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

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dan Chiasson

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For the Record--Wellesley College
Interestingly, the following intellectual scuffle began when I read a Boston Globe hagiography on the new Pulitzer Prize winner, Professor Frank Bidart of Wellesley College. I'd sketched a cartoon on Bidart several years ago, so checked to see if I'd posted it online.  I had... and discovered Bidart had actually left a comment on it in 2013.  Thus, I wrote a criticism of him, including my comment on his comment, and sent it to the student newspaper, The Wellesley News.  No response.  Well, it didn't respond to the Hillary cartoon I'd sent about three years ago.  I also sent it to all of Bidart's English professor colleagues, which is how I "bumped into" Dan Chiasson.  

Poet/Critic/Professor Dan Chiasson is employed by the New Yorker and Wellesley College.  He alleges that my criticism constitutes a "BORDERLINE HARASSING NOTE" and the three cartoons (each pertaining to the New Yorker) I sent with it to be "RACIST."  The "note" appears immediately below.  Chiasson's rather mind-numbing comment follows, including his threat to inform Campus Police (oh, my!), and request that I cease trying to engage in vigorous debate, cornerstone of a thriving democracy.   My comment regarding his comment then appears.  (When someone asks me to SHUT UP, I generally ignore them!)  And finally the three cartoons appear.  
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Not one of Chiasson's English professor colleagues deigned to respond.  Vigorous debate is certainly not a cornerstone of the English Department!  

Finally, bellowing RACISM is an infantile tactic used to terminate debate.  Might it be surprising that a Harvard PhD like Chiasson employs that tactic?  Not really...
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From: George Slone
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:12 AM
To: dchiasso@wellesley.edu
Subject: Three criticisms of the New Yorker...

To Dan Chiasson, Poetry Professor, Wellesley College, Poet & Critic for the New Yorker:
Well, I sort of laughed when I saw “Poet and critic” highlighted on your Wellesley College Professor of English biography page.  After all, isn’t that an oxymoron of sorts, considering that in today’s academic/literary milieu, critic has come to mean anything but “rude truth”?   It’s the sales, stupid!  The sales of poetry books!  

Anyhow, perhaps I’ve jolted you a tad this morning in your world of backslapping and self-congratulating.  Ainsi soit-il.  In an effort to instigate a wee bit of vigorous debate, I attach three cartoon sketches I did regarding the New Yorker.  The first one was used for the front cover of one of my books.  Of course, those contacted at the New Yorker remained silent.  Silence, of course, tends to be the modus operandi of those working within the establishment when criticized from outside the establishment, although on rare occasions ad hominem might result.  

Finally, if you’d like to invite me to one of your classes to speak about The American Dissident and my experiences in the censoring, ostracizing, and banning world of poetry, I’d be most happy to jump into my car.  Just let me know.  Thank you for your attention.  

Sincerely,

G. Tod Slone, PhD (Université de Nantes, FR), aka P. Maudit

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From: Dan Chiasson
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:03 AM
To: George Slone
Cc: thewellesleynews@gmail.com; fbidart@wellesley.edu; kbrogan@wellesley.edu; wcain@wellesley.edu; mcezaire@wellesley.edu; pfisher@wellesley.edu; ogonzalez@wellesley.edu; ahickey@wellesley.edu; ylee@wellesley.edu; klynch@wellesley.edu; smeyer@wellesley.edu; jnoggle@wellesley.edu; tpeltaso@wellesley.edu; lrodensk@wellesley.edu; lrosenwald@wellesley.edu; msabin@wellesley.edu; vshetley@wellesley.edu; yko@wellesley.edu; msides@wellesley.edu
Subject: Re: Open Letter to Frank Bidart

Dear George Slone, 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. 

Dan Chiasson
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From: George Slone
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 6:35 PM
To: Dan Chiasson
Cc: thewellesleynews@gmail.com; fbidart@wellesley.edu; kbrogan@wellesley.edu; wcain@wellesley.edu; mcezaire@wellesley.edu; pfisher@wellesley.edu; ogonzalez@wellesley.edu; ahickey@wellesley.edu; ylee@wellesley.edu; klynch@wellesley.edu; smeyer@wellesley.edu; jnoggle@wellesley.edu; tpeltaso@wellesley.edu; lrodensk@wellesley.edu; lrosenwald@wellesley.edu; msabin@wellesley.edu; vshetley@wellesley.edu; yko@wellesley.edu; msides@wellesley.edu
Subject: Re: Open Letter to Frank Bidart

Dan Chiasson,
Thanks for your amazing response.  Now, you have me shaking in my boots regarding the College Police!  Will they drive down to the Cape, knock on my door, and put handcuffs on my wrists?  Well, nothing really surprises me these days, especially on the part of poets and professors.   Your email in itself is “harassing” in its evident effort to push in-lockstep fascist pc-groupthink and stifle my First Amendment rights to speak my mind, not your mind.  But, unlike you, I possess a solid backbone, so will not wear a muzzle, despite your request.  I would rather be banished to a left-wing Stalinist gulag, than be stifled by your ilk.  

BTW, “borderline harassing” is not illegal.  Do you even know what the legal definition of harassment is?  Allow me to help you (and your colleagues) with that.  For a person to be punished by law for harassment—he or she, black or white—, the harassment must be continual (not one time) to the point where one can prove one can no longer do one's job.  That is the legal definition, not the pc-definition.  AND normally, the harassment must be effected by a co-worker or boss, certainly not by someone from outside your ivory tower, who did not make threats of violence and cannot really effect the job performance of a “normal” or “average” professor at your institution.  

Racist cartoons?  Are you nuts?  Well, if you’re pc-indoctrinated, as I suspect you are, then yes, you must be.  Two of the three cartoons I sent to you depict your New Yorker colleagues.  In one of them, the colleagues in question are all white.  How was that possibly racist?   In the other one, they are black and slightly black.  In both, my criticism is equally harsh.  That in itself proves the absence of racism.  Think!  Think, if that is at all possible for you at this point in your game.  

Could you really see no reason at all in those cartoons?  Is it possible for someone with a PhD from Harvard not to see reason when it appears in CAPITAL LETTERS?  Well, you prove that it is.  With characters like you at the helm, it is no wonder the poetry establishment embraces censorship, ostracizing, and banning of rare poet apostates like me.  In-lockstep is your desire for the poetry community.  Methinks, no thanks!

Finally, what a great lesson this controversy would be for adult Wellesley College students to engage in.  Too bad, you and the others contacted will likely keep it from them.  Why?  Because it makes you and the others contacted look far less than the Dr. deities you like to parade around as.   Can you not even comprehend that your "cease and desist contact" request is simply a statement of rejection of vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy?  It is likely that your attitude mirrors that amongst the professorate of Wellesley College.  And that is truly sad for democracy... 

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Natasha Trethewey


Don Share

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EditThe 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…   
      On 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?
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The Following was sent to POETRY magazine et al.  
Response?  
ABSOLUT SILENCE!

From: George Slone
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018 9:37 AM
To: wbunn@coladv.com; scalderon@coladv.com; gcocking@coladv.com; cgillock@coladv.com; jguylay@coladv.com; info@poetryfoundation.org; natasha.trethewey@northwestern.edu; tapestryofvoices@yahoo.com; Doug holder; Rosalyn Becker; dsklar@endicott.edu; John Lauritsen; midcapecouncil2@gmail.com
Cc: chris.abani@northwestern.edu; amin.ahmad@northwestern.edu; e-biss@northwestern.edu; b-bouldrey@northwestern.edu; khbreen@northwestern.edu; j-bresland@northwestern.edu; meghan.costa@northwestern.edu; a-curdy@northwestern.edu; john-cutler@northwestern.edu; sarah.dimick@northwestern.edu; bedwards@northwestern.edu; rebecca-johnson-0@northwestern.edu; andrew.leong@northwestern.edu
Subject: Bunn, Bienen, Share, and Trethewey: THE SILENCE OF THE LITERATI

In Celebration of National Poetry Month:  A Criticism of National Poetry and the Silence of the Literati
To the Editor et al of Poetry Magazine and Managers et al of Poetry Foundation:
You have permission to publish the front cover of the current issue (#35) of The American Dissident in next issue of Poetry magazine.  It depicts the pitiful reality of the latter and poetry in general in today’s America via Share, Bunn III, Bienen, and Threthewey:  MONEY.  The front cover can be examined here:  

http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2018/04/don-share.html.  As you know or ought to know, Poetry Foundation refuses to list The American Dissident with other magazines listed.  

Might one of you prove sufficiently curious to actually spend 30 seconds to examine the cover or are you all so intellectually buffered and restricted?  And of course I expect no response from any of you at all.  After all, your m.o. vis-a-vis hardcore criticism tends to be absolute silence, as in THE SILENCE OF THE LITERATI.  And of course that m.o. is quite difficult for me to comprehend, for unlike the bulk of poet editors and publishers, I not only brook criticism with my regard, but encourage it and publish the harshest with my regard in each and every issue of The American Dissident.  That is a rare, cogent expression of vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy.  Sadly, that is NOT Poetry magazine, nor is it poetry in general today, where poets are absurdly deified to the point of THOU SHALT NOT CRITICIZE POET ICONS.  The higher the high-and-mighty literati get, the more intellectually corrupt they become and thus the more buffered from outside criticism they demand and succeed to be.

BTW, I have cc’d this email to a handful of Poet Laureate Trethewey’s Northwestern University English Department colleagues and hope that handful will send it to the other colleagues, though doubt wholeheartedly that any of those contacted professors will possess the intellectual independence to respond and do so.  A cartoon I drew on Trethewey in 2012 can be examined here:  

Go for it!  Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, academic entrenchment did that.  Finally, it is good when a poet laureate is a professor… for one reason:  his or her email is made publicly available by his or her university.   I could not locate Don Share’s email.  Will you please forward this letter to him.

Finally, intellectual corruption is rampant in the poetry milieu.  A poet plebe editor/publisher like me without connections cannot possibly obtain public money from the NEA or Mid-Cape Cultural Council, for example, nor will he ever be invited to speak at a poetry event like Harris Gardner’s Boston National Poetry Festival.  In fact, to speak “rude truth” a la Emerson today means risking permanent ostracizing by the poetry community.  My very neighborhood library, Sturgis Library, a proponent of National Poetry Month, for example, permanently banned me w/o warning or due process because I dared challenge the hypocrisy of Lucy Loomis, its director, in particular, with regards its collection development statement that “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view.”  My point of view and the points of view published in The American Dissident have been permanently banned.  Do any of you care?  Of course not!  Why did I challenge Loomis?  Well, for one reason only:  Poetry magazine was the only poetry magazine on her shelves…