Torn in Two
Firewalls that once strictly separated news from opinion have been replaced by hopelessly blurred lines. Once-forbidden practices such as editorializing within straight news reports, and the inclusion of opinions as if fact, are not only tolerated; they’re encouraged. […] I’m commonly asked, “Can ‘the news’ be fixed?” In simple terms, there are two components necessary to do so: We must correctly identify (and admit) our problem, and then take steps to correct it. We have yet, as an industry, to take step one.
Journalist ideologues do not like the First Amendment because it permits those outside of their ideological cocoon to openly question and challenge the absence of reason and fact normally inherent in ideology. Authoritarians hate the First Amendment because it permits criticism. The ploy of journalist ideologues now seems to be to dismiss free-speech activists as haters and white-nationalist racists. It is mind-boggling, childishly simplistic, and downright stupid to bellow HATE, HATE, HATE, though in a far too often successful effort to KILL DEBATE. Too much following! Too much groupthink! WANTED: Individual free-speech activists!!!
Fascists today in America seem content bellowing: Hate! Hate! HATE! Racist! Racist! RACIST! Islamophobe! Islamophobe! ISLAMOPHOBE! Nazi! Nazi! NAZI! Yet such ad hominem is not a counter-argument and contradicts democracy’s cornerstone, vigorous debate. Boston Globe Assoc. Editor and Columnist Renee Graham joyously and mind-bogglingly declares, in evident absolute lack of any semblance of journalistic objectivity, let alone integrity: “‘Free speech’ activists, greatly outnumbered, found no purchase here for their thinly-veiled hate.” The title of her essay, “Trump Is White Supremacists’ Leader,” might lead an individual thinker into arguing therefore “Obama Is Black Supremacists’ Leader.” But double standards prevail and annihilate such a logical counter-statement. On the nation’s college campuses, chanting choruses of children condemn free speech and vigorous debate.
We live in darker and darker times. “Liberalism is white supremacy!” bellowed BLM protesters at William & Mary College and prevented, via the heckler’s veto, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, from speaking. In other words, for those successful fascist protesters, freedom of speech, a core tenet of liberalism, must be eliminated. It has gotten to the point where one cannot express an alt-opinion without getting moderated (i.e., censored) into oblivion, as if one didn’t even exist. InsideHigherEd.com recently did that with several of my alt-opinions, which therefore inspired this issue’s front cover. For the censored alt-opinions, see wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2017/08/doug-lederman-and-scott-jaschik.html and wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2017/08/scott-jaschik-and-doug-lederman.html. Both IHE editors, Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, incarnate the shame of academe today. College president Patricia McGuire, also depicted on the cover, responded in full approval of the censorship of my response to her article, which I’d sent to her.
On another note, Poets & Writers magazine offers “Writing Prompts” in each issue. So, if you want a prompt for The AD, check out P&W’s website and write something critical, critical, critical on any of the amazingly inane featured articles, including “Writing Prompts” like the following:
Last month, Crayola announced the retirement of one of their yellow crayon colors, Dandelion, which will soon be replaced by a blue crayon. Since Binney & Smith first began producing Crayola crayons in 1903, many colors have been cycled in and out. Some colors have remained the same shade but changed names over the years, such as Peach, which was previously named Flesh Tint, Flesh, and Pink Beige. Read more about the history of Crayola crayon colors, and write a poem inspired by some of the names you find most evocative, perhaps finding thematic potential in how the types of names have evolved over the years.
Yes, let’s all write poems inspired by crayon colors! You cannot make this shit up, as the saying goes. Now, here’s an unabashedly racist, sexist and even ageist zine, though with the seal of approval of ideology (i.e., identity politics). And, of course, if you’ve been sufficiently brain-washed (i.e., multiculti/diversity-indoctrinated), you will be compelled to disagree with my observation.
Quillsedge Press is accepting submissions for our “50 over 50” anthology through September 22. Women poets over the age of 50 are eligible to submit. Translations welcome if the original poet is also a woman at least 50 years old. Discounted fees for women of color. For full guidelines, visit www.quillsedgepress.org.
Now, how about submissions from men over 50 and discounts for white men? Ideology with its inevitable double standards always trumps reason in our brave new world… Quillsedge ain’t the only anything-but-the-rude-truth mag out there. In fact, they all seem to be thus. Here’s a few of the more inane amongst them, as listed in Poets & Writers:
—Coffee Poetry Anthology edited by Lorraine Healy, published by World Enough Writers (imprint of Concrete Wolf). Send us poems that involve coffee in some fashion.
—We need poems, short fiction, and creative nonfiction to fill an upcoming anthology with the theme “Tattoos.” Sponsored by Main Street Rag Publishing Company.
—Common Ground Review is looking for wave-themed poetry for our 2018 Spring/Summer issue: New wave, sine waves, radio waves, tidal waves, hand waves, any wave function—surprise us!
Finally, since poets love to deify poetry and themselves, they ought to stand up—not in groupthink pussy-hatted clusters—but as individuals and speak truth to power, especially where it might actually be a wee bit risky for their lit careers. Think of Villon, who spoke truth to the ruling theocrats of Paris in the 1400s and ended up in a medieval hole in the ground (“En fosse giz, non pas soubz houz ne may”), then forever exiled. Poets who don’t want to make waves will come up with all kinds of lame excuses and seek to belittle the rare ones who do, as in sour grapes, tired trope, full of himself or whatever…