My Two Cents (or More) on a Recent Controversy - Joe Flach's Blog

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First I was me,

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My Two Cents (or More) on a Recent Controversy

Blog Posted:1/5/2013 12:23:00 PM

I recently posted a poem that may be the source of some subsequent discussions on PS rules and what constitutes sexually explicit and/or pornographic material (I don’t want to be too presumptuous).  I know there are already a couple other blogs on this topic to which I could have posted, but I want to clarify a few things and my response would be too long on those blogs.

Regarding the poem in question:  I have received a handful of comments suggesting that there is nothing wrong with that poem; a couple comments suggesting that I may have gone a little over the top; and, one comment suggesting that it is vile and disgusting pornography. I have not heard anything from Team PS about the poem as yet.  Of course, I have no way of knowing how many people started reading it and then moved on, without comment, because they were offended or found the poem unsuitable for this site – I will accept that there may be some of those.

The poem remains up as originally posted – not to take a stand or anything, I will gladly delete or change it if that is what Team PS requests (or even a number of PS members), but just so anyone who is interested can see the poem in its original state to which some had a problem, so you can form your own opinion.  Whereas, I do support freedom of speech, the PoetrySoup web site is not where I would take my stand on this topic.  I have no problem conforming to the rules of this site and the decisions made by its administrators.

For what it is worth, what bothers me somewhat is the tact taken by the individual who was offended by my poem.  That individual left a vulgar comment on the poem and then blogged a rather inflammatory article singling me out by name.  There is a question whether or not my poem violated any PS rules – that individual’s reaction, without question, violates a number of the rules.  To be fair, the individual (or someone) has since updated the poem comment, removing the vulgarities – and, I do appreciate that. 
Had the person with a concern simply reached out to me as an individual, indicating they were uncomfortable with the contents of the poem and concerned for younger readers that may come across it, I would very likely have removed or changed the poem.  I know
that that is easy for me to say now, without having been faced with that situation – but, I did post it originally with some hesitation and therefore, am inclined to believe I would have removed it if such a public attack on it and me was not the first tact taken.

Again – I am not trying to take a stand or make a point with this poem or in keeping it posted.  I wish to make a point however, that there may have been a more civil way to
share one’s displeasure with the poem that could have avoided such controversy
in the first place.  Ironically enough, the individual’s actions, rather than keeping this “pornography” from being read, has resulted in 4 times the amount of views to this poem than my normal postings get.  For that, maybe I should be thanking them.

I do not feel like I am in a fight with this individual or anyone else.  I hope we can amicably resolve this issue, have the controversy play out and go away, and continue to be a nice, happy family here on PS and simply chalk this up as a learning opportunity.  I have posted over 800 poems on this site – I guess, sooner or later, I was bound to
offend someone.  And, for having done that, I do wish to say, to that and any other offended readers, I am sorry that my poem may have caused you some discomfort.

If you made it to the end of this long-winded blog, thanks for hearing me out.

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Date: 1/7/2013 8:18:00 AM
Joe, I can agree with your not taking a stand on freedom of speech on me it is about freedom of expression/anti-censorship of the arts). That is where I go wrong sometimes. I start taking a stand on the whole censorship thing, but obviously TPS owns and runs the site, and it is their decision to make. I simply felt that the approach said poet took, was very underhanded, especially with the additional blog. I was curious to see wot sort of publicity(lol)your poem has been receiving, and noticed how after the poet had a Hitler-baby episode(it could be partially excused by a mix-up or wrong dosage of medication), making a public fool of himself, the entire episode was supposedly a mind-game "experiment" on his part. Yeah right....a lame attempt of him trying to save face.
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Flach Avatar
Joe Flach
Date: 1/7/2013 10:54:00 AM
Yeah, Chris. Sometimes we can pick our battles and our battle-sites. Sometimes we can't help ourselves but to let it all out when we boil over. I am not sure which bothers more, the original rant or the explanation that I was just a tool in thier game. Whatever! I am not oppossed to allowing face to be saved in the name of putting a problem to rest. Lord knows, I've made plenty of mistakes myself from which others have allowed me a graceful exit.
Date: 1/6/2013 9:31:00 PM
it is normal to have and write a poem filled with sex or passion. I have a haiku in which is naughty. I' had a sex haiku contest in which 35 poets broke the ink in their pen, and entered sexy and sexual and nasty images. I'm wondering why many have things to say, if more than half of the entries had steaming hot super sexual images in which make your poem look innocent.
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Ivy D Avatar
Sandy Ivy D
Date: 1/6/2013 9:33:00 PM
what I'm trying to say, poets seen the word SEXY in one of my contest. In which closed in a weeks moment. Boy' many poets entered a haiku rapidly. Doesn't that tell you WE The POETS' are ready to write about sex. just a thought.
Date: 1/6/2013 9:25:00 PM
Joe here's a note i left on your poem. Continued: with a P.S. everyone knows if you attach (adults only) to you poem. You are only inviting curious minds like children and young adults. Think about it. That is the truth. US adults are full of this reality and will pass up such a title by choice. However, a young mind will be curious and click on the poem. So ask yourself whom are you really inviting to read this adult rated poem? In which invites a full image to the wild imagination. There is nothing discreet about the poem. It is what it is a sex poem unrestrained. Please do not get me wrong it is a very lovely poem. By the way, I did love the poem. Thank you for the invite to your poem by posting it. Love SandyIvy
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Flach Avatar
Joe Flach
Date: 1/6/2013 9:48:00 PM
Thanks Sandy, I appreciate your input and understand your point completely.
Date: 1/5/2013 6:39:00 PM
Check out Into You by Dean LOL yours is tame LOL
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Roberts Avatar
Francine Roberts
Date: 1/5/2013 7:35:00 PM
Mr. Deans poem made "fifty shades of grey" look tame
Date: 1/5/2013 5:51:00 PM
I thank you all for your comments and your understanding. Again, I am not trying to make people take sides or anything - I am in the middle of this controversy unintentionally. The poem was not meant to test or challenge any rules - its just what was in my pen at the time I put it to paper. I am a man - thoughts about sex are always running around my mind - only seldom do I let them escape into my poetry and I try to do so in a subtle, non offensive way. I thought a couple lines in this poem may have pushed the envelop - but I did not expect any big problems as a result. Besides - not many people read my poetry so I did not suspect it to suprise anyone. Thanks again for weighing in.
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Date: 1/5/2013 4:51:00 PM
Joe, things were rushed here this morning and this weekend is crazy-busy, but I managed to read your SENSUAL and POETIC ART! I enjoyed how WELL IT WAS CRAFTED! Some well turned lines, there. ... especially the hands part! His/her switcheroo. MAGIC! I had no idea what the whole thing was about when I wrote my blog! I was trying to understand what the 'limits' are to ensure that nobody gets a surprise deletion ... we can only follow rules that are spelled out clearly. I also would not want to see someone "made an example." What worries me is that someone who has penned a really fantastic poem like yours may be chastised... it deserves compliments! Hugs Cyndi
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Date: 1/5/2013 4:43:00 PM
as a parent I think any child over 13 knew what your poem meant, what they see on t.v. and read in books is a heck of a lot more graphic. What I did find offensive was the vulgarity used in the comment section by the same individual who used your name in his rightous blog, thereby breaking 2 soup rules himself ( no swearing, do not use anyones name in a blog negatively) So if TPS is supposed to slap you on the hand then I assume he deserves the same. And seriously if he thinks that was pornography he needs to get out of the monastery once in awhile.... my two cents worth
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Date: 1/5/2013 2:02:00 PM
you'd be surprised, joe, how many people enjoy taking offence at things, if it's not one thing it's something else; we're rapidly turning into a suppressed society, afraid to express ourselves for fear of upsetting or offending someone, and censorship of the arts is just another stepping stone along that road...if this is the first controversy you've sparked after posting 800 poems I'd say that's pretty good going! continue to express all that you are creatively! :-)
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