I've Copied The Thread Jim

The Ciro-Tarot logo of the Facebook group, Tarotholics Anonymous, a "support group for Tarot Readers and those involved somehow in the industry". To learn that my critique of Ciro-Tarot was counted as a personal attack was not surprising, but it confirms again the point that "the industry" is really not about Tarot, but about protecting the profitable, and stupid, exploitation of Tarot.
Here we shall explore a certain dynamic, a kind of default spiritual constipation that has always afflicted Tarot forums and discussions of Tarot that have any potential to address interesting matters, and which in the process might do some feather-ruffling of the self-anointed Tarot luminaries.

Yesterday, I posted some links to my republished article, "What is Tarot Art?". If you have read this article, you know it is, in large part, a somewhat unflattering look at the wiles and guiles of two, puffed-up, Tarot-product pushers.

In most venues in which I posted a link to this article, some people acknowledged it, maybe liked it, and for most it passed them by without encouraging much comment. It is after all about 25 pages of my esoteric deconstruction of the pile of goofy standard assumptions and bigotry peddled by people who hate Tarot occultism.

Interestingly, on a Facebook group, entitled Tarotaholics Anonymous (really, that's the name), which was adorned with the artwork of Ciro Marchetti, they wanted to talk about the article.

I was not particularly surprised about this. I was figuring, given that I was critiquing Marchetti's comments and his (alleged) Tarots, that perhaps Ciro would have some friends at a Tarot recovery group.

Now, you have to understand, that on many Tarot forums, the intellectual fix is in. For one thing, they don't want any intellectual discussion of Tarot at all, because that bores to death the people in recovery—who mostly just want cigs and cartoons.

But, in addition, you have to protect the feelings of the luminaries, who every once in a while might bless the benighted with a comment or a wave of the hand, like Queen Elizabeth waving her old farts in your face as she passes by.

You can't have that happy situation operating if some malcontent is posting things like "What is Tarot Art?". I mean, it upsets the marketeers.

So, most Tarot groups have warnings about making "personal attacks", which in practice means you can't actually say anything critical at all about people and their works. If you allowed that, after all, the makers and peddlers might not want to come on your group, or show.

The same problem afflicts our political interview programs, where politicians get softball questions, which they either answer with scripted talking points, or which they ignore. Their constituencies after all, i.e. the corporations, and not the American people, certainly don't want any controversial discussions going on, and certainly none that might reflect badly on the plutocracy, and its inherent right to heinously oppress the majority.

So, it was not surprising when I saw the following response, from someone named Stephen Winick, on Tarotholics Anonymous to my article link:
"Honestly don't think you'll achieve anything with this piece...you devote most of the article to irrelevant criticism of Robert Place and Ciro Marchetti. You allege they are mentally incapable of even understanding Tarot, yet you spend the entire essay alternately criticizing and insulting them rather than making any argument about your alleged subject: what is Tarot art? You would influence more thinkers to consider your point of view if you included only criticisms of Place and Marchetti that are relevant to a larger point you are making‐‐a point you haven't yet made in this article."
So, I could only criticize Place and Marchetti, who had actually inspired the article I wrote, if I could come up with some other, larger, point than the one I allegedly hadn't made about Tarot art. This struck me as a bizarre rule of engagement, and I began to question Winick, particularly on the question of whether he had even bothered to read my article.

I raised this question when Winick decided it would be helpful for him to teach me an important lesson, in his view, by way of a truly silly story about student plagiarism. Winick advised me that one lesson I ought to learn from his story was that "sometimes, the art IS important." I pointed out to him that was actually one of the arguments I made in my article.

He expressed doubt this could be true, as he had "read [the] whole article relatively carefully", and just hadn't spotted any such message. He asked me if I could point it out to him, i.e. if I could save him the work of actually reading something he was erroneously claiming was deficient.

I then offered this critique of Winick, and his style:
You have shown a shiftlessness regarding your ability to pay attention, and concerning what is being argued, and now you wish to escape on that point by saying I have to adopt your notion of respect for others in order to make you want to get a dog.
The last point is a reference to the fact Winick had claimed he had no prejudice in the debate, as he "had no dog in the fight".

The thing is, as I said in my critique of Place and Marchetti, even people such as they, who ought to have a dog in the fight—if one needs to use such vulgar euphemisms to describe one's interest in a topic—did not seem to be able to effectively pay attention.

On point after point, Winick displayed the insouciant pride of one who resents people who actually did the work, and have the ideas, to competently explain Tarot.

At one point, among the more ridiculous things Winick claimed, was the following:
"In academic discourse, we make the assumption, or at least take the rhetorical stance, that everyone with relevant publications is intelligent enough to argue with us."
As I told him, if any academic made such an assumption, that was just plain stupid of them. Of course, what Winick may have meant was that colleagues in a particular discipline treat each other in this manner. Perhaps that is true in some cases. But, in many cases, it is not true at all. The unguarded assumption of sufficient intelligence on the part of one's colleagues is in fact a dangerous thing.

And, as I had thought I made quite clear, Robert M. Place and Ciro Marchetti are not my colleagues. I do not share their views, their aims, and certainly not their prejudicial and limited understandings of Tarot.

I talked to them in order to review and criticize their very questionable, really extremist, positions about Tarot.

Winick closed with a familiar complaint:
"I think readers will be turned off by your attacks on Place and Marchetti."
Not all readers will have that experience. And those are the ones I am talking to—obviously.

Shortly after all of this, a Tarotholics admin, Jim Maher, threatened everyone with bad things happening if we didn't stop talking about Tarot in such a mean (truthful) way. He would delete the entire thread!—thus insuring we had all wasted our time engaging the topic.

Having had enough of imbecilic admins who always love to censor instead of think, I decided to make it easy for all of us and replied to him:
I've copied the thread, Jim. I always do that in case some weaselly little admin decides to censor topical conversation. Don't lecture people like they're children. It just makes you look stupid and pathetic. We're having a conversation about Tarot. You should be happy about that. But you're not, are you? Why is that?
Then Jim deleted the thread and kicked me out of Tarotholics Anonymous.

Comments

Eric Wagner said…
Welcome back to the tarot world. I enjoyed rereading the article. I look forward to rereading your article about "The Godfather" and the four prince cards. I think about that article whenever I rewatch the Godfather films.
Glenn Wright said…
It might be a while before I get that one republished. I thought it was pretty good, and probably useful too, but probably the Naples Arrangement and such things should go back up first.