Friends of Aesthetic Realism
       Countering the Lies
“It’s a lie, and not a well told one at that.
  It grins out like a copper dollar.”

                  —Abraham Lincoln

Statement by Margot Carpenter, Aesthetic Realism Consultant and Poet

I have a great deal to say concerning the whole hoard of lies about Aesthetic Realism, propagated by a few people. But for now I want to address one particular, huge invention: the lie about how Aesthetic Realism sees homosexuality. I’ll comment first in my capacity as Executive Director of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and then more personally.

Michael Bluejay writes: “AR says that homosexuality is a mental illness” and “AR professed to have the ‘cure’ for homosexuality.” This is completely untrue. Aesthetic Realism most certainly does not consider homosexuality a mental illness; in fact, Eli Siegel always objected to homosexuality’s being seen that way. Similarly, Aesthetic Realism never saw homosexuality as something to “cure,” and—whether through Mr. Siegel or any Aesthetic Realism consultant, whether in writing or in speech—Aesthetic Realism never presented itself as having a “cure.” Not only does Bluejay misrepresent Aesthetic Realism on the subject, but he actually puts the word “cure” in quotation marks to make readers think he’s directly quoting some statement of Aesthetic Realism, when he is not.

Then Bluejay says, about “positions” he has made up: “AR no longer takes these positions publicly—a wise move for them considering the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in society.” He wants people to think that there is something hidden going on. So for the record, the information in this statement is what has been given since 1990, and people have found it very clear:

“First of all—Aesthetic Realism is, and always has been, for full, completely equal civil rights for everyone. And that includes the right to marry a person of one’s choice, regardless of gender.

“As is known, there has been anger in America on the subject of homosexuality and how it is seen. Therefore, in 1990 [over 3 decades ago] the Aesthetic Realism Foundation discontinued its presentation of the fact that through study of Aesthetic Realism people changed from homosexuality; and consultations to do so stopped being given. That is because we did not want this matter, which is certainly not fundamental to Aesthetic Realism, to be used to obscure what Aesthetic Realism truly is: education of the largest, most cultural kind.

“Again: Aesthetic Realism is, and always has been, for full, completely equal civil rights for everyone.”

In his next sentence, Bluejay extends his misrepresentation (and I’m not even discussing the fact that he uses the completely inaccurate yet charged word “members”). He says: “One supposes that long-term AR members who were around when this was a hot AR topic in the 70’s still retain this antigay prejudice privately even if it’s not part of their current literature.” First he makes up an “antigay prejudice” and then “supposes” that it’s still hiddenly “retain[ed]”—even though it never existed in the first place. This is a lie Adam Mali also has tried to work.

Now I’ll comment on this lie about “antigay prejudice” simply as a person. In the process, I can’t help also refuting the lie that you can’t take vacations and the lie that Aesthetic Realism breaks up the family:

Just last year, my husband, Robert Murphy, and I flew thousands of miles to celebrate my sister’s life on her 50th birthday and to visit with her and her partner, who happens to be another woman. We had an exciting and rewarding time, which all of us hold very dear and continue to talk about. They and their young daughter are welcome in our home any time.

Politically and otherwise, I myself have always supported gay rights. That’s because, as a result of my Aesthetic Realism education, I’m for justice to everyone.

Aesthetic Realism is, in fact, the education which can really change the prejudice and racism still rampant in America. Studying with him, I saw firsthand that Eli Siegel himself didn’t have a jot of prejudice as to race, religion, gender, economic position, sexual orientation, age, educational background, etc.—as anyone reading his written work will clearly see, including “The Equality of Man,” published in 1923 in the Modern Quarterly. [The Modern Quarterly Beginnings of Aesthetic Realism, Definition Press, 1997]

As a Southerner who was ashamed for years of how I saw people, my own prejudice towards human beings with a skin color or religion different from my own changed profoundly as I studied Aesthetic Realism. I now have a passion for every person’s getting the understanding, economic justice, and respect all people deserve. What do I feel about the cause of such a pride-giving change?—enormous gratitude to Eli Siegel and my Aesthetic Realism education.

I can’t conclude without commenting on the lies by Bluejay and Mali, and “Anonymous” that “Aesthetic Realism is a cult” and “Eli Siegel wanted to be worshipped.”

Aesthetic Realism is education, scholarly and solid. And Mr. Siegel was true to its principles and had good will for people. It is a complete LIE that he wanted to be “worshipped” or to “control.”

Mr. Siegel asked his students to be critical—to give the ideas of Aesthetic Realism a practical, even fierce, logical workout; to test them. That is what I saw he wanted, from the first class taught by him that I attended, a lecture on “Complaint and Hope in World Poetry,” to the last in 1978. He loved it when a person honestly disagreed with something and asked him critical questions to see what was true. Is that how to make people “worship”? This lie is immense. But some people—including certain liars—got angry that Mr. Siegel couldn’t be successfully flattered or bought.

How Eli Siegel saw people and reality itself is apparent to anyone in his books, poetry, lectures—many lectures can be found online at Take these lines from his 1925 Nation prize-winning poem, “Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana”:

 “The world is waiting to be known; Earth, what it has in it!
      The past is in it;
All words, feelings, movements, words, bodies, clothes, girls, trees, 
     stones, things of beauty, books, desires are in it; and all are 
     to be known;

 Afternoons have to do with the whole world;
 And the beauty of mind, feeling knowingly the world!”

  • Read statements by many individual men and women
  • Read reviews from the NY Times, Smithsonian, Saturday Review, Library Journal, Harlem Times, Popular Photography, and more
  • A letter by Ralph Hattersley, noted critic of photography ...not only counters the lies, but is a means of showing something of their history and motivation.
  • Read poetry by Eli Siegel so greatly respected by William Carlos Williams and many others
  • Read lectures by Eli Siegel on subjects as diverse as literature, love, & economics
  • About classes for Aesthetic Realism consultants and associates taught by Ellen Reiss 
  • Poetic criticism by Eli Siegel and Ellen Reiss
  • Scribner's Magazine book reviews written by Eli Siegel

  • A Little Anthology of Comments (Some Funny We Hope) on Further Misrepresentations.

    >> Continue

    "On the Pleasures and Advantages of Anonymity: An Ode"—
    >> Continue

    A Dramatic and Cautionary Tale about an Unknown and Very Unimportant Person

    There once was a young man of ancient Greece named Milos. And Milos knew Socrates. He did not like Socrates because the great man asked far too many questions....
    >> Continue

    Statements by Friends of
    Aesthetic Realism

    Barbara Allen
    Frances Amello
    Jerry Amello
    Christopher Balchin
    Mara Bennici
    David Berger
    Alice Bernstein
    Rachel J. Bernstein
    Barbara Buehler
    Gina Buffone
    Beverly Sue Burk
    Maureen Butler
    Jeffrey Carduner
    Margot Carpenter
    Lori & Robert Colavito
    Albert Corvino
    Nicholas Corvino
    Henry D'Amico
    Matthew D’Amico
    Ernest DeFilippis
    Vincent DiPietro
    Carol Driscoll
    Donita Ellison
    Anne Fielding
    Lorraine Galkowski, RN
    Pamela Goren
    Edward Green
    Avi Gvili
    Ames Huntting
    Mark Lale
    Dale Laurin
    Rose Levy
    Timothy Lynch
    Lorraine Mahoney, RN
    Derek Mali
    Glenn Mariano
    Haroldo Mauro Jr.
    Joseph Meglino
    Pauline Meglino
    Allan Michael
    Marvin Mondlin
    Robert Murphy
    Michael J. Nadeau
    Meryl Nietsch-Cooperman
    Ruth Oron
    Arnold Perey, PhD
    Lauren Phillips
    Jack Plumstead
    Maria Plumstead
    Rosemary Plumstead
    Rev. Wayne Plumstead
    Marcia Rackow
    Zvia Ratz
    Ann Richards
    Anthony C. Romeo
    Leila Rosen
    Rhonda Rosenthal
    Sally Ross
    Claudia Senatore
    Sheldon Silverman
    Jeffrey Sosinsky, MD
    Barbara Spetly McClung
    Joseph Spetly
    Faith K. Stern
    John Stern
    Arlene Sulkis
    Devorah Tarrow
    Jaime R. Torres, DPM
    Dennis L. Tucker
    Francine Weber
    Steve Weiner
    Miriam Weiss
    Carrie Wilson

    Also see the Aesthetic Realism Online Library  the Aesthetic Realism Foundation  Terrain Gallery  What scholars, writers, artists & teachers are saying  the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company  & Links

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