I wasn’t planning to get into Derek Walcott’s Big Adventure with the gossip brigade, which was so loudly trumpeted in this country by Seth Abramson on his blog—see here and here. Seth got his panties so much in a wad over the fact that blog readers disagreed with his position that he finally disabled comments on the latter entry. But here I am, bringing it all up—reluctantly….
I do so because the controversy is worth our continued attention in light of this commentary by Michael Deacon and this surprising, astute assessment by Nicole Kelby, the person who sued Boston University over Walcott’s behavior nearly three decades ago. Kelby says she is “appalled and saddened by the anonymous smear campaign against” Walcott. Will Abramson, who claimed that the campaign against Walcott was not a “smear,” now answer Kelby? We’ll see. It’s one thing to work up a froth over an issue, but quite another to acknowledge the complexities even those who were actually involved see in the situation.
Both Kelby and Deacon take the issue to a higher level—the one that centers on the educational value of giving students access to the person Kelby calls “the greatest living poet in our time.” I wonder if Abramson and the gossip brigade, who seem to have achieved their goal, ever bothered to give a minute’s thought to those students.