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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reactions to Reactions

Boring, Retarded, Chaos, the "N" Word, Great, Back to the Future
Parce que cela dérange. La vérité n’a jamais eu de succès. [Because it upsets, truth never had success. trad. gts]
—Raymond Lévesque

Escribo exactamente lo que pienso. [I write exactly what I think. trad. gts]
—Juan Goytisolo

The function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it invites a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it passes for acceptance of an idea.
—Chief Justice William O Douglas


Far too many young citizens are being "educated," in the same manner as their predecessors, to perceive the critic and his criticism as negative, rather than positive. After all, without criticism, one would have to assume no problems exist and things fine and dandy in the Republic. The reality, however, is that problems are abundant in America. The current massive fraud perpetrated by perhaps thousands of "honorable-appearing" suit-and-tie banker members of the American Chamber of Commerce underscores just how deeply and insidiously corruption can run in this country. In any case, the first step to improvement is criticism, while the next activism.

The following are student comments regarding The American Dissident, its website, and/or my poetry reading. My prime concern is that a few students grossly misinterpreted reality (i.e., the facts). "When I first looked at the website, I had no idea what it was," wrote Rob, for example. "Then when I started reading some of the websites homepage I realized that this guy is a nut. When I read that people of Concord wanted to shut the site down and arrest him."

"Nut" is fine, though a base example of ad hominem. It is far more constructive to present facts to support the epithet, than simply presenting the epithet. "Nut" doesn't really bother me at all, because I have spine. "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never harm me," had taught my mother. My concern is rather with the statement on shutting down the site and arresting me, since not once on the site was such a statement or inference made. It is of utmost importance for citizens to read (and perceive) accurately. Without doubt, some citizens lay in jail today because other citizens testified against them erroneously.

Both positive and negative comments were received. Several students thought the reading "boring," while others really liked it. People, of course, have to realize that poetry is poetry, while comedy comedy. Was I supposed to be George Carlin in front of the podium, there to entertain, or be a poet, there to make people think?

Often the negative comments hit hardest. BUT if I am to dish out criticism, as I often do, then I certainly must be prepared for criticism of what I dish out. My reactions follow each comment. In some cases, I attempt by logic to show students where they might be wrong. In other cases, students show me where I might be wrong. With that regard, I eliminated from the website mention of "mentally challenged" and "retarded," though I was not at all criticizing people with very limited intellectual capacity. On the contrary, I was criticizing poets, professors and editors. Also, I've been reflecting on my overly general critique of the "wealthy." For me, the reading was a wonderful and highly satisfying opportunity to present my ideas and criticisms to students and professors alike. For that I am eternally grateful to Professor Sklar for having the courage and generosity to invite someone like me.

Nicole: “I really enjoyed the presentation by G. Tod Sloan. I had a bias against him at first from the thoughts and feelings people were saying about him prior to his arrival at Endicott. I didn't think I was going to like him. I pictured this old, grey haired man that talked slow and barely made sense. I guess this is why you can't always judge before you meet someone. I ended up really liking him. He has a good sense of humor and his way of writing is unique and interesting. I like how he continuously read little poems he had written and made comments here and there. Usually I am not intrigued at presentations but he had my attention. I enjoyed it. I'd like to hear him present again. He's interesting. He's unique. I liked it.”


Reaction: I liked your description of me as a possible old geezer, and thank you for the compliments.

Courtney: I personally, dislike negative, harsh poems like G. Tod Slone’s. I feel that life is unpleasant enough so why write about horrible things and become more depressed. I do understand journals and people getting out their feelings, so if it is that kind of thing then it is ok. I do also believe in freedom of speech, but again, why make up things that are depressing. I think creative writing is wonderful and yes, who wants to listen to all those famous poets all the time, but G. Tod Slone goes over and above this. You can be outspoken and unlike other standard poets without having to be so harsh about everything.


Reaction: Ouch, that hurt! BUT I’m glad you have the courage to speak your mind even when so HARSH! (Just joking with your word “harsh.”) Actually, I do not normally “make up things.” The reality of my various encounters is more than enough to keep me sparked creatively.

Mike: After waiting about half an hour, G. Tod Sloan arrived. I had high hopes at the start of it because it seemed like he was an interesting guy. The main point of his argument was to express yourselves and not let the teachers hold our thoughts back. So therefore that is what I am going to do in this review. It started off being very boring, with a few nice poems read. I confidently looked up and was waiting for it to get better. That never happened, it seemed like he was going on rants about certain types of people and things he didn't like. I especially hated when he read poems in different languages. We are at Endicott College in the United States of America, read the poems in ENGLISH. Not many people can understand your languages. We get the idea its the "cool" thing to do to know all of these languages, but most students cannot understand the different world languages he used. At the end of the day, bringing it all together the poems were not that bad. They had some meaning if you thought and focused, so that was a nice thing to have amidst the negative things about all other types of people but poets.


Reaction: Ouch! BUT I am glad that you have no problems expressing YOUR mind, even though as a RANT sort of way! (Just joking with your word “rants.”) Of course, regarding the languages, I read only one short poem in French, the translation in English, then one extremely short one in Spanish. You make it sound as if all I were doing was reading in foreign languages. Also, the USA is a multilingual country. Spanish is spoken by millions of American citizens. Parts of New Hampshire and Maine, not to mention Louisiana, are French speaking. And as mentioned, learning foreign languages opens the doors to other cultures and hopefully opens ones mind while doing so. By the way, two students liked the fact that I read those poems in foreign languages. So, evidently with that regard, I could not please everyone. In fact, a dissident certainly cannot hope to please everyone. If he pleases the majority, he is not a dissident, but a politician. As for “boring,” it can refer to any number of things, including to ones own inability to connect to what is being said. In other words, it is not necessarily the speaker’s flaw, but can also be that of the listener.

Liz: I enjoyed the poetry reading presented by G. Tod Slone. I think Slone’s personality came out in his poetry which made me enjoy it even more. He was a very honest man; he said what was on his mind without regard to others. One of my favorite things about Slone’s poetry is the fact that many of his poems were written in other languages. Even though I didn’t understand the poem he read in French, I thought it sounded beautiful. Sometimes the way something sounds makes it special, even though I didn’t understand the meaning or the vocabulary of the poem. It was beneficial when Slone discussed why he wrote each poem and the story behind it, before reading it. This allowed me to understand where the poem came from. Such as that poem he wrote when he was holding a sign at Walden Pond when the poets walked by. Had I heard that poem without hearing the background information I would have had no understanding of the meaning. Slone was a funny guy, I enjoyed when he referred to his wife as his female friend. I feel that I benefited from the reading; I learned that anything can inspire a poem to be written.
Reaction: Thanks much for the kind words!

Emily: This is a man who has no problem offending people with his opinions, and in my opinion, we are better off for his blunt insight. There is a time and place for everything, and it seems that G. Tod Slone has found his place in a dark, venomous, and brilliantly unique world all his own. He expresses his very essence in his writings, writings that are earthy and grounded. Most major poets work hard to build labyrinths with their words, which I sometimes feel are meant more to impress than to inspire or convey an emotion, event, or experience they had. G. Tod Slone, however, is not a poet like that. He tells you like it is in language we all use and comprehend. It is his blunt simplicity that moves me to call him great.

Reaction: Thank you for the compliment! I shall have to put that comment on my resume! Just kidding, of course.

Liz (2): I know that in the beginning of his seminar he said that he wasn’t going to be an entertainer, but then again he also said he wasn’t going to bore us, which seemed to happen. For a lot of the event I was bored and unfazed by what he was reading. I was scanning the crowd to see who attended and finding several ways to entertain myself. It seemed to me as though his poems were too scripted and there wasn’t enough freedom to them, but maybe then again it was the way that he was reading them. I wish he had put more emphasis and emotion into his reading that way the audience would have been more involved and engaged in what he was saying. I did like the way that everything he read was so different from one another. It was as though he was reading a bunch of different poems by different poets. I think it’s nice to have different ways to go about writing and that when it’s all very similar it tends to get old. I’m not going to lie; I definitely wouldn’t have attended this event if I wasn’t required to. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever been to, but it wasn’t the worst. I liked the way that it was an open poetry seminar and that people could share poems and pieces of writing that they wrote. I would never have the guts to do something like that, so it makes me respect those people and their confidence in their writing. I think the whole event just needed more excitement to it, in order to keep people’s attention and to get people involved.


Reaction: Ouch! But glad you have the courage to express yourself openly, even and especially when critical! Of course, I was concerned that I might have been akin to a preacher speaking to a roomful of atheists. Some would say, however, that it was not for me to dumb down and try to sing and dance on stage in an effort to grab your attention. Again, it takes two to tango. In other words, if the listener does not know, or has no interest in, what the speaker is talking about, it is inevitable the listener will become bored.

Kevin: “But at the same time I think he does some things just for a reaction. Like when he said the "N" word in class talking about something that he saw in NC.”


Reaction: Actually, I was not trying to get a reaction by using that word. Just the same, we’re adults, so if we all begin saying the “n” word, then we all fall into collective cowardice. Say the word! Not to say it constitutes the banning of a word. Journalists have been shamefully teaching us to do that. Orwell’s 1984 shows where word banning leads to. Also, perhaps trying to get a reaction is not necessarily negative.

Kevin: “I also think some of the stories he told he did not give the whole story, like when he was kicked out of the library. I feel as though he had some form of guilt, he didn't just get kicked out for being G.”

Reaction: Very good point. Indeed, how could someone w/o similar experience believe it actually possible that I hadn’t done anything wrong? This of course leads me to think about the Innocence Project, which has exonerated over a hundred prisoners, some incarcerated for murder and rape. They were in prison because of corrupt police, corrupt district attorneys, and false witness testimonials. Many people will still believe they’re guilty, no matter what. Also, with my regard, I was not offered possibility of due process. In other words, the librarian got to serve as judge and jury, while I didn’t even have the opportunity to pose my defense. That’s not supposed to happen in America! But it does and did.

Nick: “I liked to see that there are negative posts up on the blog as well. Seeing that he is not afraid to face criticism, and is willing to write responses to it rather than let it scare him off.”


Reaction: Good observation. Clearly, I could have “moderated” those blog comments, but if I had I would not have been any different from others who “moderate” (a nice word for “censor”). Many blogs have a list of rules, many of which are vague and clearly open to subjectivity. In fact, InsideHigherEd.com “moderates” and censored one of my comments. Because of that I was inspired to do a watercolor of the editor/moderator. In my humble opinion, “moderation” (i.e., censorship) does not belong in higher education at all and that includes censoring the word “nigger” by calling it the “n” word. BTW, I do not use that word to refer to blacks. I taught four years at two black colleges (HBCUs) and that enabled me to get a close look at black youth. It opened my eyes a tad. I know that there are all kinds of blacks just as there are all kinds of whites. Others, however, do use that word. Let’s bring that out into the arena of vigorous debate.

Katie: “The first thought that popped into my head when I open the website for The American Dissident was utter chaos. There is so much written on the first homepage, that I was not really sure where to begin my journey on the site.”

Reaction: Keep in mind that “chaos” means lack of organization. I have spent years organizing The American Dissident website. Clearly, it is organized. Perhaps you meant “chaos” in your mind as a result of seeing so much material?

Sarah: “When I first went to the website for "The American Dissident," it struck me how cluttered the home page is.”


Reaction: “Clutter” and “erratic” (Kristen’s word below) infer “chaos” or lack of organization. Rather than “clutter” or “erratic,” I think it would have been more appropriate to state there was a lot of material, much of which seemed foreign to you… or something like that. Just the same, I shall have to contemplate this criticism of “chaos,” though I do think “chaos” is not the appropriate term. Because you look at something and find it “overwhelming” or even “confusing” does not necessarily make it chaotic.

Kristen: “After looking around the website I was somewhat confused. I read some of the essays, none of which were by G. Tod Slone, and saw that they all had the common theme of 'telling it like it is'. […] When I went to the poem section I saw that Slone didn't have any writings there which I found strange. I feel as though if he was going to make a site that he should put some of his own ideas in writing.”


Reaction: Actually, many of my essays are posted on the website, but not on the page of essays written by famous persons. I wanted to avoid putting my name next to them, for evident reasons. Yours is a strange criticism because, if anything, I think there is too much, not too little, of my own writing on the website. In fact, that would be my major criticism of the journal: too much of my writing et al in each issue. However, I justify that by the fact that I rarely if ever receive a sufficient number of good submissions to fill a given issue.

Jill: “As an entertainer, you would have to write in a style that attracted others specifically so I think that is why we may have not enjoyed his poetry as much as he does himself.”

Reaction: Yours is a tough criticism for me to respond to. Perhaps the following Bukowski quote serves as a good response: “When poetry becomes popular enough to fill cabarets and music halls, then something is wrong with that poetry or with that audience.” Indeed, if everyone liked my poetry then clearly it would not possess such a critical bent. Moreover, if so many liked it, I suspect I’d be trying to please, as opposed to speaking the rude truth as I saw it. For me, a poet should always choose the latter, not the former. Also, it’s best for you to speak for yourself and not speak for the collective (i.e., “we”). Doing the latter is a hackneyed, hollow rhetorical tactic. Besides, how do you know how everyone thought? As you can read here, some did in fact like it. So, avoid using “we.” Just a tip.

Kelly: “However, like G. Tod said, all professors do not fit that mold. I agree that you most definitely don’t fit that mold, but I think he is being a little harsh saying that 99.99% do. There are other professors out there, even some at Endicott, that shares a similar philosophy.”


Reaction: Good point. However, I base that 99.99% on my experience over the past several decades of constant questioning and challenging of professors throughout the USA. Rarely, indeed, do I ever receive a response. Perhaps 95% would have been a better figure. Ninety per cent would have definitely been too generous for that would constitute one out of ten. My experience dictates the number to be more like one out of 100 or even higher. My testing the waters of democracy in academe supports this statement.

Kelly: I was a bit taken aback when he stated that poets are not meant to entertain. He went on to say that he was entertaining at the moment and was therefore a hypocrite. Why can’t poets entertain? Aren’t they writing so that someone can read them? Reading a poem in itself is a form of entertainment. I think that at times he may try to put too many restrictions on what it is he does. He appears to be a man who writes when he wants to write and does what he pleases. We do not need to define a poet. A poet just is.

Reaction: Good points here. I did want to bring that contradiction to light, which is why I mentioned it. But what I really stated, or at least wanted to state, was that FOR ME a poet should not be an entertainer (i.e., a court jester or courtesan), but rather a rude truth teller. Again, this is my opinion. What I actually said during the reading was that by standing up in front of people, it was automatic that I was expected to entertain them. BUT I did have the choice between acting as a court jester of poetic fluff or as a teller of hard truths. Thus, I chose the latter. You’re right, there was a definite conflict in my mind with that regard. Hypocrisy? Perhaps a little. But I’m not fully convinced. Yet how else to get my message out there in the agora of ideas that is supposed to be our democracy? In other words, I could justify my appearance, arguing that by standing in front of professors and students I could be highly critical of them, and that was an opportunity not to be missed. Most poets today were careerists. In that sense, most did not dare “go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways” (Emerson). What they sought to do was win prizes, get published, and become famous.

Kelly: “I’m not sure why, but I found it uncharacteristic that he had prepared what he was going to say. I have never met him before, however from what I had known of him I expected him to stand up there and wing it. Just read some poems and tell us about himself.”


Reaction: Again, yours is an interesting comment. I’m not really a “winger.” Good writing inevitably requires much organization, research (looking up words in the dictionary or whatever), and editing, quite the opposite of “winging” it. Some poems, at least of mine, do not read well out loud. Thus, I wanted to go over my poems at home to make sure they read okay, fluently. Some I decided were too long, so didn’t use them. It’s always a tough call and subjective. Preparation is important. Because I have a dissident (questioning and challenging) mind does not automatically mean I don’t prepare or wish to prepare. On the contrary, I’ve got to reflect and prepare perhaps more than most because I want my arguments to be solid.

Caitlin: “However; as I continued to read I found some things to be a bit offensive. When describing the purpose of this website the following statement was made, "An integral part of the journal's focus includes the highlighting of intelligent, often educated people (e.g., professors, teachers, poets, and editors) oddly possessing a severe deficiency in the area of logical argumentation. One might indeed label them Mentally Challenged, in the PC sense, though unlike the retarded, they are not challenged in the areas of memory and successful conformist functioning in society." I did not like how he originally called the Mentally Challenged, mentally challenged and then later referred to them as "retarded." I thought that his statement was a bit offensive. I also think that he should not be categorizing. I thinking that he is making a lot of stereotypes and I didn't really like what he had to say. However, I read one of his articles any ways.

Reaction: Here’s a great quote on OFFEND from a black female writer, Jamaica Kincaid: “Express everything you like. No word can hurt you. None. No idea can hurt you. Not being able to express an idea or a word will hurt you much more. As much as a bullet. [...] A lot of energy is wasted on these superficial things [speech codes]... I can’t get upset about ‘offensive to women’ or ‘offensive to blacks’ or ‘offensive to native Americans’ or ‘offensive to jews’... Offend! I can’t get worked up about it. Offend!” I agree with her entirely. Our educational system is forcing students to be overly concerned with offending and little concerned with truth telling. I mean and meant no mockery whatsoever with regards the “retarded.” Too many students (and professors) today focus more on PC terminology, than on logic and truth… and that is what is so very sad. “Mentally challenged” or “retarded”? What’s the difference? It’s a simple matter of superficial semantics! Why should “mentally challenged” be kinder than “retarded”? To me, the former sounds absurd and forced upon us by leftist PC educators. No thanks! Perhaps if I’ve “offended” you then indeed I did my “job” as poet. I am far more concerned not with offending you, but with you being easily offended. Democracy demands spine (and tough skin)! Yet citizens today seem to have less and less of it. Truth by its very nature will often be offensive. Given the choice between truth and being offensive, I’ll always choose the former. Also, I did not write ALL poets, ALL professors and ALL editors were thus. I simply mentioned them as examples of “educated” classes of people.

For many more comments, see www.theamericandissident.org/Hope.htm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The American Dissident, a Sexist and Racist Publication?

"The United States could become a color-free society. It’s possible. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but it’s perfectly possible that it would happen, and it wouldn’t change the political economy, hardly at all. Just as you could remove the “glass ceiling” for women and that wouldn’t change the political economy, hardly at all. That’s one of the reasons why you quite commonly find the business sector reasonably willing, often happy to support efforts to overcome racism and sexism. It basically doesn’t matter that much. You lose a little white male privilege but that’s not all that important. On the other hand, basic changes in the core institutions would be bitterly resisted, if they ever became thinkable."
–Noam Chomsky, Keeping the Rabble in Line

Racism, sexism, and diversity, as subjects, did not interest me all that much. They’d become hackneyed and entirely PC co-opted. Indeed, in academe, they'd become shamefully far more important than truth and vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy. But when someone insulted me, as Dahn Shaulis had, insinuating I was sexist and racist, then I responded. Even Al Sharpton argued recently that the PC knee-jerk racism excuse was no longer a valid one for inner city blacks since "We are the man, now!" That PC excuse was used by professors at Duke University to blame innocent white male students. Though I agreed the fight against racism had helped forge the American democracy, I disagreed with Shaulis regarding its importance today. For me, classism was far more pertinent. Indeed, many blacks were now part of the classist-power structure, as Chomsky rightfully noted. Obama, Holder, Oprah, Angelou, Cosby, Jackson, Smith, etc., etc. were certainly part of it.

In any case, recently, Shaulis, a former contributor and generous supporter, accused, as mentioned, that I was racist and sexist and that The American Dissident was a racist and sexist literary journal. In fact, this blog entry was inspired by several people informing me that Shaulis had been sending out the following message: "Tod Slone, editor of the American Dissident, a racist and sexist? You decide."

Shaulis’ conclusion had been brewing for several years. Indeed, over two years ago I’d told him I was brutally kicked and robbed by three black racist dickheads in Baton Rouge, whom I’d foolishly trusted (see poem below in previous blog). Shaulis automatically focused in on my calling them racists, as if blacks could not be racists. He manifested zero compassion regarding what had happened to me. That event and our recent correspondence provoked the above cartoon.

[Interestingly, the New York Times just ran (2/16/09) an article on black racism in New Orleans just around the corner from Baton Rouge. “There’s racism of blacks against Latinos,” noted an illegal Honduran, Roger Cruz. But the Times of course avoided using the term "illegal," which ran counter to PC dogma. Note the major shareholder in the Times was the Mexican billionaire Slim. It also countered what the Honduran said: "The accusation of racism does not ring true to some city leaders. The Hispanic workers tacitly acknowledge some unfamiliarity with the dangerous ways of inner-city life, and in the eyes of some in New Orleans, they have mistaken simple opportunism for racism." Of course, black racism also ran counter to PC dogma.]

Because Shaulis had been such a great financial support, I suggested our exchange and the cartoon not be published, but he argued that would be censorship and insisted they be published: "I never mentioned my financial support of the American Dissident in this email exchange. Don't let that be an excuse for self-censorship."

I’d been accused of a lot of things before, but that was, as far as I could recall, the first time I’d ever been accused of sexism and racism. Well, perhaps not. Back in 2002, I was teaching at Bennett College, an all black female institution. What I’d simply done there, as I’d done at previous mostly white institutions employing me, was “go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways” (Emerson). Because of my essays and cartoons, published in the Bennett Banner, the student political group decided to hold a forum on them and invited me to participate. There, I was accused of racism, though perhaps indirectly—I cannot recall. One cartoon infuriated a number of students (not all!) and administrators alike. It depicted trustee Maya Angelou and college president Johnnetta Cole meeting obese students at the local Krispie Kreme donut shop (see below). Sadly, that cartoon depicted a real occurrence. Sadly, that college president chose to ignore that obesity and diabetes were perhaps rampant in the student population. What she chose to highlight was that the manager of that particular Krispie Kreme was a "black entrepreneur." It didn’t matter to her that encouraging obese black students to feed on garbage at a donut shop was downright stupid and irresponsible. In vain, I certainly had brought that to her attention. The faculty, of course, remained silent. For cartoons and writing regarding my Bennett College experience, see www.theamericandissident.org/Bennett.htm.
One has to wonder why an educated citizen like Dahn Shaulis could not comprehend the reason for the above cartoon. It was my humble opinion that if one criticized blacks, he or she was not necessarily racist. Indeed, if I criticized, as I did, whites with equal or greater virulence, then a racist I simply was not. Shaulis could not comprehend that simple self-evident truth either. Quite simply, PC would not permit indoctrinees to comprehend logic whenever it countered PC diversity, affirmative action, illegal immigration, and speech-restricting dogma.

"While I hypothesize that some of your American Dissident material would be considered blatantly racist and sexist by those who can deconstruct it better than I, your prejudice is even more apparent in your emails,” wrote Shaulis. Now, Shaulis had a PhD in sociology with, it appeared (he was currently teaching courses on race), a specialty in race and racism, so what he meant by “deconstruct better” did not make much sense at all.

Of course, I asked Shaulis for precision with that regard. But he simply chose not to respond. I also asked him to provide examples from past issues of The American Dissident to back his accusation, but he refused to address that comment. After all, it was an easy thing to accuse and not provide evidence to support the accusation! I wrote a poem on that in 2002.

In Academe
When anonymous complaints overrule truth,
we know we are not in a court of law.

When alleged yelling or anger overrules truth,
the miasmas of collegiality smothers thinking.

When the shedding of tears overrules truth,
the tide of lies and hypocrisy surges…

As for Shaulis’ accusation regarding me, he noted: "No, I wouldn't have you arrested for being the aversive racist and sexist that you are." As for supporting examples of that comment, Shaulis evoked my writing and cartooning vis-à-vis Bennett College and Grambling State University (see www.theamericandissident.org/GSU.htm), another all-black institution later employing me. In vain, I attempted to bring his attention to the many more examples of my critical writing and cartooning vis-à-vis white males, not to mention my favorable highlighting certain black authors. Oddly, he remarked: “It's not surprising that an aversive racist would be blind to his or her own racism, that people might hire an aversive racist/sexist, or that an aversive racist might use quotes from Black authors or publish Black authors."

By the way, Shaulis’ recent sexist/racist accusation was sparked when, in an informal email response, I’d noted a librarian recently issued me a no-trespass order (see blog below), though I’d done nothing at all illegal and was accorded no due process. The librarian must have been “on the rag,” I wrote Shaulis. He focused on that comment and manifested complete indifference to the no-trespass order and lack of due process. Evidently and sadly, for Shaulis and many others like him, including many professors, a harmless verbal comment was far more important than the First Amendment and due process.

Shaulis' racism accusation was further sparked by my mentioning that Obama was proving to be nothing more than “Bubba with a black face.” For him, that was a racist statement. For me, however, it simply recognized that Obama had been stocking his cabinet with former Clinton (i.e., Bubba) cronies. I’d certainly be very interested in hearing from others why they thought that comment a racist one.

Rather than the racist/sexist accusation, what really irked me was the general unfounded accusation that I tended to alter correspondence appearing in the “Literary Letters” section of The American Dissident to make me look good. Shaulis wrote: "Keep the intro and the bolding. They prove my hypothesis that you intentionally craft American Dissident pieces in your favor. I suppose you will also avoid putting my last emails in as well. That appears to be your m.o." Needless to say, his “last emails” were indeed put in.

For the unaltered email exchange, see www.theamericandissident.org/Shaulis.htm. Finally, what characterized the exchange more than anything else, as far as I could determine, was Shaulis’ uncanny inability to reason logically, his absolute focus and insistance on racism, his seeming indifference to matters of free speech, speech codes, and democracy, and his general PC indoctrination. You be the judge.

By the way, the last email sent to Shaulis went unanswered.

Dahn,
One thing that I am not is a grudge holder. Don’t worry, I had no intention of contacting people at your community college. My door will always be open to you, though I do hope you will one day reconsider your accusations and denigration of my character.
G. Tod

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Open Letter to Americans for the Arts

Indirectly, I received your urgent email, “Breaking News,” regarding the approval of the “egregious amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)” to the economic recovery bill, which stipulated, as noted in that email: "None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project."

You, of course, were disappointed: “Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a wide vote margin of 73-24, and surprisingly included support from many high profile Senators including Chuck Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and several other Democratic and Republican Senators.”

However, I was delighted! Indeed, why should DISSIDENT poets, writers, artists, and editors be at all upset by what seemed to have upset you so much? After all, we did not receive funding. We did not receive awards. We did not receive lucrative fellowships. We did not receive grants. We did not receive NPR invitations to jabber on the air with PC-bourgeois tonality. The easy public monies were simply not for us!

The Boston Globe ran an article rightfully against the push by multimillionaire Quincy Jones to get Obama to establish a Ministry of the Fine Arts. What it failed to realize, however, was that the nation already had such a Ministry. The NEA served that function, while NPR acted as its voice. Former director Dana Gioia served the role of arts tsar, a good term for it, since the arts tsar served as dictator of aesthetics and taste, inevitably favoring the bourgeois over the dissident. Indeed, the art the NEA tended to push was ineluctably of the established-order variety. What the Boston Globe needed to do was examine the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which acted as the state Ministry of the Arts. Why did it not do that?

As long as all political artistic persuasions were not treated equally by state cultural apparatchiks, public money should not be spent on the arts. The nation did not need more NPR smiley-faced multimillionaire artists with effete sounding voices a la Quincy Jones or Herbie Hancock! What it needed was more artists daring to “go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways” (Emerson) and who let their lives “be a counterfriction to stop the machine” (Thoreau). Of course, such artists would not make successful careerists, let alone cultural apparatchiks like Charles Coe and Mina Wright of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Money, like it or not, determined which art would be promoted and end up in the nation’s museums. Lack of money, connections, and networking prowess would likely relegate the artist (or writer), no matter how good, into the oubliettes.

Indeed, why would dissidents wish to see more public taxpayer monies flow into the hands of cultural agencies and projects? Why would they wish to see such monies flow into the hands of the Concord Cultural Council, for example, which recently adopted a rule eliminating from funding any project it decided to deem of a “political nature.” This year it gave public money to Friends of the Performing Arts of Concord, for its “Concord Messiah Sing.” Yet how could one possibly conceive according public monies to religious song events as apolitical? In fact, it was perhaps unconstitutional! The new “political nature” rule was adopted, by the way, to keep me from obtaining public funding. The Concord Journal refused to publish my criticism of the Council.

Why would dissidents wish to see more public monies flow into the hands of the National Endowment for the Arts, which made autocratic determinations? Indeed, it deemed The American Dissident “low” and “poor” and refused to provide any specific information with that regard, despite my citizen requests. Why would dissidents wish to see more public monies flow into the hands of the Academy of American Poets, which acted as bourgeois censor and held bourgeois panels of "distinguished" bourgeois poetasters on bourgeois aesthetics? As for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, its hack-appointed apparatchiks simply refused to respond to my citizen questions:

1. Why did taxpayers fund Agni and Harvard University Museums, for example, when both organizations were connected to private billion-dollar corporate-educational institutions? Did that not indicate something rotten in the very hearts and minds of grant-according panelists and in the MCC in general? SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILENCE!

2. Why did the MCC only fund literary journals that didn’t really need the funding? In other words, why did a journal with a budget under the necessary $10K minimum not even merit consideration for funding? As editor of The American Dissident, a highly unique literary journal devoted to unusual vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, I could not even get funding from the local Concord Cultural Council. Nothing! And I’d been trying for over a decade! SIIIIIIILENCE!

3. Why did the MCC rarely, or perhaps never, have as panelists individuals whose very creation was focused on hardcore criticism of the academic/literary established-order milieu and canon itself? If a project highly dissident in nature with such a focus were to be presented before established-order type panelists, evidently it would immediately be deemed not of “artistic excellence.” After all, it would take a rare panelist who could look at criticism of the panelist him or herself… and actually proceed objectively. How could I become a rare dissident panelist for the MCC? SIIIIIIIIIIIILENCE!
4. Dan Blask, MCC Program Coordinator, stated: “Since we rely on panelists solely for their artistic opinions, when selecting them we focus on their artistic expertise and accomplishments…” Since “accomplishments,” however, inevitably translated as popularity in the established-order milieu, didn’t that rule for obtaining panelists exclude someone with a dissident outlook and focus (i.e., someone not popular in the milieu, thus not “accomplished”)? SIIIIIIIIIIILENCE!

5. Since the MCC was a public organization, should it not make a special effort to open its doors not simply to multicultural viewpoints, but to dissident-political viewpoints as well? Would that not benefit democracy, as opposed to literature as usual in the status-quo oligarchy? SIIIIIIIILLENCE!

Clearly, those were tough questions without simple answers. For democracy, however, they demanded answers.

Finally, funding the projects Americans for the Arts wanted funded would likely not produce jobs in a time where jobs were desperately needed. As an unemployed professor, I was perhaps unemployable in my profession because I had spoken out against the likes of Americans for the Arts, NEA, MCC, etc. Indeed, until your group spoke for all artists, poets, and writers, how could one not perceive it as just another hissing snake head of the established-order GORGON, enemy of democracy?

Herd poets, writers, artists, professors, cultural council apparatchiks and others in the “Arts” seemed to harbor a clear preference for bourgeois tone and etiquette over vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy. Because of that egregious preference, it would be surprising if you responded to this open-letter blog entry. Miracles, however, did happen… though quite rarely.

Monday, February 2, 2009

An Experiment in Democracy: Tufts University Experimental College

Thoughts during and after the 20-Minute Interview
"That’s right; the university is a legal corporation, administratively independent from the Ministry of Education, run by corporate executives. All committees are purely consultative. The Senate is mainly staffed by subservient (and amazingly silent) professors and the Board of Governors (the BOG) is mainly populated by representatives of the university’s corporate allies. Both chambers simply vote yes to the President’s recommendations. To my knowledge, no executive recommendation has ever been overturned or even consequentially delayed in my 21 years here."
—University of Ottawa Prof. Denis Rancourt, who dared risk his career for his ideals (banned from campus, then taken away in cuffs February 2009)

[N.B.: Not one of the many Tufts University professors contacted deigned to respond to this blog entry. Thus is the state of vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, in the Ivory Tower.]

A friend had suggested Tufts University Experimental College might be interested in a course revolving around what I did, which was practice creative activist-dissident writing. Free speech and vigorous debate, cornerstones of democracy, permitted writers in America to write without self-censorship. Those cornerstones ought to be taught, studied, revered, and discussed thoroughly in the context of college-writing classes. Yet how many writing professors, if any, actually did so? Well, I was aware of one, Professor Dan Sklar, who was teaching at another college. But why did most likely not do so? Self-censorship, careerism, and blinding conformity were perhaps the culprits. In any case, I examined the Experimental College website, which boasted being “the oldest organization of its kind in the United States” and served “as a major focus for educational innovation, expansion of the undergraduate curriculum, and faculty/student collaboration within Arts, Sciences, and Engineering.” Innovation sounded “experimental,” but “expansion” did not. It sounded “business.”

“Literature, Democracy, Dissidence, and TRUTH” was the writing course I thus devised. Its “experimental” nature gleamed from the title itself, for dissent and truth, in academe and elsewhere, were being gagged by speech codes and other PC requisites. The Foundation of Individual Rights in Education had designated Tufts and a handful of other universities, including Brandeis University, Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University, “Red Alert institutions” because they “displayed a severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of students or faculty members.” Those institutions were "the ‘worst of the worst’ when it comes to liberty on campus.” Examine www.thefire.org/index.php/promo and also “Tufts University: Hostile Environment for Free Thought” (Hawaii Reporter), “Tufts tops list of free-speech foes” (Boston Herald), "The PC enforcers" (The Trentonian), and "Campus Alert: Don’t joke at Tufts" (New York Post).

Perhaps I should have used one of those titles for the title of my course. In any case, the only way professors and administrators would accept a course such as the one I proposed was if they were not proponents of the PC-bridled speech that got Tufts into trouble with FIRE in the first place. In the course, students would examine censorship at, amongst other places, their very own university, be asked to delineate personal taboo areas, and encouraged to break some of those areas by writing about them and even seeking to get that writing published. Every writer (and academic!) knew damn well that “success” depended on turning a blind eye and manifesting a certain degree of herd conformity. Sadly, at least for democracy, most chose the road to “success.” One such taboo area for students might very well include their professors and the Experimental College itself.

Thus, I filled out the application for “Visiting Lecturers” and sent it with my newly created syllabus… into the academic void. Well, actually I was hopeful. After all, this was an “experimental” college. Eventually, I was contacted for an interview. My friend naively thought it was a done deal. But I’d seen far too much in academe to know better. Program Assistant Nikki Bruce responded to my query: “I can tell you that we interview 90-95% of applicants. Your candidacy is certainly being considered, but at this point, I can’t really comment on what that means for your chances. It’s a competitive process, and we try to be fair to all candidates.”
Two of the three interviewers would be students. Were candidates being used as a cheap means for students to practice their interviewing skills? It would be interesting to know if in fact that were an explicit policy. Tufts offered no cash at all to help defray travel expenses, not even for parking on campus! These were indeed desperate times… at least for me.

Out of the approximately 45 so-called “experimental” courses listed for the Fall term 2008, most appeared to be not even remotely “experimental,” including “The Women of Byzantium,” “Medical Spanish,” “History of Documentary Films,” “The Writer's Craft: Practical and Theoretical Approaches,” “The Comic Book in American Culture,” “Forensic Science and the Investigation of Crime Reconstruction,” “The Constitution and American Education,” “Investing in Stocks,” “Advanced Filmmaking,” and “Advanced Electronic and Digital Media.”

Those courses, or similar ones, would likely be found in the curriculums (as electives or other) of universities not even possessing experimental colleges. A handful of the other courses seemed, especially for a university, to be a bit ludicrous in subject matter and scope, including “Soccer, Society, and Immigration” (“As society evolves and changes with immigration, so do its sports”), “The Business of Sports: A Study of the NBA,” “Road Trip: The Automobile, Tourist Traps, and Modern America,” “Bullying in Social Context” (did we need an entire course devoted to “bullying”?), and “Birth of the Tube: A History of Early Television.”

Few of the courses, if any at all, could even remotely be considered daring, risky, or simply politically incorrect. Only a handful of them seemed somewhat “experimental” in nature, including “Producing Films for Social Change,” “Separation of Church and State in American Life,” and “Faith and Social Action: How Faith Inspires Activism.”

My experience—several decades in academe as a professor—underscored that most professors were generally indifferent, if not downright hostile, to truth telling and the needs of democracy for it. What most were interested in was the inculcation of canon (and even PC) in their students. This I sensed during my interview. Democracy itself was not often contemplated and thus tended to perplex, as it seemed to do with my interviewers. Likely I’d confused the term “experimental” with openness, that is, openness to what normally would not be permitted in the curriculum of a “normal” university, in other words, truth telling! Society encouraged the corrupting of terms, “experimental” included. Read Orwell’s 1984!

In the designated conference room, I showed up a little early. One of the student interviewers eventually appeared, so I introduced myself. He was Andrew Wise, English major and rather taciturn, not at all enthusiastic, and immediately began reading over a copy of my syllabus, as if he hadn’t yet even looked at it. Before him, I’d spread upon the table several copies of The American Dissident, which I created, edited and planned on using in the course, several journals that had interviewed me (my face on the front covers), and a new book of my critical poetry. I offered them for his perusal, but he chose to continue reading the syllabus instead. The other student interviewer then appeared. Again, I introduced myself. She was Rachel Abbott, majoring in International Relations. I suggested she take a look at the books and magazines on the table. But she too expressed little interest and proceeded to read her copy of the syllabus, as if she hadn’t yet read it either.

Christiane Romero, the faculty interviewer, arrived 10 minutes late and apologized: “I’m sorry I’m late.” She had a thick German accent and looked like an aging academic. She introduced herself as a professor of German and proceeded to briefly explain the evaluation process: “This is only a preliminary interview. It has to be determined if it fits into the program for the semester. If not, then perhaps for the following semester.” Of course, I immediately wondered why that hadn’t been determined prior to the interview. “We are only a part of the process,” she emphasized. The questions then began. “Do you mind if I stand?” I asked. “Well, perhaps you should sit,” said the professor. So, I sat.

“How would you be grading students?” asked Rachel. “I mean what if you don’t agree with what they write, and what about grammar?” I responded that correct grammar was important and whether or not I agreed would depend on the rigor of the logic employed and cogent supporting illustrations underscored. “If a paper is riddled with grammar errors, it tends to divert attention away from the message,” I noted.

“Will the assignments be equally weighted or how would you grade the assignments?” asked Andrew. “You call this a writing course. How would it be different?” “Well, the assignments would be of equal weight,” I responded. “I suggest four papers, for example. The last would not necessarily be the most important one, though if a student makes the same errors on each paper it could then be weighted more heavily in the negative. Students will be asked to enumerate their taboo areas, for example, then encouraged to write about them. In other words, every writer knows what he or she shouldn’t write about if he or she wants to be successful.” I mimicked quote marks with my fingers regarding the term “successful.” “Orwell had noted ‘A modern literary intellectual lives and writes in constant dread—not, indeed, of public opin­ion in the wider sense, but of public opinion within his own group.’ I’ve included an ample reading list. Orwell’s essay ‘The Prevention of Literature’, for example, is on it. If you haven’t read it, you really should.” Andrew asked me to repeat the title, which I did, then he wrote it down.

“But isn’t successful a subjective term?” asked the professor, who apparently hadn’t understood my gesture. “Sure,” I said. “But by ‘success’ I mean with regards society’s idea of ‘success’. In other words, every professor knows, for example, what he or she shouldn’t write about, if he or she wants to get tenure, early retirement, sabbaticals, special favor or whatever else.” Certainly she understood that!

I showed them the two Tufts student newspapers, one conservative, the other liberal, both of which I’d leafed through prior to the interview. I’d circled “moaning and complaining” on one of them and held it up. “What’s wrong with those terms?” I asked, but nobody responded. “Well, valid criticism ought not to be dismissed as ‘moaning and complaining’,” I said. “That’s lazy and empty ad hominem rhetoric. You do know what that is, right?” The two students nodded. “But don’t you think some criticism is complaining?” said the professor. “If there’s truth to it, then it’s not complaining,” I replied, but she didn’t quite seem satisfied with that response.

“What other goals have you set for this course?” asked the professor. “Well, I’d like to sensitize students to issues of free speech,” I said. “Tufts University, for example, is enacting a ‘Declaration of Freedom of Expression and Inquiry’. Maybe you’re aware of this?” Both students nodded again, though half-heartedly. “Well, it stipulates that, and I quote, that it ‘requires an environment of respect, tolerance, and civil dialogue.’ So, what’s wrong with that statement?”

Nobody responded. Their enthusiasm and inquisitiveness was close to nil. Grades! That’s what seemed to move them, not democracy. “Well, it permits in essence the arbitrary truncation of freedom of expression by professors and administrators who would arbitrarily determine what constitutes ‘tolerance’ and what constitutes ‘civil’,” I said. “In other words, it puts civility above freedom of expression, whereas the opposite should be true in an institution of higher education.”

“Would you then be in favor of hate speech?” asked the professor. “If it’s truthful, yes,” I said. “In fact, it’s constitutionally protected in America. The ACLU has stated that the ‘First Amendment protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Speech codes adopted by government-financed state colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution’ [for the full statement, see www.aclu.org/studentsrights/expression/12808pub19941231.html]. There’s also what is known as the heckler’s veto. Do you know what that is?” They didn’t know. “Well, it’s a legal term in a sense and means that somebody who doesn’t like what somebody else might say or does say can truncate that person’s right to say it by simply heckling or making a stink. Far too often, universities succumb to the will of politically-correct hecklers.” Their blank looks made me think my spiel went right over their noggins.

“Oh, so you blog?” said the professor perusing my syllabus. “Yes, I just began doing that a month ago,” I said. “I like to perform what I call experiments in free speech. You’ll note that on the blog. I queried, for example, some 60 UMass English professors with regards the academic culture. Only three responded. Two basically called me an asshole, while the third said he’d be interested in reading anything that had to do with Shakespearian England. That particular experiment supported my hypothesis that professors in general were not very interested in vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy.” Blank looks veered my way again.

“What would you do if a student felt uncomfortable in a class like the one you want to teach?” asked Rachel. “Well, this is probably a course that would require a caveat,” I responded. “You do know what that means?” “Yes,” she said. “Well, it’s a course that would attempt to make students aware of the importance of having tough skin in a democracy,” I said. “Too much truth is being suppressed because someone might find it offensive. I’m entirely for truth and not so concerned about offending or not offending—students or professors.”

Then the interview was over. Only 20 minutes were permitted, though I think I’d exceeded that time limit. The professor asked if she could have a copy of The American Dissident. “It wouldn’t be used in the process,” she said. “It’s just for my own curiosity.” So I gave her a copy, and never heard from her again. Her hate-speech comment seemed to reflect she was a PC practitioner. What, I wondered, had qualified her to be an Experimental College interviewer? Had she ever even performed an experiment in her life? How to sell a course on dissidence and democracy to a tenured German professor on the verge of retirement? It would have been a lot easier to sell soap or Fuller brushes. Evidently, I would have had a fighting chance if the course had been called “Writing across the Curriculum for Women,” “Writing for the Afro-American Stock Analyst,” or simply “Writing for the Texting Generation.” Overall, I thought the interview went poorly and was convinced my course would not be accepted. And indeed, a month later, I’d discover it wasn’t… “due to the high volume of applications” and the “applicant pool was extremely competitive.”

Thus, I perused the courses offered for the Spring 2009 semester. Again, most of them would easily fit into “normal” curriculums elsewhere in foreign language, sociology, psychology, political science and other such departments. Those courses included “Introduction to Haitian Creole and Culture,” “Marxist Ideology,” “Nature Encounters Through Art,” “Sadism, Masochism, and Society,” “Introduction to Trauma: Individual, Family, Community, and Global,” “The Vietnam War in American Culture,” “The Consumer Society,” “Black Power: Student Civil Rights Movements,” “Race, Social Justice & The Moving Image,” “Al Qaeda and Modern Terrorism,” and “Latin America: Democracy, Human Rights, and Civil Society,” “Americans in Paris” (Hemingway redux?), and “Medical Spanish” (once again).

“The Jewish Origins of Punk Rock,” “Introduction to Game Development,” “The History of Geography” and “Digital Democracy in the 21st century: Internet and Mobile Phones” appeared somewhat superfluous for an institution of higher education, while “The AIDS Epidemic in Theatre and Film” and “Jazz as Global Music: Cultural Adaptations of an American Art Form” seemed sufficiently PC. Again, few of the courses, if any at all, could remotely be considered daring, risky, or simply politically incorrect. “Education for Active Citizenship” and “The Constitution and the State of American Education” seemed somewhat similar to my course proposal, but would the professors teaching them actively encourage students to test their citizenship and examine the “state” vis-à-vis Tufts University? Would “Ethical Leadership in Business” touch upon Tufts University? And how about “Guerilla Performance Art & Politics”?

How many of the accepted courses would be encouraging students to open their eyes and, in the name of free expression and vigorous debate, write career-nefarious truth-telling essays such as this one? Was I disappointed by the negative outcome? Certainly! Fortunately, however, the time spent on the proposal wasn’t wasted. Indeed, it resulted in this creative-writing essay and also enabled me to further contemplate the oddity that those who would exercise their First Amendment rights at an institution like Tufts University tended to be conservatives, while those seeking to suppress them, liberals (see www.thefire.org/index.php/case/742.html). How might professor liberals, for example, be teaching at Tufts Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service? Were they teaching that “public service” had increasingly become equated with “self service,” careerism, and the road to making millions like the Clintons and Daschel?

Finally, in the hope of instigating a little vigorous debate, this essay was sent to Nikki Bruce, Program Assistant at the Experimental College, Robyn Gittleman, Director of the Experimental College, and Christopher Barbour, Coordinator of Special Collections, Tisch Library, who had yet to respond to my requests that he examine The American Dissident for subscription consideration. Also, it was sent to the student newspapers, Tufts Daily and Primary Source. The latter was conservative and had been under extreme pressure by Tufts professors and administrators to conform to the needs of PC, as opposed to those of democracy. Furthermore, it was sent to about 45 instructors and professors teaching in the English department—lit bait thrown into the murky waters of the academic/literary established order milieu. Would any of them respond? If lucky, one or several might. That had been my experience with UMass English professors. Eventually, the director responded: "Thank you for your letter of December 17th. I read it carefully and willshare it with other members of our board." No further response was received. Vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy? Certainly not at Tufts!

Likely this very essay would prevent any future chances of my having a course accepted by the Experimental College, though did I really have a chance and would I really wish to submit to another interview conducted by somewhat indifferent and incurious interviewers?

The term “experimental” had a certain mystique and element of hope about it. The reality of the Experimental College fell short of what that mystique and hope would seem to promise. That reality was one of business as usual; that is, college as usual. Perhaps Tufts ought to rename its Experimental College in an effort to conform it to that reality… or better yet rethink the “experiment” which, in the College's own words: "after nearly forty-five years as a vital, thriving part of the university, the Experimental College is no longer an 'experiment'."

The rethinking, if done, should be effected not by those of the corporate/academic mindset, but rather by untenured, free thinkers, uninhibited by the requisites of careerism.