Au revoir, Doctor Bernstein

Mark Bernstein resigned from the ELO today — allegedly because he believes that it has “ceased to make any positive contribution to the field.” I can say without reservation that while I am among those who were grateful to Bernstein for his early service on the board, during the last two years he has done very little to advance the mission of the organization, and has often conflated and confused the goals of his company with those of the organization, and of the field as a whole. He consistently denigrated all of the organization's most successful programs, including the 2001 Electronic Literature Awards, the 2002 State of the Arts Symposium, and the organization's current Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination initiative. It is more than a bit ironic that in his letter of resignation Bernstein says that “ELO officials persistently denigrate those tools not marketed by Microsoft and Macromedia.” There is no evidence of that. In fact, Bernstein might have simply said that “ELO officials have done an inadequate job of advancing my personal goals, as I badgered them to do at every turn.” His resignation is the albatross set free.

Dr. Bernstein is a good toolmaker, and has done much to advance the field of electronic literature over the course of his career. Hopefully, he will continue to devote his considerable energies to those efforts, instead of working to obstruct the efforts of others. Au revoir.

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