A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

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A FORUM FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND VIGOROUS DEBATE, CORNERSTONES OF DEMOCRACY
[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Tyehimba Jess

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From The Editorial of Issue #36
[...] In any case, the front cover of this issue was inspired by a New York Times article,“How CUNY Became Poetry U,” written in blind praise of university poet/prof prize-winners, by Elizabeth A. Harris: 
The City University of New York is many things. It is vast. It is accessible to students without a lot of money. It is exceptionally diverse. It is not, however, particularly fancy, the kind of place that oozes exclusivity or prestige. And yet CUNY is home to a surprising number of extremely accomplished, recognized—some might even say fancy—poets.
Harris of course is incapable of wondering what precisely “accomplished” and “recognized” really tend to mean, as in coopted, conformed, and castrated.  Moreover, “accomplished” is clearly a subjective, not an objective, term. “Accomplished” for Harris might imply “sellout” for someone else. And “recognized,” but by whom? Well, by others who are likely also “recognized.” To reach the “accomplished” and “recognized” poet status, clearly, one must not be a rare poet who goes against the grain of the academic/literary establishment.  CUNY chancellor James B. Milliken (see front cover) argued, 
I’m not sure that ‘fancy’ is the key to creativity. CUNY has to be one of the most diverse universities in America, and it seems self-evident to me that diversity of all kinds contributes to creativity. Add to that the fact that we’re in New York City.
“Diversity of all kinds”?  Hardly!  Certainly not diversity of opinions regarding CUNY’s backslappery. Featured from left to right are Harris; Elizabeth Lund (WaPo), Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer English Prof, College of Staten Island; Kimiko Hahn, PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, Prof, Queens College; Ben Lerner, MacArthur Fellow, Prof, Brooklyn College; Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Prof, Lehman College; Alison Hawthorne Deming, Pulitzer Jurist Social Justice Prof, University of Arizona; and Wesley McNair, Pulitzer Jurist Poet Laureate of Maine.  [...]



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Marjorie Pritchard

Journalists Are NOT the Friend of the People 
The most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom amongst us is the compact majority—yes, the damned compact Liberal majority…
—Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

We are not their [the people’s] enemy. But nor can we claim, until we chase our own bias out of the news, to be the honest watchdogs they need us to be.
Nolan Finley, Detroit News

he following counter-editorial was rejected via form letter by The Boston Globe.  Journalists realize they have a huge voice, unlike plebes like me, and thus do not simply want to report objective facts.  They want to express their opinions.  And they do… far, far too often… overwhelming the front pages of their “newspapers” to the extent they severely blur the line between objective and subjective reportages.  
    The Boston Globe’s call for press criticism of Trump’s criticism of the press, “Journalists Are Not the Enemy,” is risible because the result has largely been nothing but press backslapping and press self-congratulating.   Add to that its egregious failure to address its egregious pro-Democrat-Party bias.  The press should not be in the business of endorsing political candidates.  The Boston Globe constantly does that on all levels (e.g., “the Globe’s editorial board endorsed Ayanna Pressley over longstanding incumbent Michael Capuano for the Democratic nomination in the Seventh Congressional District primary”).  
    "We are not the enemy of the people," argues Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of the Boston Globe.  Journalists, however, become the “enemy” when they purposefully fail to cover stories that counter their favored narrative and stories that might disfavor their friends and other elites of their elite community. "I hope it would educate readers to realize that an attack on the First Amendment is unacceptable,” writes Pritchard.  “We are a free and independent press, it is one of the most sacred principles enshrined in the Constitution.” 
    When citizens do not personally test the waters of the press to determine just how open or closed or free or dependent it is, then they might end up swallowing the self-glorifying comments of journalists like Pritchard.  My own personal probes have largely indicated the press and journalists to be a lot more my enemies than friends.  
     The Advocate (Baton Rouge) refused, for example, to publish my account of being beaten and robbed by three blacks in Baton Rouge.  Why?  Likely because that countered its black good/white bad narrative.  The Cape Cod Times refused to publish an account of my being permanently banned w/o warning or due process from my neighborhood library.  Why?  Likely because that questioned and challenged a favored member of the local community elite.  The Concord Journal refused to publish an account of my arrest and incarceration for a day in Concord due to a non-violent dispute with a park ranger at Walden Pond.  Why?  Well, perhaps such news wouldn’t be of interest to the local chamber of commerce, which pimps Thoreau and Walden to push local tourism.  Over the years, I’ve sent a number of op-eds and cartoons critical of the editors of the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times, Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Barnstable Patriot et al. Without explanation, they were systematically rejected.  Sadly, student newspaper editors seem to follow in that light, uh, darkness.  Indeed, over the years, I’ve sent them many critical essays and cartoons regarding their professors. The norm has been one of non-response.  On a rare positive note, The Telegram (Newfoundland) has published a few of my critical letters.   
    Because of my testing of the press waters, I’ve come to the conclusion that far too many journalists and editors are thin-skinned to the point where they are unable to bear any criticism with their regard.  Journalist Nolan Finley seems to agree:  “Our feelings are hurt in the news media. The president of the United States is calling us the Enemy of the People and we don’t like it.” 
   Moreover, how can the press continually proclaim to be free when it is ideologically and corporately-bound like the Boston Globe?  Arguing it to be free is purposeful hypocrisy and self-glorification. Rather than issuing self-congratulatory statements and entire editorials devoted to how great journalists and the press are, perhaps journalists ought to look in the mirror and deal with their egregious faults. Rather than a holier-than-thou mission to “educate readers,” perhaps it is time they educated themselves.  After all, it is more the fault of journalists, than of Trump, that public esteem for them has been so low.  
     Although journalists might not necessarily be the enemy of the people, they clearly are not necessarily the friend of the people.  How, for example, can I, a common citizen, consider them friends when they constantly reject my opinions and stories?  As editor of a 501 c3 nonprofit literary journal, I not only brook, but encourage and publish in each and every issue the harshest criticism received with my regard.  Why do most editors not do that?  In fact, I cannot think of another editor who does.
     “Today it [the free press] is under serious threat,” argues Pritchard with the other Globe editors in lock-step groupthink conformity.  But what has Trump actually done to the press?  Didn’t Obama constantly denigrate Fox News?  Did the Globe call him out for that? And why does Pritchard not mention the biggest threat to freedom—certainly far greater than the alleged Trump threat—posed by Google, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook? A common ideological connection might be the only explanation.   
   Pritchard and the other Globe editors argue:  “And it’s not a coincidence that this president—whose financial affairs are murky and whose suspicious pattern of behavior triggered his own Justice Department to appoint an independent counsel to investigate him—has tried so hard to intimidate journalists who provide independent scrutiny.”  But what about Hillary’s financial affairs?  And what about the Steele dossier and the Hillary connection to it?  Why that egregious omission?  What about the egregious bias of Mueller and the other investigators on his team?  Fair and impartial?  Hardly!  
   Pritchard and the other editors conclude, “The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful.”  But what happens when press mandarins are part of the “powerful”?  Then the role of a free people is to speak the truth to the press. To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries,” argues Pritchard and the others.  But when the press becomes the Pravda for the left, then it is the enemy of those who do not share its ideological bent.  Indeed, the term enemies of the people was used by left-wing Stalinists to demonize those who did not share their ideological bent.  
    Like the Boston Globe, the Cape Cod Times published its own editorial, “Identifying the real enemy of the people,” as part of the Democrat Party-media’s effort to backslap and self-congratulate, while denigrating Trump.  The editorial like the Globe’s is absolutely devoid of any attempt to address the press’ own fundamental fault: egregious Democrat-Party bias.  It characterizes, not objectively, Trump’s criticism of the press as a “vitriolic stream of hatred.”  The press has manifested over and again its incapacity for objectivity where Trump is concerned.  And that is the crux of its own problem.  “Hatred” is a highly subjective term, which is why hate speech, for example, is not and should not be separated from free speech in accord with the First Amendment.  Hatred for thee is perhaps satire and criticism for me.  Editor Paul Pronovost needs to eliminate the subjective inferences and insults and provide concrete, accurate facts. He argues that “Today, the Cape Cod Times joins newspapers across the country in calling attention to this onslaught on the media to highlight the danger to democracy that occurs when a self-styled demagogue uses his access to the same media he proclaims to hate to sow seeds of confusion, discontent and distrust.” 
   But how can Pronovost be so blind as to not notice how incredibly anti-Trump the media has been from day one?  And why didn’t he call out Obama’s self-styled demagoguery? And what about the “confusion, discontent and distrust” sowed by Obama via the media (e.g., health care, Benghazi, Fast and Furious and on and on)? 
   “Still, the vast majority of journalists have toiled and continue to toil faithfully in pursuit of nothing other than the truth,” boasts Pronovost.  But again the media is controlled by its corporate owners and their ideological bent.  Pronovost and others don’t give a damn about the truth.  They are ideologues. Hypocritically, Pronovost proclaims, “And like you, we care deeply about what happens locally, nationally and internationally.”  And yet he sure as hell does not care what happens locally when it happens to his friends or elite community members, which is why he refused to publish news about a local senior citizen (me!) permanently banned from his library. Pronovost is a hypocrite! He cannot bear to be criticized, which is why he would never publish this counter op-ed, let alone respond to it.  
    Instead, he oozes more self-glorifying bullshit, distant from reality:  “We research the truth. We hold the powerful accountable.”  Then he echoes the new press mantra:  “No, the American press is not the enemy of the people. The true enemy of any democracy is ignorance, and the only way to battle ignorance is through the acquisition of knowledge: a single set of well-researched, incontrovertible, unbiased facts.”  The press is not the friend of the people when it consistently reports with bias and is not inclusive.  It is an enemy of democracy because it has been purposefully pushing ignorance, for example, regarding Islam.   Thus the only way to battle the ignorance pushed by the press is to battle the press.  Pronovost concludes again hypocritically, “We welcome that scrutiny and look forward to continuing to provide you with the facts.”  Clearly, he does NOT welcome that scrutiny!  In fact, he will not even contemplate it, let alone respond to it. And I have sent out plenty of letters to his deaf ears.  
   Finally, how can we, the people, have confidence in the press when editors openly/officially back one political candidate over another?  How can we have confidence in the press when far too many of its journalists partake in the ideology of identity politics and Islamism?  Clearly, the Boston Globe is not a free and independent press, nor is the Cape Cod Times!  An ideologically-bound editorial board will never be independent, let alone free.  Today, newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe are focused on their ideology more than ever.  Has anyone ever read a positive piece on Trump in those papers?  Has anyone ever read a story in them on a black man who killed a white cop?  When the press is actively engaged in creating an alt-reality by willfully highlighting stories that fit that narrative, while willfully suppressing stories that counter it, then it behaves as an enemy of democracy and should be called out for that…  
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NB:  The Boston Globe has refused to publish any counter-opinion like the one above that I've sent to it.  That too is a problem of the elite press journalists today.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Chronicle Vitae--David Gooblar

Fear not, oh academics!  The following essay will be fully ignored/rejected by your ivory tower.  The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed despise alt-opinions and vigorous debate, cornerstone of a thriving democracy.  They push career, not rude-truth telling.  They will publish plenty of vacuous articles like “How to Prepare for Class without Overpreparing” (Prof. James Lang) and “Why I’m Easy:  I’m Giving Lot’s of A’s” (Prof. Gary Laderman).  “5 Tips on Surviving Your First Year as a Department Head” is another such article (Profs. Rob Kramer and Peter J. Mucha).  “Chairs are notoriously stuck in the middle, serving everyone in all directions,” argue the two authors.  Well, intellectually-corrupt chairs—and there are plenty of them—do NOT serve rare professors who possess the courage to call them out and risk career in doing so.  Rather than five superficial tips, I’d suggest one tip for all academics placing career far above truth telling like the large majority of chairs:  fortify your modus operandi of turning a blind eye, backslapping, and self-congratulating.  That indeed might even help you get into a deanship.  The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed have been rejecting my alt-opinion essays for years now.  Below is one I recently wrote and submitted to the former.  The response from the faceless (nameless) editors was identical to the last response received (hyper-polite and hyper-vacuous—higher ed in a nutshell):  

Dear Dr. Slone,
Thank you for sending us this essay. Several of us have read it, and we regret to say that we are unable to publish it. Because we receive dozens of manuscripts each week on all sorts of topics, we have to make some tough choices. And, unfortunately, that large number also precludes us from responding to each in depth, but we very much appreciate your thinking of The Chronicle.
Sincerely,

The Editors
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Truth or Career? How to Teach Literacy in an Era of Academic Marxist-Ideology
[The fundamental question confronting every academic is truth or career—open heresy or turning a blind eye.  Choose the latter and get tenure; choose the former and get intellectual integrity.  Sadly, in most cases (99%), one cannot choose both.] 
Rhetoric can be a synonym for bullshit… and there is a ton of that in the ranks of academics, whose very careers depend on producing it ad nauseam.  “Information literacy” is another instance of academic rhetoric.  In his Chronicle Vitae (Chronicle of Higher Education) column, “How to Teach Literacy in an Era of Lies,” David Gooblar defines the curious concept as “the capacity to understand, assess, evaluate, and apply information to solve problems or answer questions.”
The essay title—ideology always manages to seep out of the cracks of faux-objectivity—seems to imply that somehow the “Era of Lies” began with Trump, despite the numerous proven lies of Hillary and Obama.  Gooblar argues “To succeed in college and in life afterward, students need to be able to tell a truth from a falsehood. And clearly, that is not as easy as it seems.”  Yet in today’s PC-controlled ivory tower, to succeed in college perhaps really means to open wide and swallow the plethora of PC-information dished out by ideologically-bound professors, not in the least bit interested in truth and reason, let alone freedom of speech and vigorous debate, democracy’s cornerstones.  Truth demands courage.  Academics are not known for courage.  
The likely reality in academe of ideology over truth tends to control not only students, but also professors, especially those seeking tenure.  Gooblar suggests, “Start by talking with some experts. Librarians on your campus have been thinking about these issues for a long time, and many now regularly collaborate with faculty members to teach research skills to students.”  And yet if Gooblar had any real experience with librarians—testing the waters of their fiefdoms—, he’d know they served as gatekeepers of information, which means they might eliminate (or block) from their shelves information they do not like… on ideological grounds.  Try finding a book or periodical critical of librarians and the American Library Association on library shelves!  The American Dissident contains such criticism in each and every issue, and not one library in Idaho will subscribe!  
With that regard, read my dialogue de sourds with James LaRue, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, “Notes on the Office for Intellectual Constraint.”  In it, LaRue rationalizes librarian censorship and banning.  Would Gooblar expose his University of Iowa students to it?  Would he even respond to this counter essay?  [He did not respond!]  Perhaps it would help open student eyes a bit… to information literacy.  After all, how to trust those who seek to censor truths they do not like with helping to determine what is truth and what is not?  In fact, how to trust the Chronicle itself, which would likely never publish this counter-essay?  [It did not publish it!]  And would Gooblar even use it in his classes?  [Certainly not!]  Over the decades, I have grown to know quite well the academic beast.  How to trust cultural Marxist professors with teaching students “information literacy”?  What was info lit like under Stalin’s or Castro’s grip?  What would it be like in Gender or Multiculti Studies classes?  How would those professors “guide students in handling information wisely”? 
Critical thinking in the Humanities is essentially dead.  Reason is dead.  What is alive in the Humanities is loud bellowing:  “RACIST!  RACIST!  RACIST! NAZI! NAZI! NAZI!”  Ideology is alive and kicking!  That is the real information literacy in academe today.  However, Gooblar argues, “But learning how to find accurate information, and how to sort out what’s true from what’s false, is integral to most courses and most course assignments.”  So, in what courses is it not integral?  Gender studies?  Well, he dares not mention.  
Gooblar does make a good point:  “It’s more important for students to be able to evaluate claims than sources, per se.”  However, what if students do not have access to all sources, thanks to their gatekeeper librarians?  Gooblar favors so-called “professional fact-checkers,” but fails to mention how a number of them have been outed for being ideologically-restricted and thus making false conclusions.  Indeed, how might ideology affect fact checking?   Google Scholar is mentioned, but not the fact that Google has been involved in censoring, shadow banning, and firing those who disagree with its ideology. 
“Information literacy thus moves beyond determining what is true and what is false to an investigation into why we are so easily fooled, and why we so easily fool ourselves,” argues Gooblar.    And yet the answer, once again, is quite evident and does not need a plethora of scholarly research papers and op-eds to find it.  Ideology is the enemy of reason and truth.  That is the answer.  Google, Facebook, and YouTube are enemies of reason and truth, though friends of PC-ideology.    
Gooblar concludes, “How can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if they cannot tell what’s true from what’s false?”  But I’d argue, how can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if their professors (and well-indoctrinated peers) are constantly pressuring them to echo multiculti-diversity party-line dogma?  

Finally, if one does not actively test the waters of democracy, one will never know just how murky they are.  Clearly, Gooblar has never tested them in academe.  To do so would be highly destructive to his career and pension benefits.  In fact, can Gooblar even profess to be information literate, regarding things academic?  Can he even possess the requisite information literacy to process this essay, which questions and challenges his very modus operandi?  Moreover, I am not convinced that critical thinking or so-called “information literacy” can even be taught.  During my years as a university student, I don’t remember having been taught such things.  I learned them on my own.  I learned them by actually testing the waters of democracy on my own—and risking career.