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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Beacher Wiggins

The following open letter was sent in 2014.  


Open Letter (2014)
To the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center,
Another Odd Sponsor of Banned Books Week Proudly… Banning Books

Should public servants be in the business of determining what literature should be accepted and what literature should be rejected at the publicly-funded Library of Congress?  Should they be serving as Gatekeepers of Propriety—Grand Censors and Banners of Books?  How can such activity possibly conform with the principles of democracy?  
Beacher Wiggins, Director for Acquisitions & Bibliographic Access, finally responded to my query, originally sent in January 2014, then again in August and again in September of the same year, regarding the procedure for getting the Library of Congress to subscribe (only $20/year) to The American Dissident, a 501c3 nonprofit journal of literature, democracy, and dissidence.  His response was a curt “My apologies for not having responded to your earlier message.  The Library has determined that it will not acquire your serial.”  Period.  I’d received the same kind of curt response from the NEA regarding a grant request.  And the NEA refused to provide any details as to why its flat-out rejection of the journal as “low” and “poor.”  Of course, anything critical of the NEA or Library of Congress or National Poetry Month or Academy of American Poets or any other established-order organization, cog, or icon would have to be deemed “low” and “poor.”  
                As for Rob Casper, Director of the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, he has yet to respond to my query as to how The American Dissident might be placed on his shelves (i.e., the public shelves of the Library of Congress!).  He and Wiggins have yet to respond to my request for details on the process of determination, that is, acquisition and non-acquisition.  Is their silence with that regard an indirect statement that the simple opinion of public-servant apparatchiks is the determining factor?  After all, how can one possibly make an objective determination regarding poetry and poetry criticism?  
Does the collection development policy of the Library of Congress include, like so many other libraries, the American Library Association's “Library Bill of Rights” statement that "libraries should provide materials and information providing ALL points of view"?  If so, why do chief acquisitions apparatchiks like Casper and Wiggins not adhere to it?  If not, why is that statement not part of it?  Do they espouse the left’s inclusivity mantra?  If so, why do they effect de facto exclusion.  Hypocrites?
Clearly, The American Dissident is a unique literary journal because it dares criticize what few if any other journals dare criticize:  the academic/literary established order.  Indeed, it questions and challenges, in the spirit of democracy, organizations like Poetry Foundation, the NEA, the Academy of American Poets, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and PEN America.  It has been critical of the knee-jerk ostracizing and banning of viewpoints subjectively deemed inappropriate or uncivil.  In fact, it also criticizes, in the spirit of democracy, the Library of Congress itself, including the aforementioned apparatchiks and its CEO Librarian James H. Billington.  The front cover of issue #18, for example, featured a satire on Billington and the poet he chose to be Poet Laureate of the USA (see https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=239569862679528067#allposts).  The front cover of issue #30 also featured Billington, this time with his new anointed poet laureate (see http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2016/01/juan-felipe-herrera.html).
Perhaps it was the watercolor I did on the Poetry Society of America that irritated Casper, former Programs Director of Poetry Society of America (see http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2014/08/alice-quinn.html)? Satire?  We no need no stinkin satire!  Is that it?  Sadly, those visiting the Library of Congress will not be exposed to such satire and criticism thanks to its gatekeepers.   Moreover,  one must wonder how American education failed not only them, but also the many American poets who manage to intellectually accept without question or challenge such an autocratic anointment effected by one man, Billington.  
Why have Casper and Wiggins decided to essentially ban The American Dissident from a publicly-funded library of the purported representative of the American public, the Congress?  Well, you’d have to ask them, for they have not been responsive at all.  After all, they do not have to be responsive, for they are public servants wholly unaccountable to the public.  As citizens are increasingly learning (hopefully!), public servants from President Obama to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on down seem to be less and less accountable nowadays.  
Essentially, Casper and Wiggins have decided to ban hardcore criticism of the academic/literary established order, including that targeting the Library of Congress itself, from the publicly-funded shelves of the Library of Congress.  What a twisted sense of DEMOCRACY they must possess!  Shame on those who gave them the power of selection (i.e., banning)!  Perhaps Casper and Wiggins might wish to reflect, stand up as men (as opposed to careerist ladder climbers), speak honestly for once in their lives, where few librarians would dare, and openly express their true scorn for and disagreement with the ALA’s core statement as noted above.   Pipedream?  Likely! 
Finally, as the PC-hammer and sickle, represented by Casper and Wiggins, continues making progress in America, how not to be outraged?  Casper and Wiggins illustrate the fundamental problem with America as a democracy.  The country is much too large to operate as a democracy.  Its public servants will often simply not respond to the public.  The powerful organization Judicial Watch serves as an example, for it must battle tooth and nail to obtain Freedom of Information documents from the Obama administration.  Now, how can a simple publisher like me expect to obtain a response?  

No comments: