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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Michael Cavna Dan Perkins


Inliers Who Somehow Think They’re Outliers
“Inliers” do not possess the basic courage and capablity for questioning and challenging the diverse hands feeding them. They write articles like “Tom Tomorrow: What does it mean when a true outlier is a Pulitzer Prize finalist?”  Michael Cavna, the Washington Post cartoon columnist who wrote that one, seems incapable of understanding the basic premise that “true outliers” can NOT become Pulitzer Prize finalists.  They can only do that if in fact they are “untrue outliers” who somehow think they are “true outliers,” kind of like Cavna himself.
The entire structure feeding the Cavnas and other “inliers” remains out of bounds for their critical thinking.  Now, for example, rather than trumpet the “string of honors,” as Cavna does regarding cartoonist Dan Perkins aka Tom November, why not actually think and wonder who might be the faceless judges of cartoonist propriety handing out those so-called “honors” and what might tick them off, and how and why do those cartoonists who receive the  so-called “honors” sufficiently self-censor themselves to be considered for them?  
How do the faceless judges keep cartoonists barking like little doggies for the little doggie biscuits held in their hands?  Where are the courageous cartoonists in America—you know, like the Charlie Hebdo martyrs of freedom of speech in France—, who bite those hands and satirize those faceless judges?  Well, you ain’t gonna find them even way at the bottom of the Pulitzer Prize list.  So-called “alternative or independent” cartoonists have really become nothing but second-tier established-order cartoonists desperate to climb the ladder to the first tier like, once upon a time, Gary Trudeau, now PC, Democrat-Party, anti-Charlie-Hebdo Islamist apologist.  
Cavna needs to define the term “outlier,” which for him, seems to mean not yet recognized by the established-order and he or she who sketches PC-acceptable themes, while barking to be recognized by that order.  Cavna-designated “outlier” Dan Perkins notes:  “It’s been gratifying to have the work recognized in the past couple of years.  I got the Herblock, I got a Society of Illustrators silver medal, and now this—it’s just nice to have these things.”  But why doesn’t Perkins have the capacity to ask himself what he’s probably been doing wrong to get recognized by a society of illustrators?  Perkins barks ravenously:  “Time is not my friend. How many more years will I be eligible [for the Pulitzer]? I don’t have that many more shots at it.  But even to have made it as a finalist— this is hugely significant for me. … I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”  But when one barks ravenously, one cannot see or think clearly.  

Cavna exists in WaPo dreamlandia, ever barking for doggie bones.  The whole award-system structure serves a purpose:  to place those who do not have the courage to bite established-order hands in the limelight and to keep those who do bite those hands out of it.  Period.  Now, as a cartoonist, I shall have to satirize Cavna around that basic premise.  Do you think he will respond?  Would he publish the cartoon in his WaPo column?  In fact, will he simply censor this comment out of view from faithful WaPo readers?

Friday, April 24, 2015

roibeárd Uí-neíll

The following is an excerpt from the latest issue of The American Dissident (#29):  

roibeárd Uí-neíll (Corydon, IN ). I have been in the blue-collar workforce for approximately 34 years, held half as many jobs, and never regretted leaving any of them. Obviously, the contemplative life will always be out of my reach. And I don't mean fucking academics.  I've been fairly-well castrated for voicing my dim views of religion, politics, and the general anti-intellectual streak among my co-workers. I've always prided myself on never pulling my punches, i.e., you'll see it coming.  Me not write pretty. But then, I write to take my own pulse, check my own compass, politically-correct editors and cerebrally lazy readers be damned.  I'm an unapologetic freethinker/socialist democrat/book-devourer residing in the Bible Belt. You don't know how isolated I am, regardless of the number of people I know.  I find most contemporary poetry safe and banal. Again, I write to amuse myself, and if it strikes an occasional chord, good; if not, I have no aversion to burning my bridges behind me.  I'm not worried about what you can do for me. 

secular saints vs. monsters from the desert

The middle of summer & motoring through
southern Illinois when this ludicrous apparition
was glimpsed, rising above a captive cornfield,
a billboard flaunting an equally ridiculous proclamation:
You think it's hot here?
     —God
Moral terrorism, however banal.
Enough to keep the pew-jumpers
& snake-handlers under control.
Wasn't it the world-renowned scholar, Anonymous,
who wrote, "Blind faith is an ironic gift to return
to the creator of human intelligence."?
i believe in free speech, but know that gentle rebuke
wouldn't be permitted to grace its own billboard
in the buckle of the bible belt.
----------------------------------------
i'm used to it—a casual Christian acquaintance
says there's nothing redemptive in my poetry,
then to be greeted by silence when i asked him
which god of love gave marching orders
to the Ku Klux Klan & Christian Identity,
Neo-Nazis & suicide bombers, or fanned the flames
of Hindu nationalism at Gujarat.
Who's paid to heed Voltaire's warning?
"Those who can make you believe absurdities
can also make you commit atrocities."
----------------------------------------------------
Is it hate speech if i suggest 'twas a pity
that pillar of fire leading the tripartite children
of Abraham through the desert
hadn't been a vampire igniting at dawn?
One less ideology to justify slaughtering each other?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
You know it's true,
those of us who don't believe in
or rely upon the cult of the supernatural
are labeled spiritually & mentally deficient.
i'm still willing to live & let live.
Thomas Huxley wasn't "Darwin's bulldog" alone.
i'm a thoughtful secular humanist
who invokes his name, allows the light of reason
to guide my path between nihilism & the numinous.
But if i had to write a letter to Thomas Jefferson,
he'd be disgusted—the pathological stupidity
is no longer satisfied with picking pockets & breaking legs,
it's now burning candles at Mikhail Kalashnikov's grave,
it's broadcasting home movies where the art of decapitation
takes center stage;  & evil of evils, continues rending
its own women & children from limb to limb.
Sharia law forbids kite-flying & laughter, radios
& blue jeans, the naked faces of the fairer sex.
Who's surprised Allah has no tolerance
for the many manifestations of human happiness?
--------------------------------------------------------------------
& not to neglect the original sin,
the first stone cast in anger— 
the first of the Ten Commandments
made sludge of the golden calf, then knocked the chip
off of every other self-serving celestial shoulder,
kicked sand in the face of the Golden Rule.
The Word become ash in the mouths of the devout,
& no difference between the mortar to build temple or tomb.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yet the meek, the mild, the moderate
insist their religion has been hijacked.
i'd like to hear any of them refute
the argument posited by Hector Avalos,
a bold professor of theology who concluded
violence is inherent in their belief systems because of
inscripturation, sacred ground, group privileging...
...& salvation.
It's a matter of who's right & who's damned,
& to the victor goes the spoil of souls,
to be disposed of properly.
No-one wants to hear it,
& the meek, the mild, the moderate
are resigned when the hems of their robes
burst from smoke into conflagration.
-------------------------------------------------
The late Kurt Vonnegut famously quipped,
"If God were alive today, He'd be an atheist."
& sharing a foxhole with fellow positivists
until the conundrum blows over.
---------------------------------------------
i'm still willing to live & let live.
i have my own fresh-off-the-press martyrs,
despite self-righteous gun thugs
abusing my appreciation of the ironic— 
didn't the Son of God have 12 disciples?
Bless those determined, pen-wielding 12,
the French satirists & cartoonists
& satirical cartoonists who had the temerity
to lift a mirror, who demanded
a barbaric, iron-fisted homunculus
pause a moment to examine his thin-skinned egotism,
critique the delusions imposed upon
the hateful, semi-literate ghost-swallowers
who want to fulfill his impossibly perfect footprints.
i'm wretched, but not a wretch.
i'm not a sinner, but a flawed human being
who understands the expectation of divine intervention
can never replace the satisfaction of tying his own bootlaces.
& my suggestion to honor the brave Paris 12?
We should bomb every jihadist enclave,
every religious fundamentalist stronghold,
regardless of its flavor of ectoplasmic spew,
with leaflets bearing Victor Hugo's indictment,
"Sacrificing the Earth for paradise is giving up
the substance for the shadow."
Provided the believers can fixate
on something other than a single line in their holy books.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Comrades!
The revolutionary Quaker, Thomas Paine,
didn't require a mountaintop when he said,
"The world is my country, and to do good my religion."
Why isn't this written on every human heart?
We return to beating a dead horse,
fully aware it may never get up
& gallop out of the Dark Ages.
But to do anything less
would be to forfeit
our integrity...

...as well as our heads.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Robin DiAngelo


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Trigger Warning:  The Following Will Upset the Westfield State University Campus-Designated Safe Zone of Thought; Consult at Your Own Risk

Notes on “Professor Fragility”

Over the past several decades I’ve questioned and challenged many professors.  Few if any have ever responded with clear counter arguments.  In fact, I cannot think of one.  A handful have responded with ad hominem.  Most simply choose not to respond.  Those observations have brought me to conclude that “Professor Fragility” is a reality.   In any case, Sam Adler-Bell’s Raw Story interview (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/why-white-people-freak-out-when-theyre-called-out-about-race/) with Robin DiAngelo, white-privileged Associate Professor of Critical Multicultural and Social Justice Education at Westfield State University (MA), fails to question and challenge at all.  Why, one must ask, do so many journalists like Adler-Bell simply provide space for a convenient and simplistic anti-white stereotype narrative?  In this case, the narrative is called “white fragility,” DiAngelo’s purported invention.  So, allow me to present a challenge to it, since all Adler-Bell did was open wide and swallow it.  
The “white fragility” argument is one-sided—anti-white—as tends to be most conversation about racism today.  Would it not be somewhat unique to add to it, a stereotype “black fragility” component?  After all, do not predictable patterns also include black “inability to tolerate any kind of challenge” to the racial narrative, as in black anti-white racism, black entitlement, black multimillionaires in power positions, Affirmative Action privilege, etc.?  Don’t blacks “shut down or lash out or in whatever way possible block any reflection from taking place,” regarding challenges to their narrative?  Don’t they also “regress into an emotional state that prevents anybody from moving forward”?  
All DiAngelo has really done is add a component to the old Tim Wise concept of “white privilege,” which she oddly notes “unfortunately it’s been played so much now that it turns people off.”  Well, why does the notion of “white privilege” turn people off nowadays?  Why didn’t Adler-Bell ask that question?  And why doesn’t DiAngelo evoke it?  In fact, one must wonder if DiAngelo has created a lucrative vein like the “white privilege” one created by Wise.  Is she amassing a small fortune like Wise on the “white privilege,” uh, “white fragility” speaking engagement and workshop circuit?  Rather than bank the cash, why are  she and Wise likely not donating all of it to help lift inner city blacks from poverty?  Pipe dream? 
DiAngelo mentions, “white fragility also comes from a deep sense of entitlement,” and conveniently fails to mention why blacks do not possess such a sense of entitlement, which is clearly her implication.  In essence, her entire argument is black and white with no room at all for shades of gray.  She places all whites in one entitlement box and consequently all blacks in a victim box.  How more divisive and simplistic can one possibly get?  Whites are privileged (i.e., fragile), while blacks are not.  The poverty-stricken white person is far better off than millionaires like Holder, Obama, and Oprah because, after all, he or she is white, while they are not.  
Why aren’t institutions like Westfield State University focusing more on “democracy training” and less on “diversity training”?  Why don’t they have directors of democracy, instead of just directors of diversity?  Well, the reason is evident:  the notion of “diversity” has become a form of politically-correct indoctrination (i.e., social engineering), while democracy (i.e., freedom of speech and vigorous debate) can evidently be harmful to it.  
DiAngelo concludes:  “The arrogance of white people faced with questions of race is unbelievable.”  Again, she deals in base, racist anti-white stereotypes.  All whites are arrogant, consequently all blacks are not.  Can that really be what her 20 years of PhD research in “race relations and white racial identity” ended up concluding?  Now, how easily it would be for her to dismiss what I’ve written here with a simple statement:  you’ve freaked out because you’ve been called out on race.  Well, more likely, if inflicted with a serious case of “professor fragility,” she’ll just remain comfortably silent…
...................................................
NB:  DiAngelo is no longer teaching at Westfield State.  That’s what I just discovered.  Now, why didn’t Adler-Bell verify that?  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cornel West


Dwight Garner

Question:  Now, what poetry magazine out there would ever publish a review like the following? 

Answer:  The American Dissident.  Period.


Review of an Unusually Lame Review 
Ever read the poetry reviews in the Washington Post and New York Times?  If not, take a gander.  You might be surprised by the level of innocuousness… or perhaps not, that is, if you’re familiar with the poetry establishment.  “‘When our souls are happy,’ Charles Simic has written, ‘they talk about food.’  When my soul is happy, often enough, I want to talk about Mr. Simic,” states Dwight Garner in his latest New York Times review on several new Simic books. 
My review here is not about Simic, but rather about one of his blind fawners.  In fact, one must wonder if Garner is a paladin for publishers:  his review is scarcely longer than a lengthy back-cover blurb.  I’d copied it several weeks ago with the thought of sketching a cartoon on Simic, but I’d already done several, so that thought quickly evaporated.  Finally, I got down to looking at it.  Garner notes Simic’s stuff is “comic and elegiac” with a dash of “old world sensibility.”  Now, wouldn’t it be nice for once to read about a poet who’s stuff was hard-core truth telling and quite upsetting to the literary established order?  Sure, tell me about it.  The beginning sentence of Garner’s review should have been a line from Simic’s most potent verse.  Well, perhaps it was.   
The next indication of Simic’s potency, or rather impotency, as admired by Garner, is the following:  “In his very good new book of poems, ‘The Lunatic,’ for example, a spring day makes him so happy that, even if he had to face a firing squad, he’d ‘Smile like a hairdresser/Giving Cameron Diaz a shampoo.’  Oh, yeah, now I really want to read that book!  I’ll have to run down to the local library to see if it has a copy.  But am I dreaming?  For such verse, Simic won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and a MacArthur fellowship!  Ah, but Garner informs that earlier Simic had written a “nearly perfect collection” in 2007 in celebration of his having been anointed Poet Laureataster of the US Congress.  Talk about a dysfunctional Congress!  In fact, the latest GAO report on the Library of Congress seems to have indicated precisely that!   Too bad, Garner does not provide a “nearly perfect” line of verse from that collection to entice us to read it.

Finally, the other book reviewed is a prose collection, The Life of Images.  “Yet what’s really special about this book is that it demonstrates what a melancholy baby this poet is, in all the best ways,” notes Garner who is perhaps so blinded by his love of Simic that he doesn’t even realize the inanity pouring out of his own pen.  Perhaps he too is a “melancholy baby”?  How not to LOL.  Perhaps a cartoon of both of them in diapers singing Van Morrison’s “Melancholia” might be a good idea.  Hmm.  So, Simic was “an early foodie.”  Whoopee!  One really has to wonder how someone like Garner manages to get his hagiographies published.  Oh, yeah, I forgot, the high standards of the New York Times… and paladin of publishers.