Met with #2 (upon whom may light shine) and have been pondering what was said and (more importantly) left unsaid.
#2 thinks I am smart, savvy, talented, etc. etc. etc. #2 is uncertain that I can insert enough academic gobbeldygook (my term) into a revised diss and has other reservations. #2 wants to see me with a PhD but is dubious about actuality. I've taught long enough to understand the translation.
Obviously this is a blow. I have one last shot, but it's clear that while #2 likes me and thinks highly of me, departmental and field politics are of more importance than an individual grad student. My failed diss will hurt #2 but at the end of the day closing ranks to protect #1, #3 and #4 (despite their failings, which were recognized) is more important than me graduating.
Really, I am OK.
To **** with politics and "that would make things complicated."
Obviosuly I'm angry and annoyed and all of that -- but there are perks. I'll say more later. Just keeping all of you posted, as per the terms of this blog.