To Rebecca Lawrence, Chair, Mid-Cape Cultural Council, and Council Members:
Please share the following with the members of the Mid-Cape Cultural Council. Thank you.
Dr. G. Tod Slone
Freedom of Speech: Democracy, Dissidence, and Art
(A Grant-Request Project by a Citizen Non Grata of Barnstable, MA)
Upon reflection, I decided to send this proposal in this format, knowing quite well it would have been outright rejected even if in the standard form and in full accord with Mid-Cape Cultural Council guidelines. For me to submit an application and 11 requisite copies would thus be a waste of paper and postage.
Sadly, the type of project described below would likely be the type of project your group would NEVER consider funding. Perhaps, though highly unlikely, it might instigate thought regarding your cultural council’s likely failure to extract itself from the influence of the local chamber of commerce, political hacks, and other castrating cronies of the Cape Cod art machine. Such an extraction would be necessary for you to truly open the Council to hard criticism and possibilities other than the typical PG-13 “family-friendly” (i.e., democracy-unfriendly) safe “art” you likely exclusively fund.
From my experience dealing with the Concord Cultural Council, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and National Endowment for the Arts, not to mention Lucy Loomis, former Mid-Cape Cultural Council director, who behaves as an autocrat of the worst possible sort. Loomis permanently trespassed me from Sturgis Library without due process or warning because of written criticism that contained no threats, no four-letter words, and no sex (see below).
Do any of you care about that? The response to that question is a likely NO. Prove me wrong by writing Loomis a letter of protest not on my behalf but rather on behalf of democracy. Far too many citizens do not give a damn about censorship and freedom of speech. Thus is the problem confronting our democracy today.
My project consists of several free lectures/open discussions on democracy, dissidence, and art along with an exhibit of art work and poetry illustrating the theme to be delivered gratis at Cape Cod Community College and perhaps Barnstable High School. Part of that project would consist of distributing free copies of The American Dissident, published since 1998 and now right here in Barnstable. The journal, by the way, has essentially been banned by the library directors of the Clams Library System. Do you care? Again, the likely response to that question is NO.
The art, culture, and literary machine on Cape Cod needs to open up to criticism as a form of art and literature, which must not be confined to mere commercially and family-friendly themes. Democracy demands it! In fact, education has been failing to instill in the citizenry the importance of democracy’s cornerstones, free speech and vigorous debate. Instead, it has been instilling speech codes and mind-numbing politically-correct thought. Citizens are encouraged to be easily offended, as opposed to building backbone. Here in Barnstable I personally witnessed citizen indifference to free speech issues when protesting in front of Sturgis Library on three different days and also downtown during the Fourth of July with the following sign: CELEBRATE THE FIRST FUCKING AMENDMENT, NOT COMMERCE! Oh, the scorns I received that day! Of course, those scorns indicated a blatant ignorance of the First Amendment. Library trustee Dan Santos serves as an example of that ignorance, for he dismissed my sign as “intellectual masturbation.” Well, rather that than the intellectual fascism that apparently plagues not only his mind, but also that of Eleanor Claus, Betsy Newell, and Lucy Loomis. Over the centuries, art and literature have proven to be potent weapons against authoritarian regimes, as well as local corruption and hypocrisy.
Grant funds ($350) would enable me to distribute free copies of The American Dissident to students, professors, and the general public during the free lectures/open discussions and/or class presentations around the theme of“Freedom of Speech: Democracy, Dissidence, and Art.” The importance of freedom of speech and threats to it in the form of campus speech codes, proposed hate speech and blasphemy laws would be discussed. Cause celebres including Theo Van Gogh, Molly Norris, Geert Wilders, Kurt Westergaard, Lars Viks, Robert Redeker, and Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff would also be discussed, as well as the now infamous anti-Muhammad video that served as an egregiously fraudulent diversion from the gross incompetence of the Obama administration.
As an artist, poet, writer, publisher, and long-time college instructor with a PhD from a French university, I have been, over several decades, actively trying to open up the art and literary machine to democracy’s cornerstones. Dr. Dan Sklar has been inviting me to his English classes for about four years each semester at Endicott College (Beverly, MA) to speak to his students on literature, democracy, and dissidence. You may view ALL student comments (http://www.theamericandissident.org/students.html).
My career as college professor has suffered because of my refusal to engage in self-censorship, turning a blind eye, etc. Because of my written criticism , as difficult as it might be to believe, I was as mentioned permanently banned without due process or warning from my neighborhood library, Sturgis Library in Barnstable. My critique simply underscored the library’s very own policy that “Libraries should challenge censorship […], ” “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view […],” and “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval […]”
Such egregious hypocrisy must be questioned and challenged. Students must learn to do this for democracy’s sake. Moreover, I have been kept from getting cultural council grants because of the subject of my projects. Why would grant-according chairpersons like yourself be so adverse to projects highlighting democracy? In fact, because of me, the Concord Cultural Council had actually adopted a regulation prohibiting funding to projects it arbitrarily deemed “political in nature.” The Barnstable Patriot interviewed me last year with regards my fight against Sturgis Library hypocrisy (see http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/home2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24417&Itemid=53). And The Concord Journal interviewed me several years prior to that (see http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/news/x936270296/Conflict-is-his-muse#axzz28SCmTHeU).
Public benefit would be in the form of enhanced knowledge regarding the importance of free speech, criticism, and satire.
The project would be promoted via the student newspaper and flyers.
Attached is the type of class materials I’d distribute.
Thank you for your attention. Please do surprise me with a non-standard response. Please do stand up for freedom. Please do declare yourself not to be a typical cultural-council apparatchik like those described by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Oak and the Calf.
G. Tod Slone, PhD and Founding Editor (1998)
The American Dissident, a 501c3 Nonprofit Journal of Literature, Democracy, and Dissidence
217 Commerce Rd.
Barnstable, MA 02630