A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone 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, August 14, 2018

Chronicle Vitae--David Gooblar

Fear not, oh academics!  The following essay will be fully ignored/rejected by your ivory tower.  The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed despise alt-opinions and vigorous debate, cornerstone of a thriving democracy.  They push career, not rude-truth telling.  They will publish plenty of vacuous articles like “How to Prepare for Class without Overpreparing” (Prof. James Lang) and “Why I’m Easy:  I’m Giving Lot’s of A’s” (Prof. Gary Laderman).  “5 Tips on Surviving Your First Year as a Department Head” is another such article (Profs. Rob Kramer and Peter J. Mucha).  “Chairs are notoriously stuck in the middle, serving everyone in all directions,” argue the two authors.  Well, intellectually-corrupt chairs—and there are plenty of them—do NOT serve rare professors who possess the courage to call them out and risk career in doing so.  Rather than five superficial tips, I’d suggest one tip for all academics placing career far above truth telling like the large majority of chairs:  fortify your modus operandi of turning a blind eye, backslapping, and self-congratulating.  That indeed might even help you get into a deanship.  The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed have been rejecting my alt-opinion essays for years now.  Below is one I recently wrote and submitted to the former.  The response from the faceless (nameless) editors was identical to the last response received (hyper-polite and hyper-vacuous—higher ed in a nutshell):  

Dear Dr. Slone,
Thank you for sending us this essay. Several of us have read it, and we regret to say that we are unable to publish it. Because we receive dozens of manuscripts each week on all sorts of topics, we have to make some tough choices. And, unfortunately, that large number also precludes us from responding to each in depth, but we very much appreciate your thinking of The Chronicle.

The Editors

Truth or Career? How to Teach Literacy in an Era of Academic Marxist-Ideology
[The fundamental question confronting every academic is truth or career—open heresy or turning a blind eye.  Choose the latter and get tenure; choose the former and get intellectual integrity.  Sadly, in most cases (99%), one cannot choose both.] 
Rhetoric can be a synonym for bullshit… and there is a ton of that in the ranks of academics, whose very careers depend on producing it ad nauseam.  “Information literacy” is another instance of academic rhetoric.  In his Chronicle Vitae (Chronicle of Higher Education) column, “How to Teach Literacy in an Era of Lies,” David Gooblar defines the curious concept as “the capacity to understand, assess, evaluate, and apply information to solve problems or answer questions.”
The essay title—ideology always manages to seep out of the cracks of faux-objectivity—seems to imply that somehow the “Era of Lies” began with Trump, despite the numerous proven lies of Hillary and Obama.  Gooblar argues “To succeed in college and in life afterward, students need to be able to tell a truth from a falsehood. And clearly, that is not as easy as it seems.”  Yet in today’s PC-controlled ivory tower, to succeed in college perhaps really means to open wide and swallow the plethora of PC-information dished out by ideologically-bound professors, not in the least bit interested in truth and reason, let alone freedom of speech and vigorous debate, democracy’s cornerstones.  Truth demands courage.  Academics are not known for courage.  
The likely reality in academe of ideology over truth tends to control not only students, but also professors, especially those seeking tenure.  Gooblar suggests, “Start by talking with some experts. Librarians on your campus have been thinking about these issues for a long time, and many now regularly collaborate with faculty members to teach research skills to students.”  And yet if Gooblar had any real experience with librarians—testing the waters of their fiefdoms—, he’d know they served as gatekeepers of information, which means they might eliminate (or block) from their shelves information they do not like… on ideological grounds.  Try finding a book or periodical critical of librarians and the American Library Association on library shelves!  The American Dissident contains such criticism in each and every issue, and not one library in Idaho will subscribe!  
With that regard, read my dialogue de sourds with James LaRue, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, “Notes on the Office for Intellectual Constraint.”  In it, LaRue rationalizes librarian censorship and banning.  Would Gooblar expose his University of Iowa students to it?  Would he even respond to this counter essay?  [He did not respond!]  Perhaps it would help open student eyes a bit… to information literacy.  After all, how to trust those who seek to censor truths they do not like with helping to determine what is truth and what is not?  In fact, how to trust the Chronicle itself, which would likely never publish this counter-essay?  [It did not publish it!]  And would Gooblar even use it in his classes?  [Certainly not!]  Over the decades, I have grown to know quite well the academic beast.  How to trust cultural Marxist professors with teaching students “information literacy”?  What was info lit like under Stalin’s or Castro’s grip?  What would it be like in Gender or Multiculti Studies classes?  How would those professors “guide students in handling information wisely”? 
Critical thinking in the Humanities is essentially dead.  Reason is dead.  What is alive in the Humanities is loud bellowing:  “RACIST!  RACIST!  RACIST! NAZI! NAZI! NAZI!”  Ideology is alive and kicking!  That is the real information literacy in academe today.  However, Gooblar argues, “But learning how to find accurate information, and how to sort out what’s true from what’s false, is integral to most courses and most course assignments.”  So, in what courses is it not integral?  Gender studies?  Well, he dares not mention.  
Gooblar does make a good point:  “It’s more important for students to be able to evaluate claims than sources, per se.”  However, what if students do not have access to all sources, thanks to their gatekeeper librarians?  Gooblar favors so-called “professional fact-checkers,” but fails to mention how a number of them have been outed for being ideologically-restricted and thus making false conclusions.  Indeed, how might ideology affect fact checking?   Google Scholar is mentioned, but not the fact that Google has been involved in censoring, shadow banning, and firing those who disagree with its ideology. 
“Information literacy thus moves beyond determining what is true and what is false to an investigation into why we are so easily fooled, and why we so easily fool ourselves,” argues Gooblar.    And yet the answer, once again, is quite evident and does not need a plethora of scholarly research papers and op-eds to find it.  Ideology is the enemy of reason and truth.  That is the answer.  Google, Facebook, and YouTube are enemies of reason and truth, though friends of PC-ideology.    
Gooblar concludes, “How can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if they cannot tell what’s true from what’s false?”  But I’d argue, how can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if their professors (and well-indoctrinated peers) are constantly pressuring them to echo multiculti-diversity party-line dogma?  

Finally, if one does not actively test the waters of democracy, one will never know just how murky they are.  Clearly, Gooblar has never tested them in academe.  To do so would be highly destructive to his career and pension benefits.  In fact, can Gooblar even profess to be information literate, regarding things academic?  Can he even possess the requisite information literacy to process this essay, which questions and challenges his very modus operandi?  Moreover, I am not convinced that critical thinking or so-called “information literacy” can even be taught.  During my years as a university student, I don’t remember having been taught such things.  I learned them on my own.  I learned them by actually testing the waters of democracy on my own—and risking career.  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Bards of a Feather Flock Together… 
At the Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown
[This essay, as well as a few satirical cartoons, was sent to FAWC staff and a handful of workshop poet instructors.  Nobody responded.  It was sent to Provincetown Arts and Cape Cod Poetry Review.  Nobody responded.  A vastly truncated version was also sent to the Provincetown BannerIt was not published, despite Assoc. Ed. Edward Miller's BS:  "We are interested in your opinions."]  
Cape Cod, where I’ve been living for eight years, hates criticism of art and poetry.  For its art curators, poetry editors, writing professors, art-center executive directors, and cultural-council apparatchiks, criticism simply doesn’t exist.  If you stand up to criticize what needs to be criticized, as I have done, then you simply don’t exist.  If you never test the waters of democracy, then you will never know just how murky they are.  

In poetry, vigorous debate is dead. Ideology has coopted poetry (and art).  Inevitably, ideology runs counter to reason and truth.  Poets (and artists) ought to be staunch individuals with the courage to stand alone and speak truth to power (i.e., ideology) and not reside in groupthink ideological clusters.  Poets must put reason and truth first, even at the expense of money, prizes, recognition, tenure, and especially cherished ideology. 

“Generative” seems to have become the poetry workshop monkey-see, monkey-do term of the day.  Perhaps, I thought, the Urban Dictionary might have a special PC-meaning for it, but, well, it doesn’t.  So, “generative” means what it’s always meant:  producing and reproducing… ad infinitum and sometimes ad nauseam.  Regarding her workshop, Solmaz Sharif, for example, writes:  “leave with a ton of ways to generate poems.”  Patricia Spears Jones notes, regarding hers: “this workshop is designed […] to help to generate new work.”  The copycat examples abound in the Fine Arts Work Center catalogue:  “this class will utilize daily generative writing exercises” (Craig Morgan Teicher), “both generative and a workshop” (Brenda Shaughnessy), “workshop focused and generative” (Jennifer Tseng), “this generative workshop invites participants to write new poems” (Major Jackson), “once a poet locates an approach that makes quick work of the generative process” (Marcus Wicker), and “Revising & Generating: A Poetry Workshop” (Martha Rhodes).  When paid poets spend too much time with other paid poets, they inevitably end up producing generative BS.  

Grocery stores often stock tourist pamphlets, brochures, free newspapers, and other chamber-of-commerce-friendly innocuity in their entranceways next to their weekly ads, bottle-return machines, and garbage buckets.  Thus, I picked up the 73-page glossily-expensive “Creativity [i.e., Generativity] Thrives Here” catalogue from one of them, thinking I’d likely come up with a couple of critical cartoon ideas from it.  And sure enough, I did, though there was more in it with that regard than I ever could have expected.  In fact, the catalogue seemed to incarnate the mind-numbing world of poetry workshops, which serve, more than anything else, to propagate the recognition status of workshop poet-instructors, to “generate” more money for them, and especially to “generate” more reams of vacuous, establishment and ideology-friendly verse.  

How to make great brouhaha out of great nothingness?  Poetry was once a solitary activity.  Now, it’s become pervaded by groupthink groups and groupies, lack-of-originality hip-hop jazz poesy readings, poetry tourists, and increasing pervasive self-congratulating and backslapping ad nauseam.  “Fine Arts Work Center Writing Fellows have won virtually every major literary prize awarded in the United States,” boasts the staff (Executive Director Michael Roberts, Writing Coordinator Sophia Starmack, Online Writing Coordinator Jill McDonough, Marketing and Communications Director Cary Raymond, Associate Director Bette Warner et al).  Throughout the catalogue, the boasting (i.e., backslapping and self-congratulating) is echoed over and again.  “This extraordinary group of poets and writers will be celebrated throughout 2018 in a series of readings and conversations in and around Provincetown.”  “The caliber of our Summer Workshops faculty is unparalleled.  Nightly readings and artist talks offer students a rare opportunity to learn from and interact with faculty at the highest levels of their disciplines.”  “Work Center fellows have gone on to number among the most accomplished artists and writers working today, winning MacArthurs, Whitings, Pollock-Krasners, Tiffanys, Prix de Romes, Guggenheims, National Book Awards, and eight Pulitzer Prizes.”  

But what does “accomplished” really mean in the realm of poetry, if not 100% coopted by the academic/literary establishment?  The true purpose of FAWC is exposed in the last sentence of its own introduction:  “Our programming also offers 100 public events, bringing 10,000 annual visitors to Provincetown…”  Tourism!  Money!  Tourism!  Money!  Those visitors will pour money into the restaurants, motels, and souvenir shops.  The entire June 10th to August 24th FAWC workshop event really does incarnate the business of poetry and art:  the selling of accommodations ($800/six nights), books, artwork, tickets to see singing poets, etc., as well as the very selling out of renowned poets and artists.  

Immediately after the introduction page, a handful of pages are devoted to FAWC’s other purpose, which is really the same purpose:  money.  “Our 50th Anniversary Campaign 1968-2018:  The Goal—Raise $5 Million.”  And of course the wealthier FAWC becomes, the more it will reward unquestioning and unchallenging poets and artists, who toe the line of inoffensiveness, with fellowship grants. 

Somehow, prizes and popularity seem to cast a faux-air of objective determination of brilliance upon certain poets.  But poetry, like art, is entirely subjective, no matter how much the machine wants us to think its objective.  Might any of the poet and artist FAWC “faculty” possess the capacity to even contemplate when poetry and art become tourist attractions, they’ve inevitably become castrated or coopted?  And for that to occur, something intrinsically wrong must occur in the very heart of poetry and art.  In reality, FAWC’s “renowned faculty” of poets and artists have been well-trained like donkeys.  Hold a carrot (i.e., money, fellowships, tenure, prizes, renown et al) in front of their snouts and they’ll move toward the carrot in an innocuous waddle.  

Of the numerous (I avoid the term “diverse”) workshops offered in the catalogue, many, if not most, are in poetry, each lasting six days and costing $600 to $725 to attend (There are also a number of online workshops offered lasting up to two months.).  Now, what kind of poet is going to spend that kind of money to attend a poetry workshop?  Well, a trained poet will do that because he or she feels the need for more training.  He or she also wants to rub elbows with renowned workshop poets and make connections, which will hopefully lead to increased recognition and even prizes.  Perhaps also he or she is being supported by grants of public or university money, so it’s not coming out of his or her own pocket.  And, after all, isn’t “recognition” the goal of the poet today?  It certainly isn’t rude-truth telling, as in “go upright and vital and speak the rude truth in all ways” (Emerson).  Indeed, you ain’t gonna find that at the FAWC, nor are you going to find poets apt to go against the grain of the poetry machine, as in “let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine” (Thoreau).  

But, of course, you’ll find plenty of ideologically-correct (i.e., PC) variety poets and artists, especially during FAWC’s “Social Justice Week” of “Writers & Artists as Activists,” or rather as Blind-Ideologues of Democrat-Party-line propaganda.  So, poets, who don’t share the party-line views on global warming (uh, climate change), open borders, gun control, #me too, BLM, anti-white racism (i.e., white privilege), islamophobia, hate speech, and so on, will have to adorn an additional muzzle, that is, if they wish to keep their recognition status and teach future poetry workshops at FAWC. 

“Writing the Forbidden: A Poetry Workshop” seemed to take the prize, amongst all the workshops, for contradictory absurdity.  After all, the rude truth regarding “writing the forbidden,” as in this very essay, would be forbidden at FAWC.  Earlier this year, I had already written the forbidden regarding Provincetown Arts magazine and received this memorable response from its brilliant editor, Christopher Busa:  

Silly Slone, I was trained in literary studies during a decade in graduate school with some of the foremost critics of the time. Your idea of criticism, from the shrillness of your rants, excludes any sense of illumination. Please do not contact me again.

And when I wrote back regarding that comment, Busa continued with his, uh, “rant.”

Clearly, your eyes are too clouded to read excellent writing, let alone understand. You are a silly pest that sucks blood from living things. 

And so, what was the monstrously horrible thought crime that merited such a response from the high-and-mightily educated Busa?  Well, below is the email I’d sent.   

To Christopher Busa, Founder and Editor, Provincetown Arts, “An annual magazine devoted to art, writing & theater since 1985”:  
Might I humbly suggest that you insert the word “establishment” in front of the word “art” in your subtitle?  After all, should not art and writing be concerned with rude truth?  
I attach a challenging aquarelle because it stands at the crux, at your very problematic crux.  Examine it, that is, if you still have an iota of curiosity regarding things exterior to your art-establishment safe space.   Why will nobody publish it?  Is that a problem?  Yes!  It is a problem.  It is at the very crux of the art problem… to the extent that any artist even capable of contemplating it will likely experience problems in the world of the art establishment, your world.  I also attach the old aquarelle I did with you standing in the background.  
“Go away troll,” had written one of your poesy-establishment cover girls, Eileen Myles.  And indeed that seems to be the extent of permissible debate in the establishment world of poesy and art today.  Rude truth is not permitted in such safe spaces!  Only ideological echoing is permitted.  The crux!  Think!  Now, why not one little page in your journal devoted to criticism of you and your journal?  Pipe dream?  You bet!  The crux!  Think!

The two aquarelle (and a cartoon on Myles) can viewed on the American Dissident blogsite (http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2018/05/sebastian-smee.html, http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2016/08/eileen-myles.html, and http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2018/07/kevin-howard.html).  I also posted the cartoon I sketched on Busa after receiving his response of raving indignity (see http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2018/07/christopher-busa.html).  

Criticize the establishment and it usually goes whacko… or more often reacts as if you didn’t even exist (i.e., deafening silence, though with eternal ostracizing).  

Well, I do not digress because Busa is likely as tightly linked with FAWC as he is with the Chamber of Commerce and its diverse cultural councils and art centers.  One must wonder if any real dissident poets or artists even exist in the tightly-bound Provincetown community.  And what happens when “dissidents” become the establishment?  Well, clearly they were never really “dissidents” to begin with.  Think of Ai Weiwei, darling of the art establishment today and FAWC “special guest.”  

Anyhow, “award-winning poet” Jennifer Tseng, the instructor and creator of the “Writing the Forbidden” workshop, declares in a not very forbidden statement, “What’s forbidden to one writer may not be forbidden to another.”  She then puts forth the supposed taboo-breaking purpose of the workshop:  “Whatever your forbidden territory is, visit it with curiosity and attention.  We proceed as risk-takers together.”  It would be quite surprising, of course, if Tseng and her adult poet students could even fathom the real great taboo, let alone risk breaking it:  thou shalt not question and challenge the academic/literary establishment, including its icons, literary prizes, awards, judges, cultural apparatchiks, and various organizations like FAWC itself.  After all, doing so, might really entail risk, that is, risk of no more paid FAWC workshops, of career destruction, of diminution of recognition and eternal exclusion.  And so, I sketched my first cartoon from the catalogue on Tseng.  Does that mean I’m racist or misoginist and not a worshipper of identity politics?  Perhaps.  And, if so, I don’t give a damn.  My purpose is truth, not recognition, not obtaining a prize, award, fellowship, grant or workshop to teach, and especially not obtaining PC-certification.  Truth.  Nothing but the truth.  And for that, you shall never hear or read of my existence in Provincetown Arts or Poetry magazine.  

Now, Tseng might very well be a nice person.  But how can a dissident poet like me not call her out for helping the establishment give the false impression that it is somehow open to criticism and risk-taking poets who really dare go against its grain?  Yes, for the truth, I have sacrificed teaching jobs, publication possibilities, invitations, and grants, as well as the very right to enter my neighborhood library.  Indeed, my very civil rights are being denied today because I am not permitted to attend any cultural or political events held there, thanks to the permanent trespass decree issued by Sturgis Library director Lucy Loomis (see theamericandissident.org/orgs/sturgis_library.html).  Might any of the renowned FAWC poets give a damn about that?  Of course not!  Perhaps Tseng might wish to consider working for Xi Jinping as a propagandist.  Well, she’s already working for Michael Roberts.  

One thing these poet characters seem to have in common is their worship of the poetry prizes.  Don’t-Bite-the-Hand-That-Feeds Poet Cornelius Eady—NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, Lamont Prize and Pulitzer nominee—boasts, for example, “I read a lot—manuscripts I’ve read for contests have turned into Nat’l Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners.”  He and his ilk seem entirely incapable of questioning and challenging the prizes (e.g., who are the judges? what are their ideological and stylistic prejudices?) or perceiving their precise role in the cooptation (i.e., castration) of poetry.  A poet who is fed by the establishment like Eady is a poet of the establishment.  
FAWC poets are clearly lost in verbosity, which can only create superfluity and general lack of originality.  What to think of poet assistant professor of Creative Writing (Kansas State University), NEA Fellow et al Traci Brimhall’s statement:  “We will focus on how to create a balance of tension in poems between clarity and wilderness, narrative and music, emotion and intellect.  Using models and exercises, we will generate [oh, yeah, generate!] new work that tries to balance our inherent strengths by employing vocabulary, syntax, and tonal choices we normally shy away from.  Sign up for a tune up.”  Mind-numbing!  Anything but rude truth!  The poetess as filler of reams and reams…
The brouhaha in the catalogue is deafening… and utterly dumbing.  “Artist as Activist: Ai Weiwei.”  Oh, yeah, but Weiwei is certainly not an activist against the bourgeois art and poetry scene that’s been feeding him royally or rather as royalty.  “Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project.”  Yes, imagine the poems that tenured-academic, government-anointed poet laureate Pinsky would choose.  
(see wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2010/06/common-citizens-plea-for-justice-equity.html).  Or how about tenured academic Fred Marchant, who has kept the doors of his Suffolk University Poetry Center  hermetically closed to the poets published in The American Dissident (see 
http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2012/05/fred-marchant.html)?  Yes, his poetry workshop, “Writing the Water Songs,” will surely make waves in the poetry establishment.  Oh, yeah.  It’s enough to make a thinking, unattached poet puke.  Or how about “we will have a good time” workshop poet Eileen Myles, who dismissed me as a “troll” because I dared criticize her identity-politics inanity.  Her “Basic Tools:  A Poetry Workshop” will surely highlight how safe-space cocooned poets like her cannot bare to be criticized.  

The descriptions of the workshops not only echo tedious repetition, but also absurdity and silliness:  “Keep Your Foot on the Sustain Pedal:  Writing Long Poems” (Ed Skoog); “Delightful Duos:  Collaborating Poets” (Laura Madeline Wiseman) [How not to think of the French collabos during WWII!]; “The Poet as Spy:  4 Tricks from Espionage” (Jillian Weise); “Anthro-Poetics: Living, Seeing, and Wonder” (Nomi Stone); “I Am Trying to Be Marvelous:  The Poetics of Body Positivity” (Emilia Phillips); and “Griffins, Harpies, and Jackalopes:  Hybrid Poetics” (Sarah Rose Nordgren).  Why are these superfluous workshops even created?  To fill available space at FAWC?  Ross Gay describes his exciting workshop:  “In this generative workshop, we will stoke our imaginations by (often collaboratively) writing and performing mini operas, puppet plays, poem-type things, making books, studying flowers, and making a way together.”  And shouldn’t poets expect more from FAWC Board of Trustees workshop instructor and poet laureate of New York, Sarah Lawrence College professor Marie Howe, who begins the description “Intention & Discovery:  Form as Portal, Form as Path” with “This workshop is primarily generative”?  For poets of the machine, forme always takes precedent over fond (substance).  In fact, for many of them, poetry does not even need fond.  

Why is criticism of the poetry machine conspicuously absent as a workshop possibility?  Surely, it would provoke ample discussion and even thought amongst the poets.  “Against the Machine:  An Unusual Poetry Workshop.”  In this workshop, poets will not be encouraged to generate or fill reams and reams of paper with vapid theme-based verse.  Instead, they will focus on questioning and challenging all things poetry, including FAWC itself, poetry prizes, fellowships, other monetary lures, and what it really means to be a recognized poet.  They will be encouraged, by the instructor, to question and challenge the instructor himself.  Pipe dream?  You bet!

Money serves to tame poets and artists.  “The ambitious goal will grow our $1.5 million endowment by $3.5 million which will underwrite our residency program and provide additional resources to bring senior and mid-career artists and writers to Provincetown, offering our Fellows essential mentorship,” notes FAWC.  So much money will surely serve to further muzzle and fully control poetry by enhancing the already insurmountable propaganda machine led by Poetry Foundation’s $200 million endowment, managed by investment bankers of course.  

“Fellows are accepted entirely on the excellence of work submitted,” notes FAWC.  But who determines what “excellence” constitutes?  Can criticism of the bourgeois writing industry ever be considered “excellence”?  Of course not!  FAWC then quotes one of its obedient backslapping Writing Fellows, Ann Patchett, who seems to incarnate the vacuity of bourgeois writers of the writing industry:   “It is quite easy to bet on a horse that you know has already won.  What the Fine Arts Work Center does is it bets on the horses that haven’t run yet.  And to give the gift to people who need it, in order to save their lives, is the difference between handling someone a laurel and handing someone a lifetime.”  Patchett, the horse, argues in The Guardian, “If writers are to survive we must take responsibility for ourselves and our industry.”  When poetry becomes an industry as it already has, then poetry is dead.  Finally, one might wish to contemplate the likelihood that no “great” poet of the past ever took a course in poetry, let alone a poetry workshop.  But that very thought ineluctably runs counter to the industry grain.  For those who I did not mention in this essay, please forgive me.  There are just far too many of you carrot-chasing poet donkeys to critique in one essay.  Opening the hermetically-sealed doors to a wee bit of criticism might provoke a wee bit of unusual debate, open the scope of acceptable poetry, and even get workshop poets to perhaps seek a wee bit of originality, as opposed to copycat generative BS.  Poet Charles Bukowski provides some rare words of poet wisdom:  “A writer is going to get resistance to his work always unless he feeds the mass mind the pap they [sic] want.  The only thing you can do is write the way you want to write and to hell with everything else.  It’s better to fail your way than succeed their way.  […] If you fail to make anybody hate you, then you haven’t done your job.”  Well, then I guess I sure as hell have at least done my job…

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Don Share

Editorial - Issue #35

The Silence…
Of the Poets, Professors, and Free-Speech Advocates

 What you find is that there’s never just one cockroach in the kitchen.
—Warren Buffet

The SILENCE is deafening. The SILENCE is foretelling. The SILENCE is Orwellian. Poetry Foundation and its Poetry magazine are highlighted on this issue’s front cover.  Send a critique, as I’ve done, to its editor, Don Share… and SILENCE. Ask the Foundation, as I’ve done, why it refuses to list The American Dissident with the other poetry magazines listed… and SILENCE. The SILENCE is incarnate in “post-truth,” word of the year for Oxford Dictionary. Dolores Granger brought that to my attention, while a Wall Street Journal editorial had brought it to hers, noting the term indicates “a time in which truth becomes unimportant or irrelevant.” And that of course explains… the SILENCE.  Post-truthers hate truth.  Ideology hates truth. 
    Interesting things, perhaps even unimaginable ones, can occur when one openly criticizes the feeding apparatus of a post-truther and tests the waters of democracy. Imagine, for example, that Quillette, a conservative magazine, banned me from its “free-speech platform”! (See cartoon on page 5.) Perhaps it should be the poet’s prime job to speak the rude truth that will shake and break the fragile backbones and egos of editors, poets, professors, cultural-council apparatchiks, and journalists. If one pushes an ideology, which inevitably conflicts with truth, the best response to such truth is always… SILENCE.  
     Still it is perhaps surprising that so few intellectuals, even purported free-speech proponents, will respond to uncomfortable criticism.  National Coalition Against Censorship is a pitiful example, refusing to address criticism. Why?  Does its SILENCE indicate the criticism to be on target… or the critic to be a mere plebe and thus unworthy of response… or perhaps both? Recall the Charlie Hebdo massacre over three years ago.  Today, that liberal magazine is located in a secret “bunker.” One to two million dollars per year is spent on security, which the magazine, not the government, has to pay. Seven Hebdo journalists died, while others were wounded… by Muslim assassins. And what about the Pulse Nightclub massacre by a Muslim extremist in Florida and the Muslim would-be butchers at the Garland, TX Draw Muhammad contest? But for the ideologues at NCAC, Islam somehow is not a threat to free speech. One journalist, Fabrice Nicolino, wounded at the Hebdo massacre, recently said, “Chez moi, où je suis connu, des voisins d’extrême gauche ne veulent plus me dire bonjour, car ils ne sont surtout pas Charlie.” (Where I live, where I’m known, my extreme leftist neighbors will no longer say hello to me.)  Why not?  Well, because Hebdo criticized Muslims… just like it did everyone else.   
      Inside Higher Ed is yet another sad example (see last issue’s front cover). I’ve questioned its editors on a number of occasions. Their response? SILENCE! Poets & Writers magazine is equally pitiful. I dared criticize its front-page story, “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World.” Was it a farce? Well, if you know poets, you know damn well it wasn’t. So, I wrote an essay (see p27) and sketched cartoons for six of those world-changing bards and sent them to the editors, the 10 poets, and even some of the latter’s academic colleagues.  SILENCE!  
    Most recently, I wrote a counter-essay regarding a piece published by a Bridgewater State University professor in Bridgewater Review and sent it to the editors, the author, and even the student journalists of the university newspaper, The Comment. SILENCE! Then I drew a cartoon on some of the characters, including the university president and shot it out to the targets.  SILENCE! The literary letters section at the end of this issue includes other instances of SILENCE, as modus operandi of those who hate free debate…   
n another note, George Carlin once said, “Government wants to control information and control language because that's the way you control thought, and basically that's the game they're in.” With that regard, poets, writers, editors and journalists, who quote someone who said SHIT-HOLE, should write SHIT-HOLE, not s-hole. The same goes for NIGGER and any of the other vocabulary on the forbidden list from BITCH to SPIC to CRACKER. And why isn’t NAZI on that list?  Isn’t it highly insulting to call any white person, who disagrees with PC-Antifa, a Nazi? Writing the n-word or b-word does not automatically give someone the moral high-ground. Instead, it gives a person the low-ground of a common self-censoring conformist. Saul Alinsky perhaps was on target: “He who controls the language controls the masses.” Do you want to be part of the masses or a staunch individual? Clearly, an army of Alinsky acolytes have been toiling away at controlling the language in the universities. When one writes s-hole or n-word, then clearly one is being controlled and needs to contemplate those who seek to control and pressure.  Faceless bureaucrats! Faceless academics! Faceless SJWs! Well, I for one will fight against control by them. And if that means they’ll call me a racist, islamophobe, homophobe, or sexist, so what!!! My ma taught me, sticks and stones…  What the hell are the mothers teaching their kids today?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gregory Pardlo

The following cartoon was sketched in 2015 regarding the egregious subjectivity of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, where identity politics, pc, careerist ladder climbing, networking et al always trump rare, critical rude-truth telling.

Paul Muldoon

Below is a cartoon I sketched in 2003, over 15 years ago.  I post it now because I am once again contemplating the pitiful, blind, coopted and castrated, open-wide-and-swallow poets of the establishment.  In fact, I am trying unsuccessfully to locate the Pulitzer judges for the poetry prize for 2018 in an effort to out their likely egregious bias.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

George Yancy

The following counter-essay was sent to the Chronicle of Higher Education.  It did not respond.  It was also sent to the student editors of The Emory Wheel.  They did not respond.  George Yancy, however, did respond... or sort of.  The counter-essay is posted here.  After all, who else would publish it?  The Washington Post?  The Washington Examiner?  The New York Times?  No way, Jose!  

The Ugly Truth of Being a White Professor in America… Who Dares Exercise Free Speech
Well, I was going to title this essay, “A Simple Solution for Professor George Yancy:  If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get out of the Limelight,” but decided instead to paraphrase Yancy’s latest contribution to the great racial divide, “The Ugly Truth of Being a Black Professor in America,” published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.    
Because I disobeyed a direct order from my bosses at American Public University to cease responding to criticism lodged against me, I was fired, uh “separated from the university.”  That was my last job in higher education.  In fact, for openly expressing my opinions, I was essentially fired from most of my other professorial jobs, including at Elmira College, Fitchburg State University, Davenport University, Bennett College, and Grambling State University.  Document accounts regarding each of them are published on The American Dissident website.  
I am white.  I never got tenure.  Generally, I have to self-publish my essays because I place truth above pc-compliance.  Yancy is black.  He got tenure, a lucrative sinecure at Emory University.  He gets to publish his essays in the New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education.  Editors in general do not possess a sufficient appreciation for vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, to publish essays like mine.  Will the new Emory University student editors, Michelle Lou and Richard Chess, fall in that line?  Likely.  My experience indicates that most student editors do fall in that sad line.  But there’s always hope… or so they say.  
Professor Yancy incarnates today’s pc-culture of stereotypes and double standards, where the main issue tends to be racism, racism everywhere.  And indeed his latest essay is the same unoriginal racism, racism everywhere.  In it, he lists a litany of racist insults he received.  And, of course, I do not deny that he received them, nor do I excuse them.  After all, I am against the use of ad hominem, a puerile and intellectually-lazy substitute for reasoned counter-argumentation.   Calling whites racist is ad hominem.  
Sadly, Yancy is stuck, fully entrenched, in the past.  After all, he seems to make his living out of that entrenchment.  He writes that “Years ago, Malcolm X asked, ‘What does a white man call a black man with a Ph.D.?’ He answered: ‘A nigger with a Ph.D.’”  Racist stereotype!  Need I write that again for the ignorant with PhDs in pc-culture?  Racist stereotype!  All white men do NOT call all black men with PhDs, “niggers with PhDs.”  Yancy’s stereotyping of whites is insulting and downright racist.  And yet the editors of the Chronicle of Higher Education and New York Times are quite content to push that insulting anti-white racist narrative.  Why?  Readership?  Indoctrination?  
The litany of insults, including “dear nigger professor,” stems from Yancy’s op-eds.  But why does Yancy choose to ignore the points made by those like me, who did not employ ad hominem insults, but rather point-by-point counter-argumentation?  Why did Yancy choose not to respond to my email correspondence, satirical cartoon, and counter critiques:  “Blancophobia: A Case Study” and “The White Bad/Black Good Derangement Syndrome”?  Will he respond to this critique, which I shall also send to him and the student editors of The Emory Wheel?  Why do academics like him seem to abhor and reject vigorous debate?  Rarely do I ever receive a response from an academic whom I’ve criticized.  And I’ve criticized so many of them over the past several decades.  When I do receive a rare response, it tends to be fully aberrant in nature, completely avoiding the points I made, like the one recently received from Poet/Professor Dan Chiasson of Wellesley College and New Yorker contributor.  

In the interest of transparency I will also now forward to The Wellesley News, and to The College Police, the borderline harassing note you sent to me yesterday, and copies of the racist cartoons you attached. Please cease and desist contact with me and everyone associated with the College.

What was my crime?  Well, I’d sent Chiasson three cartoons critical of the New Yorker, as well as an essay critical of his poet colleague Frank Bidart.  In fact, not one English professor at Wellesley College deigned to respond to that essay.  My “borderline harassing note,” whatever the hell that means, can be examined on the three-cartoon link.  Well, I digress… or maybe not.  
Professor Yancy needs to open his eyes.  He writes that after the publication of his New York Times op-ed, “Dear White America,” that “I needed police presence at my invited talks at other universities. It all felt surreal—and dangerous.”  But what about white conservatives like Coulter, Yiannopoulis, Shapiro, Murray, and others who needed police presence before he needed it?  Did he give a damn about that?  Not in the least!  He notes that “Some of my students of color have asked me, ‘Why talk about race with white people when at the end of the day everything remains the same—that is, their racism continues?’”  
What the professor fails to do, however, is evoke the existence of continued and encouraged black racism against whites.  For him and likely for those pc-brainwashed black students, such a thing does not/cannot exist.  Uncomfortable facts like black on white racist crimes, black slaveholders, and black slave traders do not/cannot exist.  Educated professors ought to stick to the facts and decry stereotyping and double standards.  Instead, Yancy and far too many of them reject facts and espouse stereotyping and anything else that fits the woe-is-me black narrative.  Yancy needs to be exposed, not espoused.  
Surprisingly, the professor notes, “It is probably true that I would not have my job were it not for affirmative action.”  Sadly, he cannot really deal with the implications of that statement, instead arguing that Affirmative Action “is not anti-white, but pro-justice.”  And yet it has clearly become anti-white for whites rejected by colleges or employers because blacks have been accepted or hired, thanks to Affirmative Action.  It sadly also places a big question mark on every black person accepted or hired because of the color of his or her skin, quite anti-MLK indeed.  And it is not as simplistic as the professor imagines.  
Yancy is a racist stereotyper and needs to be outed in his privileged ranks.  Other professors need to stand up and decry his stereotyping.  Where are they?  Where are they?  Yancy states, “It is as if white people are driven by a colonial desire to possess everything. Du Bois asked, ‘But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?’ He answered, ‘Whiteness is the ownership of the earth forever and ever, Amen!’”  Well, I have no “colonial desire” whatsoever to “possess everything.”  What an absurd, if not infantile and simplistic thought!  Apparently, “whiteness,” for example, does not include the ownership of South Africa, where racist blacks are now the owners of that country and murderers of white farmers.  
Clearly, severe indoctrination is a solution to the racial divide, but is it really a solution?  White students must be indoctrinated early on in the pc-principles of privilege and colonialism.  But what about black students?  They are being indoctrinated to hate white students and to be victims.  That part of the indoctrination process will not work to solve the divide.  The other solution is currently being adopted in South Africa:  genocide and the absence of diversity (i.e., the creation of a black-only nation).   In other words, that solution is separate nations for separate races.  Again, the pc-diversity solution is really a non-solution because its result is racial division ad infinitum.  

Finally, a solution for Yancy’s feeling of being “traumatized” would be, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the limelight, and don’t keep putting yourself into it with op-eds.  Other blacks do not echo Yancy’s complaints because they have learned to build backbone and have become staunch individuals.  Yancy concludes his diatribe with the same evocation he’d made in his previous op-ed, regarding what he wished he had said to his students:  “Fuck it all! It is not worth it. White people will never value my humanity.  So, let’s end this class session on that.”  But will the black Yancys of America ever value my humanity?  Well, actually, I don’t give a damn if they will or won’t, nor do I give a damn if white professors ever will or won’t.  I give a damn about truth, freedom of speech, and vigorous debate, not pc-compliance…

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Jack Hirschman

This cartoon was sketched in 2006.

Christian Wiman

This cartoon was sketched in 2006.

Lin Lifshin


I sketched this cartoon in 2006.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

George Yancy

The White Bad/Black Good Derangement Syndrome
“Should I Give Up on White People?” is Professor George Yancy’s latest New York Times op-ed.  Just about everyday, the Times publishes at least one white bad/black good op-ed.  All the news that fits the narrative!  I’d written Yancy several years ago and sent the cartoon I’d sketched on him, as well as the  counter op-ed I’d written vis-a-vis his “Dear White America” op-ed also published in the Times (2015).  He, of course, did not/would not respond, nor would the Times.  
Yancy begins his article with complaints—“a wave of white hatred and dehumanization”—of being threatened and otherwise mistreated by mostly faceless internet anti-black racists, who of course exist… as do faceless internet anti-white racists.  Sadly, however, he does not recognize the latter.  He says he shared one critical letter he received with his grad students and ended up in tears and walked out of the class for a moment.  “Looking back, I wish that I had said: “To hell with it all! It is not worth it. Too many white people will never value my humanity. So many whites in America will never be honest about their hatred of black people.”  
Well, why should I value the humanity of a person who makes his living by constantly judging those like me on the color of our skin?   To paraphrase Yancy, so many blacks in America will never be honest about their hatred of white people.”  Now, how does that sound, Mr. Yancy?  And at least I have had some personal experience with that regard.  Three blacks attacked and robbed me in Baton Rouge, for example… and The Advocate would not even publish my account of that racist occurrence.  Thankfully, the black student editors at Grambling State University, where I was teaching at the time, were open-minded and thus willing to do so!  
Evidently, Yancy has benefitted partly thanks to his skin color.  He now has a hefty salary and lifetime job security as a tenured academic at Emory University.  As for me, I never did get tenure… because I chose and choose to speak rude truth even and especially when that perturbs academics like Yancy and especially their narrative.  I was fired from my last job in academe (American Public University) because I disobeyed my chairperson’s order to cease engaging in vigorous debate.  
Yancy notes when he came back to class his students “bore witness to my vulnerability, my suffering, the sting of unmitigated hatred. And they saw the impact in an otherwise safe academic space.”  What to say about that?  Well, if you can’t take the heat, then stay out of the limelight!  Don’t keep publishing anti-white stereotype articles in the Times!  Or accept that not everyone is going to love what you write.  
“I wanted to model for my students what it is like to be a contemporary philosopher who remains steadfast in the face of hatred,” declares Yancy in typical Yancy half-truth fashion.  For in reality, he reinforces that very hatred by joining in the PC-stereotyping of whites.  And yet, he seems to think he is some kind of modern-day Jesus: “I was pushed to rethink what I assumed was a mission of love, the kind of love that refuses to hide and requires profound forms of vulnerability.”  
Until Yancy embraces reality, he will remain just another tenured fraud.  If he is going to blather about white privilege, then he needs to examine poor white people w/o privilege and white farmers in South Africa and the realities of slavery, which the PC-crowd seek to coverup.  He needs to take a close look at black on white crime.  But of course he will not/cannot do that.  
“I am convinced that America suffers from a pervasively malignant and malicious systemic illness — white racism,” he declares.  Political correctness demands adherence to that conviction.  Truth, on the other hand, demands non-adherence to ideology.  PC demands turning a blind eye to Affirmative Action black privilege, the existence of wealthy blacks like Yancy himself, black race baiters like Sharpton and Jackson, who make a living off of that, and overt black racism (think of South Africa, Nation of Islam, BLM, etc.).  
“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster,” wrote James Baldwin.  Yes, Yancy actually quoted that line in his article, but is so blind that he cannot see his own eyes are amongst those shutting to reality.  Victimization always causes cecity!  
Yancy’s reasoning is simplistic—black and white without nuance—and certainly is surprisingly lacking for a grad school professor.  For Yancy, because whites sold slaves long ago, then all whites today are guilty and should be shamed if not punished.  Yet, blacks sold slaves to whites long ago in Africa.  Should not all blacks thus be shamed if not punished?  And what about Muslim slaveowners who exist today?  Should not all Muslims be shamed if not punished?  And what about Aztec ritual murder and Spanish slaughter of Mexican autochthones?  Should not all Mexicans be shamed if not punished?  Yancy is so simplistic in his thinking that these things—and many others, including the many black Americans who owned and traded slaves—are not to be evoked.  They are to be erased from history.  The narrative demands it!  

In conclusion, Yancy’s own anti-white racist stereotypes not only evoke but promote anti-black racist stereotypes.  With so many Yancys out there today, the racial divide will ever increase.  Yancy’s wo-is-me victim op-ed reminds of Hillary and Comey’s wo-is-me victim books, book tours, and book interviews.  It’s the sales, stupid!  In fact, Yancy is pushing his own wo-is-me victim book:  Backlash: What Happens When We Honestly Talk About Racism in America."  Honestly?  Bullshit!  Ideologically would be a hell of a lot more accurate!  And so I send this counter-essay to the Times, Yancy, his Philosophy Department colleagues, and Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lou, Executive Editor Richard Chess, and Editorial Page Editor Madeline Lutwyche of The Emory Wheel, the student newspaper.  If all of them are inline with groupthink requisites, then I shall hear nothing at all… or perhaps a little ad hominem.  Will the student editors possess the independence and courage to publish it?  And how about the Times?   Full disclosure:  I am not a Nazi.  I do not believe in socialism.  During my past career as gypsy college professor, I knew far too many Dr. PhDs in the Humanities to hold any respect at all for the title—I too hold a PhD.  Instead, my respect is held for the rare few staunch individuals on the left or right who not only brook, but encourage vigorous debate and freedom of speech…