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Barry Crimmins <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Mar 2008 16:14:08 -0400
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I think we've all learned a few things from the recent discourse -- 
not the same things, mind you, but things nonetheless. One thing that  
has finally soaked into my head is that this forum, although not  
formally academic according to its charter, is dominated by academics  
whose customs and culture  differ from my own. The 'collegiality'  
that is so necessary in academic life causes many of you to take my  
sometimes skewed candor as an affront. To many of you, I seem  
shocking and without boundaries. I apologize for provoking such  
displeasure. Believe it or not, among the comedic class I am often  
criticized for being too stuffy and highbrow -- but there's no need  
to shine a light through *that* grate.

As a satirist, I have my own boundaries. If someone annoys me for  
long enough and shows him or herself to be disrespectful to what I  
see as a greater good, I conjure something up to express my  
disapproval. I try to make that point in an entertaining (if  
curmudgeonly) fashion. What I took offense to concerning Mr. Fears  
was his apparent need to respond to most posts in what I perceived to  
be a rather oafish manner. To me this meant  many people were  
probably refraining from posting all they would have, had Fears not  
thrown up his perpetual full-court press ('tis the season!) So my  
mouth was full of fertilizer and I said so. In the process, I made  
myself seem to others what Fears seemed to me. To them, I had become  
an impervious interloper, no different than the target of my complaint.

One professor chose to dismiss me in front of the entire class. I  
must say, he really forced me to restrain myself. As a satirist, I  
have disdain for those who would banish with presumed authority. I  
prefer to use the 'weapons of satire." (alas!) But you know what?  
Just because this is a Mark Twain forum doesn't mean such weapons are  
always appropriate here. And so it is time for me to show my respect  
for this very legitimate exchange of ideas and information by  
removing myself from it. This is no grandstand play, simply an  
acknowledgment of the fact that I am, and always will be, a charter  
member of the "disruptive element." Loving Mr. Clemens and relating  
to him as a satirist is enough for me. He has been my best teacher  
and out of respect for him, I will not waste any more of the focus of  
his finest students, which is to say the members of this forum.

I am most thankful for the many friends I have made in this group  
since signing on in ( I think} 1994. I remain only a e-mail or  
telephone call away. Please keep in touch. I apologize for taking so  
long to figure out that I was out of my element and thank you all for  
the generous tolerance you exhibited by allowing me to reach this  
obvious conclusion at my own glacial pace.

My departure is final and non-negotiable.

With gratitude and sincere best wishes,

Barry Crimmins

PS- Should anyone be wondering, there are no known recordings of Mr.  
Clemens's voice.