A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone 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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do Not Feed the Trolls

The above watercolor depicts Tim Green and wife Megan O'Reilly, editor and co-editor of Rattle, a literary journal (see previous blog on Rattle). Many others could have been selected and put behind the intellectually-restricting established-order bars. Well, I’ve saved them for other satires. I do have to give Tim credit because now and then he, unlike scores of others, does open up to debate, especially debate that cannot further his career. I was disappointed, however, in his censoring of comments made by David Ochs and perhaps others, as well as his closing down of certain debate forums. Censorship in any of its subtle and sleezy rationalized forms should simply not exist in the literary arena, not in a democratic society. If you favor censorship, then become a businessman or politician or professor, not a literary editor.

P. Maudit and Mather Schneider are depicted as trolls, which in Internet terminology constitute persons who disrupt the happy-face ambiance of blogs with sledgehammer criticism.

In any case, those who would reject vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, normally do so out of fear—fear of being ridiculed, fear of being exposed for intellectual fraud, and fear of engaging with social “inferiors.” If I were behind an academic pulpet, I’d tell students

Do not fear to engage
with someone
simply because of his
name, occupation
and/or laurels.
What will make you
a formidable adversary
will be unwavering logic
backed by fact and example,
and, of course, willingness
to bend when proven incorrect.
[This is not a poem!]


mather said...

Hey, nice one...you got Tim really well I think...

G. Tod Slone said...

Thanks! It took a long time to do. I thought I got you pretty good too.

mather said...

Yes, it's a good likeness...though it's hard to judge a picture of yourself...plus, those shoes are not my usual style...

G. Tod Slone said...

Those are troll shoes!

M.P. Powers said...

Hey T.,

I think this is the best cartoon I've seen of yours yet. I recognized Mather right away (by his shoes), and the picture of Tim is definitely worth its weight in couplets de folic, and the ghost of Patrick Swayze. I approve!

G. Tod Slone said...

Thanks MP. Yeah, I kind of favor it too. If I ever get D. Ochs' photo I'll slip him into it.

mather said...

Well, they look like fairy shoes...ha ha...just kidding...

Honestly, Tim is unmistakable here...

mather said...

I got kicked off Buklickers.net for the second time, for no other reason than contrary opinion. This is what the Michael Phillips, the caretaker, wrote me:

"Go piss on someone else's geraniums, "wild man."

You're not even wild, you're mentally ill."

Ha ha! It is now "insane" to disagree, even among a crowd that worships the great disagreeer himself.

G. Tod Slone said...

Good point Mather on the Buk site. The trend is widespread and ever deepening. Either smile or get fucked. So, if you want to climb the poesy ladder (eh, MP) you better keep quite!

Is that it's name. I'll check it out. Tim wrote me an email, said he loved the toon... of course he wouldn't belittle himself to post that remark here.

M.P. Powers said...

This is exactly the reason I don't hang around in forums that are highly moderated. You know if you say anything that in any way chinks the armor of the IMAGE the moderator is trying to cultivate for himself, you're gonna get thrown out on your ASS. The problem is it's not armor. It's a police officer's uniform, complete with doughnut powder on the collars, a badge, and a dildo for a billyclub. That's what they all begin to look like after a while. And they're all wearing mustaches.

G. Tod Slone said...

I do hope you understand they've gotten you to use that word: moderated. Don't use it, man... or they've won. Use CENSORED because that's what it is... but moderated sounds so much nicer to their bourgeois ears, such an ingenious Orwellian euphemism. BUT since when was vigorous debate ever meant to be moderate (no shouting, please!)? Good description of Herr Moderator! Only today it's cops with goatees, not moustaches.
What ever the hell are these modern-day censors so afraid of? I really don't get it. Mather called me all kinds of things here. Okay. Fine. That's his opinion. Why must I cancel it? I know who I am, what I am. I'm confident in that. BUT they are not confident in who they think they are... that's the problem.

G. Tod Slone said...

Of course the problem is that you ain't gonna find them commenting here. So, here will always be a very restricted arena of discourse... whereas they often have tons of comments. And they always judge by quantity, NEVER quality.

M.P. Powers said...

Yes Tod... your "moderation" point is well taken, but there's one thing you have to remember about internet forums. Half the people are posting anonymously, so they can hide in the shrubs and say anything and it will never come back to them. Therefore the risk is lost, the endeavor cowardly, and some people are so obnoxious about it, they deserve to be censored. If a person uses their real name, on the other hand, like Mather always does, and like you and I do, censorship is a crime 99/100. And self-serving too, 99/100. Especially in forums that pretend to be open to debate.

mather said...

Blog owners always act as if a rude commenter will cause their blog to implode or self destruct somehow, or maybe their stockholders will pull out suddenly...Really they are simply horrified at being "disrespected", even if you address someone else on the blog and not the blog owner himself. It is ok for a blog owner to disrespect, but not the commenter, in the same way it is ok for a judge to have the wrong "tone" but if a defendant has a wrong "tone" he is jailed.

In my experience every time there is conflict on a blog the hits escalate, but that is irrelevant somehow. Conflict is interesting, arresting, compelling. Besides, if humans can't hash it out verbally, violence is the next thing.

Tim said something on his recent blog about how he found it odd that people at poetry readings often seemed more interested in simply chatting with the poet than listening to his poems. I made a comment that the same dynamic is at work when the comments on a blog are more interesting than the initial post. Of course, my comment was deleted. Ha ha!

On another note, here is a sample from my unofficial interview with Michael Phillips, owner of Buk.net:

Me: Michael, can you explain to me why I was kicked off your forum?

Michael: Because you're a Monkey!

Me: Oh, ok. Well, can you explain why you defend so many of your forum regulars, even when they show obvious hypocrisy, such as criticizing and censoring "rude" behavior while idolizing Bukowski, who was, I believe, rude quite often?

Michael: Dance, monkey!

Me: Can you explain why it is ok to call Paul Robinson a "pretentious twat", but when he defends himself against you with logic and common sense, he is laughed at and ridiculed, and the calls of "Block him MJP" are echoed through the Buk.net forum halls?

Michael: I drop the pennies, you pick them up, monkey! That's the way it will always be.

Me: Well, isn't it true that you only hate Paul for the same reason you hate me: because we both criticized Christopher Cunningham? Can you explain why Christopher Cunningham is above criticism?

Michael: You're nothing but a netkook, monkey!

Me: Yes, ok, well, can you explain, then, how you can support the production of Bukowski bobble-heads, which are sold in a store owned by one of your forum members, while at the same time trashing young people who make music videos of Buk's words?

Michael: Monkey!

So, you see how productive that conversation was...

A peaceful forum is the only thing they want, and this is the strangest thing to me, because nothing is more boring than a peaceful forum.

G. Tod Slone said...

Yeah, MP, I hate that anonymous shit. I’d say on the two university blogs I engage in, over 90% comment anonymously, most of whom are likely professors. It’s certainly an excellent indication of the extent of the FEAR and COWARDICE factors in higher education. Unlike the mob, I actually thirst for conflict and intellectual joust. Hell, I get most of my creative material from it. I disagree entirely with you on censoring the “obnoxious.” If we do that then we behave like the academics who would label anything that questions and challenges them, “obnoxious.” No, man, you’ve got to open your mental doors to free speech… and that includes especially the speech you hate.

Great point M: “Conflict is interesting, arresting, compelling. Besides, if humans can't hash it out verbally, violence is the next thing.” Only the proverbial academic would disagree.

That’s a great comment by Tim about more interest in rapping with the poet than listening to his stuff. It almost makes me laugh. Christ, readings are generally as boring as it gets. They exist for reasons of money. To interest an audience, either shock or comedy is necessary.

This comment deserves to be censored: “I made a comment that the same dynamic is at work when the comments on a blog are more interesting than the initial post. Of course, my comment was deleted.”

Now, why didn’t you send that interview to me, M? I’ll put it in next issue if you don’t mind. It’s better than your poems!

M.P. Powers said...


The obnoxious types I'm talking about are people who use duplicate identities, and basically do whatever they can to trash a forum or a person in one. For example, if I were start posting in this group under Mather's name and/or three or four others, all anonymous. This might not go on in the university blogs you go in, but I've seen it several times before, and the people who do it are on about the same level as spammers, wastes-of-sperm wholly deserving of censorship.

mather said...

In Green's latest blog he's talking about the extreme VARIETY of sonnets he's going to publish in the next issue...at first I thought, I wonder if he painted his house several varieties of tan and then called it a rainbow...but, then I realized this was not a civil thought...in any case I don't think anyone can dispute the fact that the sonnet, in all it's infinitely variable forms, is truly relevant to modern poetry and the modern world...maybe they should have an all black sonnet issue?

M.P. Powers said...

They should have every kind of sonnet imaginable. Blue, red, gay & lesbian, Rotary Club, Toastmasters, NAMBLA...

Actually, I don't think Tim's worried in the least about the sonnets. He's an intelligent guy. He's just using them to distract while he bilks TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS from The Foundation.

G. Tod Slone said...

Actually, M, that's an excellent way of putting it: a tan rainbow, an all black sonnet issue... or why not native american sonnets... just to change it a little. Does poetry matter? asked Gioia years ago. Of course not!... with the Green's getting paid salaries to manage it.
MP, yes, every kind of sonnet, EXCEPT the dissident sonnet critical of those who write sonnets to get published.
I don't call it "bilking" at all because Tim is doing the Foundation's work. Tim has signed the ole Faustian Pact. He is not the devil. The foundation is the devil. You got it mixed there.

M.P. Powers said...

I just wanna know who's coming up with the themes.

That's Mephisto.

Wasn't there a nurses theme a while back? Or was it plumbers (i.e. crapologists)?