A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

***********************************************************************************************************************************
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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Andrei Codrescu

........................................................
The above cartoon was sketched in 2007.  I'm working on the front cover for the next American Dissident, which will feature Codrescu et al.  So, I was looking for a photo of him, then recalled I'd done this toon, so decided to post it.  Kevin Larimer (Poets & Writers mag editor) will also be featured, so I hunted for his photo and noticed the old toon that I did on him appears right away.  Now, that's great!  Thanks to the internet, I've actually got voice... at least for the moment.  In essence, when someone does a search on Larimer, he or she will not simply find hagiography, but will also notice my critical cartoon right away.  Larimer refuses to permit my voice in P&W.  He is not by any means an exception.  That sad state of poetry in America, as a backslapping and self-congratulating game that ostracizes anyone daring to criticize the backslappers, is the rule.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Seth Allen

.................................
The diversity program falls under Seth Allen's sector, which is why he is depicted in the cartoon.  The PC student newspaper editor informed me that there were inaccuracies in the above cartoon, in particular:  one of the two women depicted in it had graduated.  He did not tell me which of the two women.  I responded that both names were the only names listed on the Women's Union website page.  The two women were contacted.  They did not respond.  That is why I am keeping the cartoon as is.  The Women's Union to date has refused to respond.  The editor would not publish the cartoon because it was not authored by a PC-connected person.  Hmm.  Seems like one college has the right initials!  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Michael Finch, FrontPage Magazine

Let No Act of Censorship Go Uncriticized

Left or Right:  Thou Shalt NOT Criticize the Poets! 

FrontPage, an online right-wing journal, had rightfully been denouncing the increasing incidents of left-wing assaults on freedom of speech, especially with regards the shutting down of debate and creation of safe spaces and speech codes, on college campuses across the country from Yale to Missou to Smith to Vasser. 

Hypocritically, its moderators (i.e., censors) also shut down debate.  Indeed, they refused to post my critical comment regarding a glowing review written by Mark Tapson, Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, of a book of poetry written by Michael Finch, Chief Operating Officer also at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.  The egregious hypocrisy of that act of censorship left me fully disgusted.  And not one person at the Horowitz Freedom Center would respond.  

What had provoked me to comment, in the first place, was the very crux of the review, as clearly stated by the reviewer:  “But as many conservative writers such as Andrew Klavan and myself have noted for years, reclaiming America means reclaiming the culture, and that means engaging in the arts.”  Contrast that statement with the rather innocuous verse presented by the reviewer, as if somehow that verse would help in “reclaiming the culture.”  Mind-boggling!

         In my initial comment, I criticized the crux statement as insufficient.  Indeed, mere “engaging in the arts” would accomplish little if anything.  What was needed was active questioning and challenging of the “arts” machine, which I’ve come to term the academic/literary established order. The poem fragments taken from FINDING HOME: POEMS IN SEARCH OF A LOST AMERICA clearly did not even remotely attempt that.  Note, for example:  

My mind remembers a soft, warm wind,
Sweet earth scent, and billows of clouds
In a wide prairie sky of youth’s eternal hope.
Where have you gone?

Now, how might those lines even remotely help the right-wing in “reclaiming the culture” in an effort to establish… its particular forms of censorship, let alone expose the lack of objectivity, egregious hypocrisy, and especially visceral knee-jerk rejection of any criticism regarding the left-wing “arts” machine?  Here’s another verse presented by Tapson:  

Years from now when the winds blow again,
When you stare at the midnight’s blue of
The setting sun, lined mountains black against
A cobalt sky, do one thing for the one who loved you:
Think of me when your eyes gaze at the wondrous sky,
Your eyes searching the heavens for one,
When the breeze blows one last time through your hair,
Do one final thing. Think of me.

Another big problem with the “arts” machine is the M.O. of egregious backslapping and self-congratulating.  In that sense, Tapson partakes in it, promoting the poetry of his admitted “friend.”  What else is new, eh?  Frank Kotter, whose comment was not censored by the moderators, sums up the inanity confronting poetry today.

I have not heard such touching and meaningful prose since Paul de Lagarde. May this also usher in a new era in our nation's consciousness just as those have who come before you.  I have ordered but am disappointed to see it is not offered in hard cover—A shame as this book will be cited in history books in centuries to come.

More often when someone like me questions and challenges the “arts” machine (i.e., the academic/literary established order), the latter will respond with proverbial deafening silence.  Imagine, for example, I had the gall recently to question and challenge the new poet laureate of Boston, Professor Danielle Legros Georges, who, as the Boston Globe headline stated, “wants to make poetry comfortable for all.”  Of course, by simply mentioning that fact here, I greatly lessen my chances of getting this essay published because it contravenes the first commandment of the “arts” machine:  thou shalt not criticize poets!    
Because I’d sent my q&c to the student newspaper editors of Lesley University, Legros Georges’ employer, and only cc’d it to her, she called me “cowardly” in her response and wrote that if I really wanted debate then she was ready for it.  So, I wrote with that regard… and received no response!  Then days later, I wrote again, asking what happened to the will for debate.  And again, no response was received.  In essence, that deafening silence was the reason I’d chosen to write the student newspaper.  My long experience dealing with machine literati was deafening silence.  Sadly, my experience with student journalists had not proven much better, though a little bit.  Considering the innocuousness of the poem fragments illustrated in Tapson’s hagiography (for the entire piece, see 
http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260860/finding-home-poems-search-lost-america-mark-tapson),  Michael Finch should have no problem at all getting published in “arts” machine magazines like Agni, Ploughshares, and Poetry magazine.  
Finally, Thoreau famously urged:  “Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.”  To that, I’d add left or right-wing machine.   And tis better to chime with Thoreau, than climb the ladder in search of vacuity, that is, fame, awards, invitations, tenure, and all the other crap serving to muzzle the truly cowardly like left-wing Legros Georges and right-wing Michael Finch…



Sunday, November 22, 2015

Alyssa Janco, Tina Smith

.............................

Well, I'd already finished the cartoon when I noted in my search for email addresses that ''George C. Hill has been appointed to serve as Vanderbilt University’s first chief diversity officer and vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion."  If I'd known, Hill would have also been in the cartoon.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Danielle Legros Georges

What I usually do is first create a cartoon from INANITY and VACUITY often culled from the media, both general and literary, though sometimes culled from personal experience with hacks--political, cultural, and/or literary.  In the above case, the new poet laureate of Boston serves as an example.  State funded and/or otherwise supported poets and poet organizations are really nothing more than an incarnation of State Soviet Literature, which also viscerally rejected criticism.  

Then what I do next is send the cartoon to those targeted directly or indirectly in it.  Now, will such rude truth help my literary career or result in absolute ostracizing?  Your guess.  Thus, I sent the above to the following two entities, as well as to the poet laureate herself.  Will anyone respond in the name of vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy?  Well, experience dictates that likelihood to be slim...
............................................................


To Michael Ansara, Exec. Dir., Laurin Macios, Program Director,
Mass Poetry, and January O’Neil, Massachusetts Poetry Festival Executive Director:  Attached is the new cartoon I drew on Boston’s new PL.  So, who was on the “distinguished search committee”?  Why didn’t you even mention that in your hagiography of Legros Georges?  Why not encourage poets to question and challenge in lieu of simply encouraging them to open wide and swallow the lit pabulum?  Why always the silence?  This is NOT the Soviet Union and you are NOT the head of the Soviet Writer's Union.  Well, perhaps things are really NOT so different in America.  Indeed, when one reads Solzhenitsyn's The Oak and the Calf, how not to think of America!  Do you detest vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy?  Apparently, you do!!!  Well, at least you are aware that dissidents against your sad establishment machine like me do in fact exist here in Massachusetts…

.....................................................................

To the Student Editors of Lesley Public Post, Lesley University:  Attached is a satirical sketch I’ve drawn on one of your professors.  Will you publish it in the LPP?  Or is the LPP sadly just a wing of the Lad (ministration), which it probably is?  Please do let me know of your decision.  Thanks for your attention.  

[No response from the editors, but Madame the Poetess responded]

...................................

From: Georges, Danielle
Sent: Friday, November 6, 2015 4:46 PM
To: George Slone
Cc: dougholder@post.harvard.edu; michael@masspoetry.org; laurin@masspoetry.org; january@masspoetry.org; nicco@masspoetry.org
Subject: Re: Boston's new PL satirized in a new P. Maudit cartoon

Mr. Slone,
The time and attention you’ve given to your rendering of the Poet Laureate is impressive and somehow flattering.   
A little research (something good journalists, pundits, and even satirists, engage in) on your part would have provided you with the Poet Laureate position criteria and search committee members.  This information is public knowledge. 
Your approach is cowardly, Mr. Slone.  I see that you have my email address, and also could have been in touch had you really wanted answers to your questions, or to understand my Poet Laureate Program in all its facets.  It seems to me that a thoughtful conversation doesn’t interest you; that you’d rather send inflammatory volleys from the safe zone behind the computer screen at which you cower. 
Also pusillanimous is the attempt to make your confrontation personal.  How you have arrived at your presumptions about me, I don’t know, as we have never met.  Can you, Mr. Slone, discern whether I can relate, or have related, to dissident poets (as you call them), “poor blacks in Boston,” or others?  Methinks not. 
Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a real dialogue on poetry, poetics, and politics.
Danielle Legros Georges
Poet Laureate, City of Boston


From: George Slone
Sent: Saturday, November 7, 2015 12:14 PM
To: Georges, Danielle
Subject: Re: Boston's new PL satirized in a new P. Maudit cartoon

To Danielle Legros Georges, Poet Laureate, City of Boston:
Thank you very much for the response!  Sincerely!  That in itself (from my two-decades of experience) is very rare for an establishment academic and poet.  You will note that I am not “picking” on you per se, since ove the years I have created well over 1,000 cartoons on many different poets, academics, cultural-council apparatchiks, librarians, editors, etc.  You can take a look at some of them here 
http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com. Your cartoon is now posted at the latter.  How sad establishment poetry magazines would NEVER publish such cartoons or criticism!  In fact, a number of them refuse to even list THE AMERICAN DISSIDENT with other literary magazines listed (e.g., New Pages, Poetry Foundation, and P&W magazine).  
Criticizing establishment icons and organizations has become my principle creative activity and in a sense accords me a certain dignity via the exercise of the basic human right of freedom of expression. In fact, where else might one find criticism of Mass Cultural Council, Mass Poetry Festival, NEA, Poetry mag, etc., etc.?  It seems The American Dissident is unique in that sense.  Why do the other magazines normally NOT include such criticism?  The poetry milieu, in that sense, seems somewhat unique.  
Via Google, I did do some research.  How else did I find your email address?  But I could not find the selection committee member names nor the criteria, which you could have provided in your email, but did not.  Mass Poetry will not respond to my request for that.  No matter.  I expect the selectors were surely academics and without doubt part of the academic/literary establishment.  Were they not?  Were there any hardcore critics of the academic/literary establishment on the committee?  I also expect the criteria to be sufficiently vague and include something to the extent of quantity of publications in establishment magazines.  When dealing with art and literature, subjectivity is the prime point in question (like minds usually choose like minds!), though it is often treated as if somehow objective by the establishment. 
So, you choose to respond with ad hominem:  “cowardly.”  Rather than focus on the messenger, why not focus on the message in the cartoon.  Why not underscore precisely where the lies are in the satirical sketch and present a factual counter-argumentation?  If anything, I am NOT cowardly!  Unlike you (most probably), when teaching in academe I have always stood up and openly criticized administrators and colleagues and risked my employment for doing so!  Also, unlike you and other literary ladder climbers, I have always chosen RUDE truth (is there any other kind?) above fame, titles, awards, publications, and invitations.  With that regard, you might wish to contemplate Emerson:  “I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.”  Clearly, those words inevitably must directly counter your modus operandi.  
Sure, I could have contacted you prior to contacting your student newspaper editors, who will likely NOT be responding because of an absence of independence of mind and PC-obligation.  But what difference?  
You note:  “It seems to me that a thoughtful conversation doesn’t interest you; that you’d rather send inflammatory volleys from the safe zone behind the computer screen at which you cower.”  Well, why not invite me to your classes to present my point of view, which is likely at antipodes to your point of view?  In fact, despite my requests, only one professor in America has been willing to do that:  Dr. Dan Sklar, Emerson College.  Also, why not help get me invited to the Mass Poetry Festival to present my point of view?  MPF will NOT even respond, nor will the organizers of the Boston National Poetry Month.  I do NOT hide behind my computer screen.  I have OFTEN stood alone outside in protest against establishment poetry readings et al.  In fact, several years ago, I was permanently trespassed from my neighborhood library w/o due process because of my written criticism.  In fact, I was also trespassed from part of Fitchburg State University, where I was on the tenure track.  One professor had claimed she was afraid of me.  For those in power, the claim of fear is a typical ploy to crush dissidents.  In any case, how can YOU make an assertion of cowardice without knowing anything about me?  BTW, Lesley used to house PEN New England, which shamefully refused (and still does) to respond to any of my correspondance!  It does NOT care about my civil rights!  If Joan Houlihan is still present at Lesley, she too is an absurdity who once told me she would not permit me to teach any workshops at her Concord Poetry Center if I protested in front of the center (see 
http://theamericandissident.org/orgs/concord_poetry_center.html).  Well, this coward chose to protest and to hell with teaching the workshops!  Check that linke to see the cartoon I drew on Houlihan.  And how sad it is that college students are generally NOT introduced to criticism like mine!  Lesley would never subscribe to The American Dissident.
So, where do I find the names of the selection committee members and the criteria for the selection?
Also, why do you NOT give a damn that poets like me are fully ostracized by the establishment, which viscerally rejects criticism, satire, etc.?  Why?  
For you, the one question still remains:  how can one possibly reach the status of PL without groveling, ladder climbing, backslapping, self-congratulating, turning a blind eye, and especially avoiding criticizing at all costs?  For me, the answer is quite simple:  one can NOT reach that status without such less than noble activity.  Even way back, poets of the establishment like Alexander Pope and Lord Byron knew quite well that the position of PL was generally a farce!  Think of Stalinist State Poet Gorky, who’d argued that the archipelago gulags were nice places!  And how to read Solzhenitsyn’s The Oak and the Calf without noting the remarkable similarity between literature under the Soviet dictatorship and that in America today?  
As noted in my satire, the PL is clearly a badge of safety… accorded by the establishment!  How you can NOT perceive that is something you’d have to seriously contemplate.   Could someone like me ever be anointed PL by the poet, cultural-apparatchik, and local hack selectors, who I’ve likely already openly criticized?  Of course not!  And that is the fundament, the crux of the PL problem.
In fact, achieving the position of PL is akin to achieving tenure as a professor.  You might not be tenured, but you surely must know deep down what one must not say, what expression one must conceal.  In fact, the position of PL demands a certain blindness to the fact that dissidents like me are indeed fully ostracized and, for example, canNOT get public funding.  Despite my 501c3 status, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, etc. will not accord The American Dissident one penny of public funds.  In fact, because of my criticism, the Concord Cultural Council even enacted a policy prohibiting funding to any art it deemed to be of a political nature.  But then because I mocked that policy (see http://theamericandissident.org/orgs/massachusetts_cultural_council.html), it quickly withdrew it.  Sure, it’s not on paper today, but it is still firmly implanted in the minds of the establishment apparatchiks on the council.  
Finally, of course, I’d be willing to “dialogue” with you and others.  I have no criminal record of violence and have NEVER threatened anyone.  Why not try using your new power to allot just a tiny little space in the world of poetry to hardcore critical poetry with regards the poetry establishment?  Why not investigate why so many poets have such thin skin and thus cannot bear to be criticized?  Why are not MFA poetry students encouraged to contemplate the poetry infrastructure and encouraged to criticize it?  

[No response]
.............................................................


From: George Slone
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2015 2:47 PM
To: Georges, Danielle
Subject: Re: Boston's new PL satirized in a new P. Maudit cartoon

To the PL,
So, your definition of a “real dialogue” is to simply and gently close the door?  Or are you just too busy for “real dialogue” now?  Or does “real dialogue” really mean PC-minded dialogue?  I suspect that you only responded to my initial email because it was sent to a few of your colleagues and Lesley University student newspaper editors, all of whom decided NOT to respond.  Surprise?  Not in the least!  And that’s what is so sad about higher education (Lesley University et al) and the literary milieu today:  the absolute rejection of “real dialogue.”  In fact, a poet laureate is normally chosen because of her proven rejection of “real dialogue,” n’est-ce pas?


[No response.   Some dialogue on poetry, eh!]  


Monday, October 19, 2015

Elenita Muniz, Barnstable County Human Rights Commission

Business as Usual

In Barnstable County, Hypocrisy, Double Standards, and Anti-White Racism Are Golden

"all white people are racist.”
—Elenita Muniz, White Privileged, Anti-White Privilege     Human Rights Coordinator

We, the undersigned Commissars of the 
Barnstable County Human RIghts Commission
embrace anti-white racism, though not always overtly.
We are not interested in the civil rights of local white folk,
nor do we care about the most basic of all rights, 
Freedom of Speech and Expression, as rightfully noted
by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We thus do NOT promote and protect the basic human rights of all persons in Barnstable County.
We do, however, protect all community pillars via a network 
of friends, family, local government and business leaders.
So, if one of us proves to be racist and thus favors discrimination, she will NOT be reprimanded or dismissed!!!

John Reed, Commissar-in-Chief
Elenita Muniz, Coordinator and Avowed Anti-White Racist
Rita Ailinger, Commissar
Roland Bessette, Commissar
Tia Cross, Commissar
Paul Driscoll, Commissar
Paul Houlihan, Commissar
Alan Milsted, Commissar
Laura Roskos, Commissar

Paul Thompson, Commissar

Friday, October 9, 2015

Joshua Wolf Shenk, Black Mountain Institute

.......................................................
Sent Oct. 7, 2015

To Joshua Wolf Shenk,
As a new board member of PEN, might you actually be open to criticism against PEN?  Probably not.  If so, please do read my two essays on PEN:  
http://globalfreepress.org/contributors/usa/g-tod-slone/3415-pen-an-ethical-consideration

http://globalfreepress.org/contributors/usa/g-tod-slone/3825-pen-an-ethical-consideration-part-ii

Also, check out the front cover of The American Dissident which featured PEN associates as wielders, not of pens or swords, but of cocktails:  
http://theamericandissident.org/orgs/pen_new_england.html

Yes, I know, I’m a nobody and you’re an everybody.  I’m a go-against-the-grain, you’re a ladder climber.  Any possibility of “getting together”?  Likely not!  

In any event, your P&W interview will probably inspire me to satirize you in a new P. Maudit cartoon, which will then be published in a forthcoming issue of The American Dissident.  After all, what other literary journal would publish such satire?  The answer to that question sums up the sad state of American literature today.

That said, why not get your University of Nevada, Las Vegas library to subscribe and be the only institution in Nevada to do so?  After all, where else might we’re-doing-such-a-great-job writers, poets, and professors find satire with their regard??? 


PS:  SILENCE is always the best response of those in power--political, literary, cultural, academic et al --when criticized with the sledgehammer of truth.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Evan Serpick

.................................................................
Serpick of course never responded.  After all, what could he argue?  Why do so many on the Left hate vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy?  Perhaps because such debate will usually unearth some uncomfortable facts, reason, and argumentation!  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sherman Alexie

.............................................
This cartoon was drawn in 2012 and was not posted on this blog.  Today, Alexie is in the news again, this time for admitting he chooses poems based on the race of poets... the white race is of course on the bottom of the list.  What a crock, what a sham the poesy established order, even when headed by a native American poetaster...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Charles Brownstein


...............................................................

How to explain a purported defender of free speech, who rationalizes why he should NOT defend free speech?  Charles Brownstein did NOT respond to my letter (sent a year ago) regarding the banning of my speech, cartoons, books, and person from a public library... yet is a co-sponsor with the American Library Association (equally apathetic) of Banned Books Week.  How to explain that egregious hypocrisy?  See letter below:


From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: dan@bookweb.org; info@abffe.org; bstripli@syr.edu; info@publishers.org; ftrf@ala.org; madler-kozak@nacs.org; dangelo@nacs.org; info@cbldf.org; ncac@ncac.org; pen@pen.org; mickey@projectcensored.org
CC: sturgislibrary@comcast.net; editor.camelsaloon@gmail.com; hrc@barnstablecounty.org; fblowrie@gmail.com; rosalynbecker@gmail.com
Subject: Hypocrisy in the Ranks of Advocates for Freedom
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:10:56 -0400

Irony and Hypocrisy in the Ranks of Advocates for Freedom
We have hypocrites in politics.  No surprise there.  We have hypocrites in higher education.  No surprise there either.  But we also have hypocrites in the ranks of those professing to be advocates for freedom.  Now, that ought to be surprising... or perhaps not, considering the ever-increasing potency of  political indoctrination. 
Is it not ironical that some (perhaps most) of the very establishments that promote Banned Books Week are either banners of books (City Lights Book Store will not stock copies of The American Dissident) or apathetic when books they don’t like are banned?  Is it not equally ironical that some (perhaps most!) of those who attend “Banned Books Discussions” like the one to be held on September 23rd at Sturgis Library don’t give a damn when books are banned in their own backyards?  
On June 19, 2012, Sturgis Library director Lucy Loomis PERMANENTLY BANNED not only The American Dissident and any books I’ve authored, but also me and the ideas of those published in The American Dissident.  On that nefarious day three cops showed up with the director in the room, where I was quietly working alone on my online college courses, to escort me out of my own neighborhood library without warning or even possibility of due process.  Imagine that not one library director in the entire Clams Library System of Cape Cod would protest against that authoritarian decision.  Not one town counselor and not one local human rights commissioner of the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission would do so either!  
Yet I’ve never made threats, never made any disturbance in that library, and I'd been going to it almost every day for two years!  What I did, however, was question and challenge IN WRITING, one week prior to the decree, Loomis’ hypocrisy regarding, especially, her written statement, borrowed from the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” that “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view.”  
Loomis refused to present me with a written document describing the reason for her decision.  The library trustees refused to do that and also refused to present me with documents with its regarding.  It took the Massachusetts State Secretary of Records nine months later to order the library to make its records available to the public since it determined the library was not only being funded by the public but was clearly serving a public purpose.  In those records, only an indirect comment by Loomis to Ted Lowry, president of the library trustees, indicated the reason for the decision:  “Because of his behavior when the police were here they almost arrested him -- he can go from calm to extremely agitated in a matter of seconds.  So l believe this is the correct decision for the safety of the staff and public.”
Yes, I was quite pissed off when I saw three cops enter the room with Loomis!  I hadn't even spoken to anyone in the library for a week.  And yes I was quite pissed off when one of them actually grabbed my arm, twisted it behind my back, and frisked me!  Hell, I’m 66 years old and not a big guy.  And I was not making threats in any way whatsoever.  Ah, but it turned out that he was the training officer and showing a new recruit how to frisk a citizen.  I have no record of violence whatsoever.  In essence, Loomis played the he-makes-me-feel-uncomfortable card... because he actually challenged my ability to be a director.  Since that nefarious day over two years ago, if indeed I were such a danger to the staff and publc, why have I done nothing at all to harm the staff and public?  So, here I am today with an almost-arrested police record for the crime of manifesting a little anger in public… and PERMANENTLY punished for it.  
Since that nefarious day in June, I’ve contacted scores of organizations.  To date, not one of them proved sufficiently concerned to offer to help me or even write a simple letter to the director, requesting she rescind her authoritarian decree.  Not even the ACLUM would lift a finger!  To date, not one of the sponsors and endorsers of Banned Books Week has been willing to do that either!  So, American Library Association, PEN (PEN New England won't even respond to my emails), National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, American Book Sellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Project Censored, and Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, why the hell not? 

Sincerely,


G. Tod Slone, PhD (universite de Nantes, FR) aka P. Maudit,
Founding Editor (1998)
The American Dissident, a 501c3 Nonprofit Journal of Literature, Democracy, and Dissidence
217 Commerce Rd.

Barnstable, MA 02630 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Franz Wright


...................................................

Why Poetry Doesn't Matter--Yet Another Example...

Above is a cartoon I sketched in 2004 on Franz Wright, who actually paid me $10 for a copy of it in person at the Emerson Umbrella for the Arts (ah, but not for my arts!) building when he saw me with signs and flyers protesting his scheduled reading at Concord Poetry Center.  He chuckled and never did comment on it.  
          I thought I should post it here for the record, since Wright just croaked.  "Award-winning poet" Michael Dickman presented his blind-poet accolade write-up in Time magazine (6/1/15).  "Award-winning" poets like Dickman and Wright of course rarely, if ever, possess the individuality to question and challenge the academic/literary established order machine handing out the prizes and accolades.   Dickman, in a typical outpouring of hyperbolic lit-dysentery, states "Franz Wright was a haunted and passionate poet, creator of some of the most devastatingly beautiful and dangerous poems written in English in the past 50 years."  Sadly, MFA poesy students will likely swallow the shit without questioning it.  And Dickman evidently needs a dictionary to look up the term "dangerous."  
          "The hole he leaves in contemporary American poetry will not, as Wright once wrote, be 'scarlessly closing like water' anytime soon," concludes Dickman as if somehow making an objective statement, which sums up the entire canon-making machinery, which inevitably performs its hocus-pocus and voila subjective becomes objective.  Just swallow and say ahh, just like Dickman has been doing all his life right up the ladder to the safe penning of a Time mag obit hagiography.  Dickman, by the way, briefly responded to my critique of his hagiography (see below for correspondence).  I'd mistakenly written that Charles Wright, current Lit-Innocuity-in-Chief aka Poet Laureataster of the US Congress, was Franz Wright's father.  In fact, the two are not related.  Sadly, that was all Dickman had to say.  
          Regarding my Concord protest, Franz Wright, of course, unsurprisingly, did not give a damn about it, and I doubt he possessed the capacity to understand the cartoon he'd purchased.  The protest concerned, not just him, but also the Concord Poetry Center, who's director, Joan Houlihan, had aberrantly stipulated that if I stood before her center in protest, she would not permit me to teach a workshop on dissident poetry and poets.  Where most poetasters like Wright would probably have said, well, ok, I won't protest, I certainly did not.  Below is the letter I wrote to Wright, who never responded...
.....................................................................
                                                                                                      October 17, 2004
Franz Wright, Pulitzer Poet
74 Parmenter Rd.
Waltham, MA 02453

Dear Franz Wright:
We met Saturday night quite briefly (see my poem on that encounter).  I was/am the lone poet protester of Concord (I spent a day in a Concord jail for protesting the absence of free speech at Walden Pond several years ago).  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all dialogue, rather than chuckle at each other?  Wouldn’t it be nice (generous) if the academic lit journals, workshops, classes and poetry centers opened their scope to other possibilities and even manifested CURIOSITY?  Yes, I am aware that you are not an academic… but I suspect, if you are not already, you shall soon be with workshop opportunities, adjunct courses, and offers of tenure from the nation’s poetry department heads.  

Anyhow, enclosed is a copy of the literary journal I created as a result of academic corruption at Fitchburg State College (MA).  I was a professor there (5 years) and am now a blacklisted unemployed professor with a PhD… for whatever that is worth.  

Enclosed also is a self-published chapbook (who else would ever publish such a thing?) of my poetry and especially my literary manifesto.  The latter is what I’d really like you to examine.  Over 40 academic journals have rejected it.  I thought it might be interesting if you simply contemplated for a moment how impossible it is for a dissident poet to find a publisher in today’s society.  Indeed, recently reading Solzhenitsyn’s The Oak and the Calf, I could not help but compare America’s Academic-controlled literary scene (the Academic/Literary Industrial Complex) with that of the Soviet Writer’s Union.  

Thank you for helping to support The American Dissident with your $10 contribution.  

.....................................................

From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: mdickman@princeton.edu
CC: lewiscenter@princeton.edu
Subject: Adjudicated: Insufficiently Deferent
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 11:16:51 -0400

To Michael Dickman, (Academic) Lecturer in Creative Writing, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University:
Yesterday, I read your obit on Franz Wright, while waiting for my car inspection at Toyota.  My comments with its regard, including a cartoon I’d sketched on Wright ages ago, have just been posted on my blog site here:  wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com.  Why not take a gander.  After all, as I've always said, curiosity did not kill the cat, careerism did that.  
In fact, why not manifest unusual openness and expose your creative-writing students to it?  Pipe dream?  Most likely, and despite the following deceptive statement of implied inclusivity:  “The Lewis Center for the Arts is designed to put the creative and performing arts at the heart of the Princeton experience. This mission is based on the conviction that exposure to the arts, particularly to the experience of producing art, helps each of us to make sense of our lives and the lives of our neighbors.”
Ah, but which “creative and performing arts” are to be included… and which are to be excluded… in the name of inclusivity of course? Which poets are to be included and which shall be excluded?  Do you teach your students that?  Do you teach them to question and challenge the lit canon?  Do you teach them to wonder about the faceless judges concealed behind the scene who choose this poem but not that poem?  Do you teach them to wonder why those faceless Pulitzer judges chose Franz Wright?  Did they choose him because he was harshly critical with their regard?  
Finally, why not get Princeton to subscribe to The American Dissident (only $20/year) or better yet order copies for your students.  After all, where else might they read criticism of lit icons and their acolytes?  Where else might they be able to examine satirical cartoons, poems, and essays on those like Wright… and even you?  Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Buffalo, and a few other universities thankfully subscribe.  To date, only one professor has been willing to open up his classroom to opposing viewpoints and invite me to speak about The American Dissident.  Professor Dan Sklar (Endicott College) has been doing that for almost five years now.  For all student comments, see http://theamericandissident.org/students.html.

Thank you for your attention.
...........................................

From: mdickman@Princeton.EDU
To: todslone@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Adjudicated: Insufficiently Deferent
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 15:36:17 +0000

Mr. Slone, 
Charles Wright is not Franz Wright's father. 
Good luck,
Michael Dickman
............................................

From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: mdickman@princeton.edu
Subject: Adjudicated: Insufficiently Deferent
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 20:21:59 -0400

Michael,
I stand corrected!  I always thought he was the father.  Somebody must have told me that a while ago.  I shall note on my blog that I erred.  Now, too bad you are not OPEN to different viewpoints... too bad for your students.
G. Tod








Monday, May 18, 2015

Ron Charles, Barbara J. King


Notes on Lapdog Hagiography and the Three Charlies

Fed, paid, and pampered by the very men
By whom his muse and morals had been mauled:
He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose,
And more of both than anybody knows. […]
—Lord Byron, “Laureate Southey’s Presumption”

What crap ye write on poesy, Ron Charles!  And they call you a journalist?  Your WaPo essay, “A Pair of U. S. Poets Laureate for the Price of One,” was absolutely mind-numbing.  How did you manage to question and challenge nothing at all?  Rather than journalism, that’s lapdog hagiography!  
You illustrate the fundamental problem with literature (and journalism) today in America:  the absence of hardcore questioning and challenging of celebrity literati and the academic/literary established-order machine that rewards their conformity, groupthink, banality, and general innocuity—the safe lubricant of literature-as-usual wrapped in a tube called BRILLIANT.  How can you and the two laureatasters idolized in your essay, Charles Wright and Charles Simic, be so blind as to what it takes to climb the literary ladder:  kowtowing, cronyism, backslapping, self-congratulating, and all those other dubious traits that should NOT be rewarded? 
One should expect wisdom from poets laureate.  Instead, we—or at least I—have come to expect banality and poesy-as-usual.  Your article clearly fails to manifest any wisdom at all.  Instead, all it presents is hot- air inanity (i.e., pomp).  
“The only rule for the poet laureate of the United States is that there are no rules,” you state either as a blatant ignoramus or a willful participant in that Congressional sham.  Rules, of course, do exist, especially Basic Rule #1:  see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.  The triumphirate of the monkeys is indeed the true credo of ladder-climbing poets laureate.  In fact, it is evidently yours too!  After all, how else can one rise to lit critic for the Washington Post… if not by not criticizing the diverse hands that feed you to keep your mouth shut?  
To back your first statement of “no rules,” you note, “So when retiring laureate Charles Wright decided he didn’t want to follow tradition by delivering a closing lecture this month, nobody called the Capitol Police. And besides, he had a better idea: a public conversation with his friend Charles Simic.”  Wow!  What courage!  What a fabulous illustration of the “no rules” observation!  
Awe-stricken you fawn:  “But it made the star-power of Thursday evening’s presentation at the Library of Congress all the more impressive. There was the 20th U.S. poet laureate sitting on stage with the 15th U.S. poet laureate, their Pulitzer Prizes tucked discreetly behind them.”  How nauseating!  With all the crap going on in America, they (and you) sit in pomp and circumstance in the court-jester limelight of an out-of-touch elitist utopic cocoon, o poetasters of the U. S. Congress!  Bravo!   And again, as a journalist, how can you not question and challenge the literary prizes like the Pulitzer?  Who were the judges behind the scenes who awarded the prizes?  What prejudices regarding poetry do they hold?  
And then things get oh-so exciting in your reportage when lit-hack host of the event Don Share, editor of multimillion-dollar Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Magazine, asks: “What the heck does the poet laureate do, anyway?”  Oh my, how did he get away with saying, “heck”?  And how can you not wonder aloud, what Poetry Foundation’s $200 million dollars can do and has done to the public face of poetry, including outright castration and overall high-brow bourgeois palatability?  
And then Wright unintentionally sums up the sad reality of the inanity illicited from Share’s question:  “You don’t do much.” And when Share pushes for a longer or better response, Wright adds “Every state has a poet laureate—snore—so you might as well have one for the whole shebang. It’s been fabulous. I mean, people bow to me as I go down the street.”  And you pump it all up by describing the response as “wry disregard for the position’s pomp,” as if somehow Wright in a position of pomp was not pompous, but rather noncoformist.  Insane!  How do you guys get away with it?  Both you and Share should have instead asked why so many Americans knee-jerk open wide and swallow the crap and actually “bow” to it?  In fact, why doesn’t Wright have the intelligence to wonder about that… and openly?  As for the laureateship, you note he simply said:  “What does it mean? You’re loved. What’s better than that?”  Well, I (and hopefully others who think for themselves) sure as hell do NOT love that embarrassing suckup.  
And how to explain Wright’s blather about his writing “private kind of poetry,” while climbing right to the top of the ladder of public kind of poetry and public recognition—anything but private?  Ah, a little self-slap on the back explains it:  “But the best of private poetry eventually becomes public knowledge.”  Yes, I see.  Sure, that makes sense.  What wisdom!  
Finally, at least Simic got it right when asked where poetry will likely be in 50 years:  “It probably won’t change at all: ‘I’m all alone; nobody loves me; it’s always raining.’”  Ah, again what wisdom!  And then Wright’s response to it:  “I’ve written that!”  And to top it all off, your conclusion:  “Two jokers, two brilliant poets.”  Ah, the hackneyed term “brilliant” to describe less than brilliant academic poetasters!  How original! But you did at least hit the bull’s eye with “jokers” as in court jesters… of the U. S. Congress.