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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Juan Felipe Herrera

From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: editorinchief@highlandernews.org; opinions@highlandernews.org
CC: juan.herrera@ucr.edu
Subject: Criticism and satire of one of your professors...
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2014 17:55:56 -0400

To Michael Rios, Editor-in-Chief, and Colette King, Opinions Editor, The Highlander:
How about being courageous and publishing the open letter (see below) and cartoon depicting one of your creative writing professors (seehttp://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2014/08/juan-felipe-herrera.html)?  If you are a fervent believer in freedom of expression, you will do so.  If not, you will not do so.  And the University of California is not a great institution for such freedom, as you likely know.  How about asking your librarian to subscribe to The American Dissident (only $20/year) and be the first library in all of California to do so?  After all, where else would students be able to read and view such criticism of their professors et al?  Thanks!
No response.

Open Letter to Juan Herrera, Writing Professor, University of California at Riverside,
Poet Laureate of California& Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose,
                                                                                                        And more of both than anybody knows. […]
—Lord Byron, RE poet laureate Bob Southey

Is Poetry Dead? Not if 45 Official Laureates Are Any Indication” was the title of the New York Times article that featured a large photo of you et al.  However, it is not a question of “dead,” but rather one of having or not having pertinence.  Poetry, in fact, really doesn’t matter today in America because, for one thing, poet laureates and other poets accorded voice are largely paid for and/or promoted by the academic/literary established order to essentially push pabulum verse apt not to offend elementary school children… and easily offended, multiculti-minded adults.  The bland poems read at Obama’s two inaugurals—shame on any poet who stoops so low as to be willing to read a poem only after a politician gives it the okay—serve as examples of such pabulum, as does the verse written by you, cited in that article as a kind of “Whitmanesque tribute”:  “Architects engineers laborers drivers Viva!/Lifters callers crane operators Viva!/Cement mixers cable threaders Viva!”  Whitman could indeed be bland and inncouous in his glory, glory hyperbolic rhetoric.  What is wrong with the New York Times, if it really thinks that line of yours worthy of mention?  Indeed, it sounds as if it might have been taken from the “Communist International,” which for some odd reason omitted to include mention of the millions of hard-working kulaks butchered under the Soviet state. 

In any case, I wish to inform you that I was permanently banned from commenting on the Academy of American Poets’ website in 2007 (see http://theamericandissident.org/orgs/academy_american_poets.html).  For the transcript of my censored comments, see http://theamericandissident.org/orgs/academy_american_poets_transcript.html). If unusually curious you do actually check it out, you’ll note the absence of racist or sexist epithets and threats.  However, my comments were not PC smiley-faced.  Fortunately, I saved the transcript prior to its being censored.  Poets should fight tooth and nail against such lowly censorship!  Why did your colleague Chancellors not do this?  Well, for one thing, they tend to be the censors!  My comments were offensive to them because I had (and have!) the audacity to criticize established-order poets and their  academic/literary established-order machine.  For that, I have been ostracized into poet oblivion.  But that was certainly to be expected, for poets are hardly at all staunch defenders of freedom of speech.  What they tend to be is politically correct and gregarious, as opposed to steadfast individuals and fervent advocates of free expression. 

Now, do you care about that egregious incident of Academy censorship or will you attempt to justify it like several of your Chancellor colleagues?  Will you stand as an individual to protest against that act of censorship and RISK upsetting your colleague censors?  As a ladder climber, you will likely respond with a NO, though not directly or to me.  You state in the New York Times article that poets “have to float and be transparent and pick up everything we can.”  Well, what the hell does that even mean?  Most poets don’t give a damn about censorship or issues of freedom of expression.  Hell, if they did, they’d end up ostracized like me and with no grants or speaking invitations, let alone tenure at some university.  So, are they supposed to be “transparent” about their apathy?  Well, that would be a good place to start.  So, are well-fed poets like you blinded by the feed or are they being fed because they were already blind?  Perhaps it’s a little of both?  How long have you been turning a blind eye to rise, as you have, in the ranks of the established order?  As far as poets “floating,” I’d much rather sink and not “pick up” any of those titles, grants, and academic perks you’ve received over the years. 

           Finally, since the New York Times would never publish this as an opposing point of view, I send it to The Highlander, your university student newspaper.  Will Michael Rios, editor-in-chief,  publish it?  Sadly, experience with such newspapers and journalists tells me that likelihood to be quite low.  These things said, how about getting your library to be the first and only library in California willing to subscribe to The American Dissident (only $20/year), a journal of literature, democracy, and dissidence?  LOL…






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