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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ian Thal, Poet Court Jester

The above cartoon was done several years ago and sent to Thal who, of course, was not pleased. Since I've noticed his response with its regard when googling The American Dissident, I decided to post the cartoon here in order to get it into the Google machine. Thal is a poet who actually wears a court jester outfit when giving readings. Thal corrected me: it's actually a clown's uniform. Court jester or clown, how could I have possibly resisted? So, I basically copied a photo he'd had on line. In a sense, Thal is a rare, honest poet who is not ashamed of his role as literary court jester... or rather clown.


Ian Thal said...

My displeasure was only that the cartoon was poorly executed in terms of both technique and concept, as outlined here. I even offered several suggestions for making better cartoons lampooning Ian Thal. I do so enjoy laughing at myself and I wish you had done a better job.

What you fail to understand though, is that just as you are a polemicist and poet who draws amateurish cartoons; I am primarily a theatre artist who also writes poetry (and thus, take no shame in my craft.)

Also note, that I am not a court jester, but a zanni which are entirely different clown traditions; I commend you to study theatrical traditions of pre-revolutionary Europe to understand the distinction.

G. Tod Slone said...

Shoot the messenger, ignore the message! Shoot the cartooning techniques, igore the cartooning message! Typical.

I thus stand corrected: you are not a poet court jester, but rather a poet clown!

Ian Thal said...

I'm not ignoring the message of your cartoon: I'm just pointing out that your cartoon states the obvious: "Ian Thal, as well as being a poet, playwright, and sometime critic, also happens to be a clown."

Nothing of which I'm ashamed.

There's no need to shoot the aimless messenger carrying a pointless message.

I'm sorry that it's a poorly executed and unimaginative cartoon as I'd have been proud to be lampooned by a competent cartoonist.

Now, I suppose this is the moment where you start accusing me of being in league with those forces conspiring to keep you obscure, or at least compare me to Stalin, right?

G. Tod Slone said...

How often and in how many ways can a proud clown poet shoot the messenger? The cartoon was created because poet clowns or court jesters serve the established order by rendering poetry PG smiley-faced. And PG smiley-faced is the kind of poet to whom the established-order likes to award prizes for evident reasons. The logic is egregiously present, though perhaps not for a poet clown. You are a clown for the established-order, whereas I am a critic against the established order. And we can go on and on ad infinitum with this dialogue de sourds. Now, your turn Ian. Well, uh, the cartoon was poorly executed and blablabla. Well, I suppose I could do another toon and more accurately depict your face if you'd like. But I'd need a better photo. We could label it THE AWARD-WINNING, NOMINATED FOR PRIZES CLOWN POET. Actually, I kind of like that! Now, why would I compare you to Stalin? You've got zero power. You certainly have no power over me. And how do you know I don't get published? And what the hell does it matter if I do or don't.

G. Tod Slone said...

PS: If I thought you had any clout at all in the Boston area, I would have placed you in my Brueghel toon. Did you see that one? Just scroll down a tad and you'll see your Boston buddies!

G. Tod Slone said...

Looking at your blog, I've noticed no particular ideas at all, nothing unique at all, just IAN THAL written over and over and over all over it.

G. Tod Slone said...

I know there's little point in mentioning this, Ian, but you completely perverted my use of fascism regarding your heroes Ferlinghetti and Codrescu. The fact, as opposed to the Thalian fiction, is that I borrowed Ferlinghetti's own words "friendly fascism" and simply applied them to the established-order literary milieu of which he clearly forms an integral part. Can a thinking person really deny that milieu to be "friendly fascist" in nature when it categorically refuses to publish anything critical of it and its icons? Why don't you also give Ferlinghetti your lecture on fascism? After all, he used the term was no less He used the term in precisely the same manner I did. For that cartoon, I suggest you re-examine it... or just blablabla about the failed execution. Two other cartoons of your heroes the millionaire Beatniks and Codrescu, the honorable established-order NPR professor, are also posted. Scroll down five rows to http://www.theamericandissident.org/LitToons/AToons.htm.

Ian Thal said...

My my Doctor Slone, I do seem to have gotten you upset, haven't I?

If you think my clowning (or indeed, any of my theatrical work) is all "smiley faced" then you aren't familiar with my work or the subjects with which I deal. This is why I say I'm a zanni and not a jester.

As far as your "Breughel" work; He's one of my favorites amongst the "Old Masters" and I couldn't bear to see his compositions butchered by an incompetant hack for more than a cursory glance.

As far as your artwork: the caricature is recognizable enough. I have a problem with your lack of composition, ignorance of human anatomy, lack of imagination, or even the basic awareness of how to set up a comedic gag in a visual medium (hence all of my suggestions of how a better cartoonist would skewer me.)

The problem is not the quality of your photographic references, but the quality of your finished product.

If the object of your ridicule can cheerfully come up with far worse insults, then you simply aren't doing your job.

Now, why would I compare you to Stalin?

Because you've done so before. This is why I sarcastically refer to myself as a "Stalinist Clown" when I write about our altercations.

I disagree with Ferlinghetti on a number of issues (the double-think with which he defends Ezra Pound's politics and antisemitism is one such example) I just don't think he can be classified as a "fascist" under any definition that allows the word to have any useful meaning-- even if that means that he has used it inappropriately.

G. Tod Slone said...

Like a child, name calling is your forte. Courage certainly is not! I put forth my case on using Ferlinghetti's own words. Instead of admitting WRONG, you choose to sleaze your way around it. You choose to divert attention from your being wrong and from your IAN THAL all over the place blog. It takes courage to admit wrong. It takes a man to do so. You evidently only have common EGO. We clearly differ on what a poet ought to be. For me, a poet should have the guts to speak rude truth, whereas for IAN THAL, a poet should try to win prizes and herd recognition and play the COURT JESTER as a CLOWN, for chrissakes. BTW, you can also see my hack-work cartoons on www.NationalFreePress.org. Also, I’m not angry. I deal with herd poets and academics like you on a regular basis. You each react as if having taken the same college course in ad hominem. Also, rather a poorly executed cartoon that says something, than a fanciful cartoon that says nothing. And the same goes for a poem! Evidently, you were the angry one because you created an entire blog entry on our exchange! The proof, my clown, is in the pudding.

Ian Thal said...

Even if both you and Ferlinghetti are using the same definition of the word "fascism," then both of you are incorrect in your usage of the word.

"It takes courage to admit wrong. It takes a man to do so. You evidently only have common EGO."