Statement by Faith K. Stern, Executive Assistant & Aesthetic Realism Consultant
I am a person who has studied the Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel for 39 years with a critical mind, and know that when it is looked at honestly, this body of knowledge stands up in its grandeur, width, specificity, depth, and kindness every time. Its principles are solid and have been abundantly tested over the decades. Yet the picture various people—mostly anonymous, of course—present is, quite simply, an ugly caricature.
As to the lie about Ellen Reiss:
Take the latest onslaught, largely against Class Chairman Ellen Reiss. I have known Ms. Reiss since 1966, both personally and professionally. I love and admire her, not only for the scope of her knowledge, but also for her wide, generous heart-a combination of thought and feeling all too often missing in academic minds. She is as at ease in discussing Shakespeare or a current happening in the world as she is talking to a wife whose husband is critically ill. The quality of her mind and heart, her integrity and professionalism, are to be seen too in her commentaries printed in the biweekly international journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, in her teaching of poetry, in her conducting of professional classes for consultants and associates. Yet I saw that certain people were furious at Ellen Reiss because she wouldn't water down the principles of Aesthetic Realism to accommodate their egos, and that is why they are attacking her.
The facts make the anonymous persons' diatribes against Miss Reiss look like the paltry distortions and lies they are. They remind me of the trial scene in Dickens's Pickwick Papers (Chapter XXXIV), in which the prosecutor twists Mr. Pickwick's innocent note about "chops and tomato sauce" into the most suspicious and ominous interpretation possible.In the same way do the anonymous calumniators attempt to twist Ellen Reiss into something she is not and never has been.