expected I suppose from someone who seems to think he has ownership of "chicago poetry". I also don’t get how it seems that I’m copying or stealing from him when the layout and format of the sites are entirely different, the general tone entirely different (we don’t really feel the need to insult the people whose events we are listing, grandstand, or otherwise be a petty and childish.) And believe me, the blog is hardly trying to benefit from his “fame” in fact, I think it would probably like to get as far away that sort of “fame” as possible.
I’m also not sure how I managed to push out other people from the Small Press Showcase, since I had absolutely nothing to do with the planning besides saying “yes” when asked to be a part of it. Did I call him crazy? Yes, apparently I did... I really have no idea whether he actually is, in the rest of his life certifiably insane or not (only those close to him can testify to that. I do not know him well enough to say ) When you are maliciously bashing people at every turn, have delusions of grandeur about being the sole voice and possessor of “chicago poetry”, and spend all your time thinking up ways to rile people up. Yes, that is CRAZY. There is no excuse for it.
Anyhow, I just wanted to chime in my 2 cents and thank all the bloggers that have offered their take on this…There is an interesting discussion in there somewhere on how the female body becomes fodder for discussion in a way that a male’s never does..sadly, I think we’re barking up the wrong tree however if we’re in want of rational discourse with this one..
In the end, he can crack fat jokes till he's blue in the face...the logical solution is to just ignore him til he redirects his rage against the next person on his little list, the next person who disagrees or looks at him funny.
But now that I think about it, the more we talk about it, the more he gets to make an ass of himself in public..so really it's a win/win.