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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Robert Hass

Occupy the Academy of American Poets
Unsurprisingly, Robert Hass paints a glowing self-portrait in his NY Times article, “Poet-Bashing Police”
(http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/at-occupy-berkeley-beat-poets-has-new-meaning.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=robert%20hass&st=cse), regarding the spread of the Occupy movement to the University of California, Berkeley, and the police violence against protesters.  Hass and wife (Brenda Hillman), both established-order poets, decided to step out of their comfy wainscoted offices to check it out and were kicked around a bit.

Hass has it quite easy:  a sinecure of tenure at Berkeley as poet professor.  As former Poet Laureate of the US Library of Congress—how many asses did he have to kiss and blind eyes did he have to turn to rise to that level?—and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, he is clearly a ladder-climbing poet, as opposed to a daring Emersonian rude-truth telling one. 

In the article, which wouldn’t have been published if authored by an unsinecured, unknown poet, Hass mentions the Free Speech Movement back in the 60s at Berkeley, as if somehow that rubbed off positively on him.  The established-order poetry and academic machine, upon which he proudly sucks the teat, however, detests free speech and expression, especially when such freedom might expose the intrinsic corruption within that machine and/or endanger its funding.  

Why didn’t Hass mention in his article the speech-restricting codes in place throughout the University of California (see http://thefire.org/spotlight/codes/220.html)?  Did he help enact them? 

Why did he prove entirely apathetic when I contacted him several years ago regarding the censorship of my comments by the Academy of American Poets, not to mention its banning me, a poet, from participating in its forums?  Evidently, the Academic/Literary Industrial Complex, with which he forms an integral part, detests free speech and expression.  Any simple experiment with that regard will likely prove the point.  Criticism of any of its institutions and cogs will usually result in silence and/or outright ostracizing.  That’s been the normal result regarding the numerous experiments in democracy I’ve performed regarding the Complex.  The various blog entries on The American Dissident blog site serve as proof of the assertion.   

Would Hass stand up to protest against National Poetry Week’s refusal to list The American Dissident, the 501 c3 nonprofit literary journal of which this blog is part, with other such journals listed?  Of course not!  Would he stand up to protest against the NEA’s refusal to accord me more information, besides the vague comment “low” and “poor” regarding its rejection of my funding request for the journal?  Of course not!

It has been my experience that ladder-climbing academic poets prefer silence when confronted with uncomfortable truths, as in censorship and banning in their very midst and effected by their very colleagues and friends. 

Would Hass stand up to protest against PEN’s refusal to respond to my diverse free-speech grievances?  Of course not!  Would he stand up to protest against the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom’s refusal to respond to my objection regarding the banning of The American Dissident by several public libraries?  Of course not!  

What Hass egregiously, if not incredulously, though quite unsurprisingly, fails to mention in his article is any reference whatsoever to the fat hand that feeds him, that is, to the university administrators who evidently must have requested police presence at Berkeley in the first place.  It is my humble opinion that famous actors, musicians, politicians, wealthy academic writers like Cornell West and sinecured poets like Hass ought to keep their mouths shut regarding any of the Occupy movements.  When they seek to participate in them or opine favorably about them, they end up robbing the movements' very credibility.  When they do enter into the fray, how can one not perceive the hypocrisy of spread the wealth and opportunities, yeah, but not mine? 

How not to feel a bit of joy knowing that Hass was kicked around a bit on campus?  And how not to wonder if his wife is nuts?  Who else but a fruitloop would be lecturing cops they should be at home reading to their children?  Maybe she should have been at home with her husband, having children teach THEM about the First Amendment. 

The question remains:  How does a self-proclaimed "activist" like Hass manage to turn a convenient blind eye to corruption and censorship in his milieu?  
The answer remains:  deafening silence...


Tim said...

As you have pointed out in the past, it appears that people do not understand what it means to be a poet ordained by the establishment (Laureate).

Great point about the Universities speech-restricting codes and Hass' failure to mention the university administrators who requested police presence.

Another against the grain article and toon.
Great job!

G. Tod Slone said...

Thanks much Tim! And of course Hass wil not be responding to the email I sent mentioning this blog. For Hass and others of the established order, vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, is to be scorned and avoided.
The question I should have really posed was how does a purported activist turn a blind eye whenever convenient.