My point is not to suggest that Conrad should disavow his abiding passion for Elvis’s songs. Conrad is committed to the aesthetic criteria by which he determines Elvis’s songs to be great music, despite the questions about Elvis’s racial politics. Faced with Tweeting Gone with the Wind, however, he appears to lack faith in art. He isn’t certain that Place is a bad writer. He has so little conviction in the value of poetry—which is to say, his own values, since Conrad has dedicated his life to poetry—that he can’t bring himself to use aesthetic criteria to judge Place’s work. At the same time, he is so assured of the value of politics that he confidently judges her political opinions to be inferior, despite the fact that his political opinions may not differ significantly from hers. To denounce her writing for ideological reasons suggests that she would be a better writer if only she had better opinions. To attempt to remove her writing from public view suggests a lack of faith in the ability of the public to judge it.

Aaron Kunin, “Would Vanessa Place Be a Better Poet If She Had Better Opinions?”