Jul 19, 2007, 12:05 PM
FWIW, it strikes me that you are setting up an impossible task for Junior Maas. If we had water-tight evidence of rigged contests (or sexual harrasement for that matter) we would already have had completed lawsuits. To be honest you sound a bit like the Barry Bonds advocates I see everyday. "These are all allegations and hearsay, you have no actual proof at all!!"
Well, when Barry Bond's shoe size and helmet size radically change despite being well past puberty. Circumstantial evidence tends to be all we have in these types of cases, barring confessions.
And while I think Junior Maas picked a bad tone and sarcasm there (for this board at least, people are quick to get offended...), it seems to me you guys attacked her and goaded her on. Her reply seemed pretty fair to me. You seem to have wanted some grand jury testimony and a photobucket page of bloody gloves.
All that said, I have no knowledge of this issue and won't pick any sides. However, I will say that if indeed it is true that Butler's students have won a disproportionate number of awards that one of his best buddies runs, that is indeed quite suspicious. Again, I don't know if it is true or not, but I don't buy your defenses.
a) Iowa and Arizona (along with Columbia) are the largest programs in the country so if all things were neutral you would EXPECT them to have more stegners than anywhere else. And frankly, while I'm sure FSU is a good program, it has never been considered a program on the level of Iowa and I've never even seen it on a top 10 list before. So it is hardly like Butler is just teaching the cream of the crop (like an Iowa or UVA might be able to claim) and that is why they are winning.
b) The literary world is a small one? I dunno about that. Amongst literary authors of a certain age with books published, sure. But there are over 300 MFA programs pumping out graduates every year. At least 30 of them are quality programs too. That's a lot of people eligible for these awards.
But maybe Butler is just a magician amongst teachers and can turn his little MFA stones into diamonds in a way no other teacher can. Or maybe he just molds them into writers whose stories appeal to Wolfe? Who knows. But I think it is a fair question to raise, if it is indeed true he gets a significant number of students winning awards from his friend.
(This post was edited by Clench Million on Jul 19, 2007, 12:08 PM)