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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Anne Waldman

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From the Preface of Triumvirate of the Monkeys
(One of my new poetry chapbooks)
Estoit-il lors temps de moy taire ?
François Villon
A triumvirate is a political regime dominated by three powerful people.  For the title of this collection of poetry, I thus chose to depict the three infamous see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys as a sort of omnipotent intellectual triumvirate reigning, as unwritten rule of law, over the firmly entrenched Academic/Literary Established Order in America.  The god-like figure of intellectual corruption standing behind the triumvirate, William Bulger, was former president of the Massachusetts State Senate. then University of Massachusetts, where he was forced to resign, though had overwhelming support from the faculty. He’d refused to testify in a 2003 Congressional hearing about communications he’d had with his brother, Whitey, mass-murderer, Boston crime boss (today serving a life-sentence in prison). From political hack to university hack has become Massachusetts in a nutshell.  As for the three monkeys, I chose Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets Anne Waldman, Poet Laureate of the USA Natasha Trethewey, and Obama’s PC-Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco.  Of course, many others could have illustrated them, including Robert Pinsky, Gary Snyder, Ferlinghetti, Maya Angelou, Andre Dubus III, Billy Collins, John Ashbury, Mark Doty, Nikki Giovanni, Louise Gluck, Martín Espada, C. D. Wright, and Franz Wright. 
Much of my creative criticism has been directed against the triumvirate, though the latter is essentially impervious to such criticism.  Why therefore bother?  In early 2010, an anonymous personage, pseudonym’ing as Mr. Spock, posed that question on The American Dissident blog site: 
If you really disdain the academy, then why this blog and journal that seem to be obsessed by it and its petty squabbles? How can you afford to spend so much energy on your bitterness? I grant that I'm not responding to your arguments but I don't understand, from a mental health standpoint, how you can go on making them and making them.
In the above message, four derogatory terms are used with my regard—disdain, obsessed, bitterness, and petty squabbles.  The “academy,” or as I term it the Academic/Literary Established Order, represents the very core of the nation’s intellect.  So, why shouldn’t I be interested in it?  In fact, why are so few poets and artists interested in how it tends to scorn FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION and VIGOROUS DEBATE, preferring instead speech codes, collegiality, cronyism, and resultant toadyism?
What I disdain is not the “academy” per se, but rather its cogs—professors, poets, deans, librarians, publishers, cultural apparatchiks, etc.—who disdain debate and freedom of speech.  If the majority of those cogs were open to those cornerstones of democracy, I would not have any disdain.  As for the ivory tower, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes that about 60% of universities possess policies that seriously restrict freedom of speech. Even in the institutions not possessing such policies, many professors clearly do not appreciate the First Amendment.  Speak the PC-party line, or keep your mouth shut constitutes their prevailing rule of order. 
Moreover, it is not a question of obsessed, but rather one of creative impulse.  In essence, provoking academics and poets often provides me with interesting material.  If writing poetry and drawing satirical cartoons from such material constitute obsession, then any interest can be subjectively deemed thusly.  I mentioned this to the  anonymity in question, but he or she remained silent. Epithets serve to divert attention away from uncomfortable truths.  It is likely the anonymity was an academic and/or poet, who did not possess the courage to do as I do and thus felt compelled to dismiss what I do as disdain, obsessed, and bitterness.  Standing up and speaking openly, not behind closed doors as most professors tend to do, enables me to maintain a certain human dignity that so many willingly sacrifice for career, fame, and money. 
How to explain to poets why I chose to stand up and read poems critical of the poetry-event organizers, who in 2001 paid me $800 and provided a hotel room gratis for 10 days as an invited poet in Canada?  Of course, I was never invited back.  But I kept my dignity, while sacrificing who knows how much money.  If I had been a nice smiley-face poet, I probably would have been invited back every year like many of the other smiley-face poets.  That’s about $10,000 or more since 2001!  But the 149 other remunerated poets at the Festival International de la Poésie de Trois-Rivières would not understand.  Evidently, the anonymity would not understand.  So, I suggested he or she consider moving to Saudi Arabia and perhaps adorning a burqa. From my perspective, the time I spend denouncing intellectual fraud is well spent. But from the “cog” perspective, it could only be perceived as a sign of bitterness.  The important question regarding these things is why so many citizens—the vast majority—, from a mental health standpoint, do not give a damn about intellectual corruption and tend to dismiss anybody who does as bitter. Most citizens seem to prefer Stepford-wife positivism, censorship, self-censorship, and authoritarianism to the First Amendment. That certainly reflects my experiences testing the waters of democracy. 
Finally, at the end of this collection are poems written during my two-month winter stint teaching English on the USS Boone, a military frigate, which sailed from Norfolk, VA to Columbia, then back and dumping me off at Panama City.  I’d also done a stint several years earlier on the battleship USS Bataan.  Those two experiences were unique.  Once I was a tenure-track professor at corrupt Fitchburg State University (MA).  If I’d succeeded in getting tenure, I’d probably be writing dull articles on geolinguistics today and wouldn’t have gotten to do stints at sea, nor in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Martha’s Vineyard Island. BTW, Estoit-il lors temps de moy taire is a refrain from a poem written in 1463, “Ballade du Guichetier Garnier.”  Imagine, a lone poet stood up for Freedom of Speech in the darkness of the Middle Ages.  “Should I have kept my mouth shut?” he wrote over and again. Most say, yes.  Villon and I say, no. 

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Juan Felipe Herrera

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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!
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No response.
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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…

 

 

 


 

 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gerald Stern

Laurels for the Liberal

Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
—American Library Association, “Library Bill of Rights”

When they reach a certain point—those
poets and professors
—a point of established-order approval
with accolades and literary prizes,
honorary titles, illustrious publications,
and emeritus positions,
rise they do to the rank
of revered cogs of the “machine,”
the one Thoreau so detested and
eschewed for its intrinsic corruption
—rather “let your life be a counterfriction
to stop the machine”!
—when they reach that point, they
no longer really give a damn about
democracy, free speech, and the
importance of questioning and challenging
all institutions and icons. 

“Poetry,” had said the self-professed
anti-authority poet,* “should be passionate
and outrageous and political
and most of all revolutionary.”

Yet he’d been chosen State Laureate by
politicians and sycophant literati;
he’d been designated safe entity
by the corporate-friendly poet community
proclaiming him distinguished poet
in residence,
while ordaining him Chancellor
of the established-order Academy! 

“I am a radical,” he’d blathered,
“although as I get older sometimes,
I get too soft and am just a liberal.” 

But greed for posterity, thirst for high-brow
respect requisitely Faustian pacted
—a blind eye in exchange for renown—
sucks, no matter what the piteous excuse.
Revolutions will always prove hollow
when
citizens of that ilk publicly proclaim them!

So, no wonder I thought,
the Friends of the Concord
Free Public Library
had paid him to read verse, for his would likely
not perturb, provoke, or otherwise offend
any of the comfy souls seated before him,
basking in “liberal” stupor. 
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*Gerald Stern is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, which censored my ideas from its literary agora in July 2007.  Rather than vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, it and its members prefer highly-subjective, free-speech-limiting rules of participation, enabling it and them to censor at will ideas they choose to deem “inflammatory, hateful, and insulting” or not sufficiently “rational, calm, and informed.”  Indeed, this very poem would likely be deemed thusly, for anything questioning and challenging the Academy or any of its poet icons and chancellors would likely be banned in accord with those nebulous terms.  Libraries across the country support the Academy’s National Poetry Month… and also its censorship of valid criticism.  That’s why I stand out here tonight in the cold darkness, distributing this broadside.  Do you too believe that “good taste” and subjectively-determined “manners” should always take precedence over truth, vigorous debate, and free speech?  Do you think librarians should “challenge censorship” in accord with the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” or simply be agents of censorship, as many seem to have become today?  If you are not a partisan of censorship, why not send a protest to the Academy and Friends of the Concord Free Public Library?

Marie Howe

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Eugene Robinson

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Open Letter to Black Racist, Obama-Diehard-Fanboy, Post-

Partisan Hypocrite, WaPo Columnist Eugene Robinson

Your “What ‘War on Whites’?” column was a shabby retort, for a Pulitzer-Prize winner, to the Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks’  claim of a “war on whites”!  Per usual, LOGIC is not the forte of partisan fanatics like you.  Shame on the Pulitzer for awarding you a prize for commentary!  Comparing present income statistics, as you did, does not take into account past income statistics.  It is thus immaterial to the argument, especially since the "war on whites" was supposedly begun (or largely increased) during Obama’s mandate.  Evoking slavery and Jim Crow laws (i.e., stoking black “victimhood”) is also clearly immaterial.  By doing so in this context, you join the purportedly fictitious “war on whites.”  And you forgot to mention Democrat-Party governor George Wallace.  Come on, man!  Take a damn night course in Logic 101!  Surely, WaPo will pay for the expenses.  Of course, there was a war on blacks, but that was almost 50 years ago!  It is not 1960, but rather 2014.

The left-wing “war on whites” is a reality, even more so than the purported right-wing “war on women.”  It is a part of perhaps most American colleges and universities today thanks to the fervent anti-white armies of Deans of Diversity and Directors of Multiculturalism.  Affirmative Action is part of that “war.”  Labeling anyone who disagrees with you or other blacks as racists is part of it, as is dismissing someone like Laura Ingraham with an epithet, instead of with logic and pertinent fact, is part of that “war.”  Perhaps you should look into immigration quotas, not those of 50 years ago, but today’s.  Are whites being favored?  Of course not!  Does the Dream Act favor whites?  Of course not!  Why do you FAIL to evoke these things in your argument? 

Leftist black fanatics like Tracey Ross call the hoped-for victory in the “war on whites” as the “tanning” of America.   In fact, what happened to the blacks-only blog, “The Root,” which published her articles?  Why did WaPo get rid of it?   Was it perhaps insufficiently stealthy for the “war on whites”? Was it too anti-white racist, even for the editors of WaPo?  A number of black-racist leftists (e.g., the black Panthers), as you certainly must know, want “whites” to disappear.  Obama was elected because he was NOT white.  The Duke Lacross players were “lynched” because of the “war on whites.” Many examples exist of racist blacks in university positions, waging a “war on whites.”  Does the NAACP not believe in a “war on whites”?   

The “willful ignorance,” you evoke, is yours… and that is “obscene.”  Yes, Obama (and you!) blathered on about Trayvon Martin, but not about Chris Newsome and his girlfriend, two whites raped and butchered by blacks at about the same time.  Below is an account of that butchery.  And it sure as hell outraged me far more than the Trayvon brouhaha, as did the rape and murder by black thug Tyrone Woodfork of 90-year old white woman Nancy Strait.  Why didn’t Obama say, Tyrone could have been my son?  Well, the answer is simple:   your guy is a flaming hypocrite! 

Why weren’t you outraged by the Newsome butchery?   Were you even aware of it?  Do you automatically block out anything that contradicts your ideology?   Read the account… but you probably won’t.  Finally, it is mind-boggling for anyone with an iota of independent intelligence to be rah-rah’ing for Obama at this stage of the game… just as it would have been for anyone rah-rah’ing for Bush at that stage of the game.  Bias, not intelligence, is your game… not mine!  Sure, whites can be racists.  BUT blacks too can be racists… and that upsets your ideological narrative of the white man as the bad man. 
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"Newsom’s unrecognizable body was found face up, his feet and arms bound, she testified. He had been gagged with a sock and blindfolded with a bandana. His upper body was burned and his ankles were charred. Newsom had been shot in the neck and the back. A separate gunshot to his head caused “instantaneous death.” Newsom’s anus was torn up and bruised, which indicated “anal penetration.” He was sodomized by means of an object before being sodomized by a person. Seminal fluid was found in his body but it did not contain sperm cells. DNA tests were inconclusive as to the origin of the semen. He had walked barefoot to his death, wearing only his underwear. He had been raped one or two hours before he died, Mileusnic-Polchan said. “This is not just a rape,” she said. “This is the blunt trauma where an object comes in contact and severely damages the tissue. The depth of the injury was so grave there was no way that just the regular rape could inflict this.” Christian’s body [She was Newsom’s girlfriend] was found in a fetal position, wrapped in five garbage bags in a trash can. A small white plastic bag was found around her head. The young woman died of suffocation, the medical examiner said. Christian’s body was found to have tears, bruising, and swelling in her genitals and around her anus. There was also evidence of blunt force trauma. Christian was raped several times, vaginally, rectally, and orally and kicked in the vaginal region before she was forced into the garbage can. There were blows to her head and her arms had been handled with force. Her body showed carpet burns. Bleach had been poured down Christian’s throat in what appeared to be an effort to destroy any residual DNA that might be used as evidence. DNA from two unidentified men was also found in Christian’s underwear, raising the possibility that two persons not charged in the case were involved in raping her. DNA from the man thought to be the group’s ringleader, LeMaricus Davidson, was found on a vaginal swab from a rape kit that authorities used on Christian’s body." (FrontPage Mag)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Alice Quinn

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The above aquarelle features Alice Quinn, PEN America's Chair of Literary Awards and Executive Director of Poetry Society of America, which is a members-only club, where only members select new members.  Nothing like democracy, eh?!  It's who you know, not what you know... per usual.  Quinn, former Poetry Editor for the New Yorker, is depicted as an established-order puta. The depiction was of course influenced by a photograph taken by Walker Evans of Mexican prostitutes.