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

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Big Money & Public Money Usually Support Obedience and Conformity


Normally, sites that censor do not interest me at all, and that includes Rattle and Poetry Foundation, which refuses to even list The American Dissident with other journals listed. With all its millions of dollars, one ought to wonder just how much Poetry Foundation serves as established-order censor. Evidently, The American Dissident must be INSUFFICIENTLY TASTEFUL for it (see below). In any case, two people suggested I check out Tim Green’s latest blog (see http://timothy-green.org/blog/2010/03/open-letter-to-the-poetry-foundation/comment-page-1/#comment-2863), a hagiographic piece on Poetry Magazine and its staff. My response to it was this essay, which was posted on Rattle, but censored by Green. A critical poem I wrote on Poetry Magazine, a while ago, appears after the essay.

If the citizenry ceases to question and challenge, ceases to think out of the conformist paradigm, preferring instead the comfy pathway of group positivism, the nation is lost. And I think it is lost today.

Green’s essay is indeed an example of base flattery, something that seems to have become very, very prevalent in our dying democracy. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read anything quite so transparent.

As for Ruth Lilly, who dumped $100,000,000 on Poetry Magazine, one can only assume that her education (and money) failed to shape her into a questioning and challenging citizen. Instead, she became yet another blind worshipper of established-order (bourgeois) poesy. Read about her money: “most unethical drug company on the planet” [see www.oralchelation.net/data/Lilly/data6.htm]).

“Beautiful in production,” notes Green regarding Poetry Magazine which is, however, very simple in design and format. “Beautiful” implies extraordinary.

“Poetry Magazine is tasteful,” notes Green. Now, what might that mean? Innocuous? Inoffensive? Bourgeois? PC? Evidently, it's come to mean BOURGEOIS. But should poetry be daintily “tasteful” or should it rather stand up on its hind legs and decry the bourgeois corruption ever trying to smother society in “tastefulness”?

“Tastes are subjective, but tastefulness isn’t, and you’re tasteful,” notes Green, again in praise of Poetry Magazine. But the statement is clearly a non sequitur and idiotic at best. How can one possibly go from the subjectivity of "taste" to the purported objectivity of "tastefulness"? Even if a particular "tastefulness" is shared by the whole of the bourgeoisie, that does not by any means render it an objective trait. It is truly amazing to think that colleges and universities, including the one that graduated Green, might actually be teaching students that "tastefulness" is somehow an objective quality.

“To top it off, you’ve made the outwardly generous, inwardly smart decision to give it all away online, for free,” notes Green, again in praise of Poetry Magazine. One must really wonder how Green's professors managed to fail him so royally. Evidently, his professors would have to ask how their professors failed them so royally. With 200 million dollars in the bank, how can putting up Poetry mag online even remotely be considered generous? An independent mind would rather ask why Poetry constantly beggars for subscriptions. With 200 million, it shouldn’t be charging anything at all for anything.

Quantity seems key to persons like Green, whose corrupted logic would conclude that 30,000 subscribers must equal greatness. What it really equals, however, is POPULARITY and INOFFENSIVENESS. It also implies that the so-called literate populace fears criticism and knows it ain’t gonna find it in Poetry Mag.

“And I’m good,” notes Green about himself. Yet reading his essay on Poetry Magazine, one would really have to conclude the opposite! Evidently, Green is the product of today's educationist emphasis on giving students positive feedback for just about anything they do... or don't do.

“Jealous criticisms,” notes Green regarding anything critical of Poetry Magazine. Yet how easy, lazy, and typically uncreative it is for him to dismiss criticism with an epithet. It reflects the multicultural, PC way of doing things today. Just call it a name... and thus ignore the criticism, even if valid. Only a lazy mind could dismiss all criticism of Poetry Mag as “jealous.”

In his essay, Green makes only one seemingly valid point: spreading the money, instead of dumping it on one organization. But would that have changed anything at all? No. Because the money still would have likely remained in the hands of established-order literature and literati. Thanks to Wiman and others of his ilk, students will continue yawning during their university poetry classes because 99% of their professors will never expose them to poetry as a sword, as opposed to poetry as bourgeois tea and crumpet wordsmithery. As for NPR, can it possibly get more bourgeois? NPC would be a better name for the organization, as in National Political Correctness. Who can bear even listening to those voices?

The real sadness with so much money concentrated in so few hands is that it will inevitably determine what poetry shall be read and what poetry shall be forever buried. Any poet daring to go against the money grain will be buried. Period. Poetry does not NEED to be supported, as Green stipulates. Supporting poetry kills poetry by helping to keep it bourgeois in taste and substance.

Now, do you think Wiman will respond?


From… Not One of Them
If you’re one of them, you’re either “great” and “brilliant”
or on the way to becoming “great” and “brilliant,”
for they man the helms of the grant-according machines
and occupy the literary posts of the nation’s universities
that accord such designation.
If you play their game and try your damndest to become
one of them, they might not make you wealthy, but they’ll
surely succeed in making you revered and well off—
not bad for a poet… or is it?

If you’ve been one of them, they’ll likely post-mortem you
on the front cover of one of their well-endowed magazines.1
If you’ve been one of them, and haven’t yet croaked,
but are on that verge as ambulating poet posterboy corpse,
they’ll devote a whole back cover to something you once wrote,
no matter how inane or trite, as in
“living is a meatloaf sandwich.”2
If you’ve been one of them, but are still midstream careerist,
they’ll eagerly publish one of your self-serving rants where
you mention the diverse nationalities of the bards
sitting upon your comfortable oak desktop, while declaring
“the truth is that the creation of art is laborious,” though you
create it with a $150,000 annual university salary, not to
mention the six or $700,000 in foundation grants.3

Now, as one of them and with a recognizable name,
they’ll even publish one of your divinity tirades
where you omnisciently declare that if one chooses not to
“call light and energy by the name of God,” one will sadly
“lose bearings,”4 which of course leaves me hopelessly lost.

Finally, if you’re not one of them at all and don’t even wish to be,
you’ll truly have to create laboriously, for without their money.
And they’ll likely either never have gotten to read, see, or hear of you,
though, if by odd chance they have, be assured they’ll hold
nothing but deprecating scorn for you.
……………………………………………………………………
1In this case, Poetry magazine (March 2009)
2The words are John Ashbery’s and featured on the back cover of Poetry, March 2009
3C.K. Williams
4Fanny Howe

4 comments:

mather said...

You're right, with that much money they should be giving away the magazines and everything for free. They could still maintain their money with investments in other things like the stock market. And I read Wiman's response on Green's blog, and of course he was gracious and loving. It's easy to be gracious and loving with 200 million in your back pocket. These people live in such a different world than I do, I literally can't relate at all. It's like talking to aliens. They are building and supporting their "art" on the backs of cheap labor, just like the industrialists. It makes me sick, and the poetry, of course, is weak and watery and self congratulatory.

G. Tod Slone said...

Right you are. Even a Tim Green. Imagine, he's making 40-50 K per year editing Rattle. Amazing. What a racket. It enrages me. And I'm glad it enrages you too, Mather.

sdave1 said...

You know I'd rather be broke or be a slave then to have a cushy editor like Green or Wiman and have to say all the right things and win tongue awards. They can keep their money and their tongues. The cartoon says it all.
Dave Ochs

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