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. If you have questions, please contact me at todslone@hotmail.com. Comments are NOT moderated (i.e., CENSORED)!]
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, not to mention Sweden, England, and Austria.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Friday, May 6, 2022

Experiments in Free Speech & Democracy



University of Pennsylvania Open Letter to the Professors of the English Department The American Dissident, a 501 c3 nonprofit journal of literature, democracy, and dissidence, would like to know what you think, as individuals and, even moreso, what your students think. The journal believes that all icons and institutions should be open game for hardcore criticism. Oddly, or rather conveniently, however, the large majority of established-order poets seem to think that poetry organizations, celebrities, prizes, and journals should be off limits. And indeed, established-order poets tend to live in protective cocoons of incessant praise and funding. It is next to impossible for outsider organizations like The American Dissident to get satire to penetrate those buffered cocoons. The American Dissident is a firm believer in free speech and vigorous debate, democracy’s cornerstones. Yet how can debate be vigorous when, for example, the Academy of American Poets censors opinions it does not like and its professor chancellors respond with indifference (see http://www.theamericandissident.org/AcademyAmericanPoets.htm). And when most college professors seem to favor censorship (either turning a blind eye to it, preferring euphemisms like moderation, civility, and good taste, and/or proferring to be too busy to be concerned), democracy itself is in peril. What do you think? Have you perfected excuses as part of rationalizing your silence? The cartoon above, inspired by a brief review appearing in Entertainment Weekly, which normally critiques the love-life and attire of Hollywood celebrities, satirizes your colleague Charles Bernstein. Yes, yes, we all know that he is revered by the academic/literary established order and has climbed that ladder, wearing blinders wherever necessary. But should criticism of Bernstein be taboo? What do you think? For more unusual critique of those who are rarely if ever criticized, examine The American Dissident, which firmly believes that poetry should be more than mere intellectual ENTERTAINMENT and diversion or bourgeois past-time. In fact, why not subscribe to the journal (only $20/year) to help expose your students to alternative negative viewpoints regarding literature and the literary establishment. Are the doors of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania like those of so many other universities hermetically sealed against uncomfortable outside critique? Do you help your students create and fortify “mind-forged manacles” like those observed by William Blake? Your SILENCE will certainly support that hypothesis! Thank you for your cordial attention. N.B.: Notice of this blog was sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian student newspaper and the following English instructors and professors: eng111@mailman.ssc.upenn.edu, charles.bernstein@english.upenn.edu, nauerbac@english.upenn.edu, rbarnard@english.upenn.edu, hbeavers@english.upenn.edu, nbentley@english.upenn.edu, tbowers@english.upenn.edu, bushnell@english.upenn.edu, cavitch@english.upenn.edu, pconn@english.upenn.edu, rcopalan@english.upenn.edu, tcorriga@english.upenn.edu, davistm@english.upenn.edu, degrazia@english.upenn.edu, dcherney@english.upenn.edu, deng@english.upenn.edu, jenglish@english.upenn.edu, esty@english.upenn.edu, afilreis@english.upenn.edu, mgamer@english.upenn.edu, jajii@english.upenn.edu, amkaplan@english.upenn.edu, kaul@english.upenn.edu, kazanjia@english.upenn.edu, zlesser@english.upenn.edu, loomba@english.upenn.edu, loveh@english.upenn.edu, cmazer@english.upenn.edu, amparo@english.upenn.edu, jnpark3@english.upenn.edu, perelman@english.upenn.edu, jmrabate@english.upenn.edu, prackin@english.upenn.edu, psain@english.upenn.edu, sanchezm@english.upenn.edu, pstally@english.upenn.edu, steinerer@english.upenn.edu, wsteiner@english.upenn.edu, stillet@english.upenn.edu, dwallace@english.upenn.edu, cmyang@english.upenn.edu, madams@sas.upenn.edu, rallen@ccat.sas.upenn.edu, janthon2@english.upenn.edu, maxapple1@verizon.net, azzolina@pbox.upenn.edu, psethbauer@hotmail.com, beckmank@sas.upenn.edu, benamos@sas.upenn.edu, blochj@english.upenn.edu, broussard@writing.upenn.edu, kbrownie@sas.upenn.edu, dburnham@english.upenn.edu, lcary@english.upenn.edu, ADeCurtis@aol.com, kathydemarco@writing.upenn.edu, tdevaney@writing.upenn.edu, djanikia@writing.upenn.edu, edwards@english.upenn.edu, despey@english.upenn.edu, marciaf@english.upenn.edu, dfox@sas.upenn.edu, lf@lisefunderburg.com, funkhauser@adm.njit.edu, agaedtke@gmail.com, pgaffney@sas.upenn.edu, gautsche@writing.upenn.edu, kg@ubu.com, devin.griffiths@rutgers.edu, adhall@english.upenn.edu, sharzews@english.upenn.edu, khellers@sas.upenn.edu, phendric@english.upenn.edu, mjens@sas.upenn.edu, jjossely@writing.upenn.edu, mkant2@english.upenn.edu, iamblel@aol.com, adlevy@english.upenn.edu, mlotto@english.upenn.edu, rmalague@english.upenn.edu, jmalcolm@english.upenn.edu, maxwellr@sas.upenn.edu, mmazaj@sas.upenn.edu, cmcgrath@uchicago.edu, dianemw@sas.upenn.edu, mamills@sas.upenn.edu, lizmoore1234@gmail.com, susan.murray@nyu.edu, michols@phillynews.com, cristinp@english.upenn.edu, polman@writing.upenn.edu, tipowell@sas.upenn.edu, jrezek@sas.upenn.edu, riebling@english.upenn.edu, krile@writing.upenn.edu, vross@writing.upenn.edu, rydel@sas.upenn.edu, schlatt@english.upenn.edu, rebecca@sas.upenn.edu, a.shonkwiler@gmail.com, scottstein@verizon.com, tarr123@gmail.com, vtodoroz@sas.upenn.edu, traister@pobox.upenn.edu, tricia@pointedpress.com, catumer@sas.upenn.edu, valterza@sas.upenn.edu, wahlert@english.upenn.edu, kwatters@english.upenn.edu, lweissbe@sas.upenn.edu, emilyw@sas.upenn.edu, abrahams@english.upenn.edu, curran@english.upenn.edu, rlucid@english.upenn.edu, vmahaffee@illinois.edu, randkregen@juno.com, jrichett@english.upenn.edu, gweales@english.upenn.edu, swenzel@english.upenn.edu

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Carl Phillips Jackson Poetry Prize

 

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Above is the back cover of issue #42 of The American Dissident.  It features the Jackson Poetry Prize recipient (see last paragraph of the editorial with its regard).  Below is the editorial for that issue.  I post this today because I am in the midst of writing an essay on the new Jackson Poetry Prize winner, 
Sonia Sanchez.  
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The American Dissident’s prime purpose is NOT poetry for the sake of poetry, nor is it to help spread poetry as a form of intellectual entertainment—a highbrow game of words.  Its prime purpose is to serve as a rare—very, very rare—platform for hardcore criticism against the academic/literary establishment—friend of the chambers of commerce—, including Poets & Writers magazine, Poetry magazine (run by Poetry Foundation and its $200 million Eli Lilly drug—money donation), the Academy of American Poets, laureate and inaugural icons, Pulitzer Prize, Guggenheim, MacArthur Foundation, the nation’s college English departments, etc.  When poetry fails to question and challenge that which promotes it, then it becomes a palatable part of the ruling-class machine of castration, cooptation, and corralling…  


Editorial

A Metastasizing Cancer

But you can’t turn literature into a business.  But without business, there won’t be any more literature.

A Business Affair (1994 film)

 

The front cover of this issue features the Freedom Forum Institute… with a touch of satire, of course. For the critical essay I wrote on that organization, “The Fake (Free) Expression Institute,” see www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm?frm=190705&sec_id=190705.  The Institute constitutes a pro-censorship organization, backed by the Democrat Party.  To proclaim an opinion as “misinformation” and thus eliminate it constitutes an egregious act of censorship, a shallow justification for the reduction of freedom of expression.  Democrat-Party-aligned Big Tech (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google) have radically increased de-platforming. The former President of the United States has been censored, as have critics of autocrat-vaccine mandates, critics of Critical Race Theory, critics of Black Lives Matter, critics of the Hunter/Joe Biden scandal, etc. Communism and socialism do NOT embrace freedom of expression! Autocrats do NOT embrace freedom of expression! White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared in typical hack-circular reasoning:  


Our view continues to be though that every platform, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, any other platform that is disseminating information to millions of Americans has a responsibility to crack down on disinformation.


“Crack down on disinformation” is, of course, simply a convenient euphemistic term for censorship! Psaki fails to address the fundamental problem with Democrat-Party encouragement for increased censorship: the politically-tainted subjectivity inherently involved in determining what is and what is not “disinformation.”  Roman poet Juvenal evoked another fundamental problem:  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  In essence, who will watch over the gatekeepers of information?  


Psaki’s statement incarnates the metastasizing cancer in the heart of freedom of expression, the very fundament of democracy.  Power elites like her hate freedom of expression with a passion and always have and always will!  


The back cover of this issue illustrates the sad state of establishment poetry in America. The verse spewed by poet Carl Phillips in the aquarelle somehow earned him the Jackson Poetry Prize ($75,000).  In elite poetry circles, innocuity rules!  Why?  Because innocuity evidently does not threaten elites at the academic/literary helm.  It assures absence of accountability…

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Dana Levin, Poet

 

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No email address on the internet available for Dana Levin. So, I sent the above cartoon to the Great Brick Wall of Poets & Writers magazine, which interviewed/advertised Levin.  In fact, that magazine is nothing but a platform for smiley-face advertising of poets.  It incarnates "Poetry Is Dead."

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The Spineless

(For Poet Dana Levin, who incarnates this poem)

Those who buffer themselves 

from outside criticism, 

by, for example, 

keeping their contact info secret, 

tend to be weak, 

narcissistic—self-laudatory—, 

and ideologically conformed and confined.  

Just look at their me-me-me websites

—mere lists of their establishment credentials.

Such persons ought to stay the hell 

out of the limelight, 

instead of constantly seeking to be under it,

    ever slobbering for renown and anointment.   


Notes on “The Spineless”

From an idea— 

a taboo thought—, 

I tend to create a poem, 

which tends to render it

not a poem, 

though only in the eyes 

of the bards in control 

of the poetry establishment

—the money, the platforms, the positions. 









Saturday, February 5, 2022

Christian Desmeules

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AUCUNE REPONSE DE DESMEULES ET DES AUTRES DU QUOTIDIEN LE DEVOIR !!
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From: George Slone

Sent: Monday, February 7, 2022 8:07 AM

To: otremblay@ledevoir.com <otremblay@ledevoir.com>; ecritsdesforges@gmail.com <ecritsdesforges@gmail.com>; redaction@revue-estuaire.com <redaction@revue-estuaire.com>; info@revueliberte.ca <info@revueliberte.ca>; info@inconvenient.ca <info@inconvenient.ca>; revuemoebius@gmail.com <revuemoebius@gmail.com>; cdesmeules@ledevoir.com <cdesmeules@ledevoir.com>; lettres@ledevoir.com <lettres@ledevoir.com>; acaillou@ledevoir.com <acaillou@ledevoir.com>

Subject: Critiques impubliables dans la Belle Province... des Ecrivains faibles

 

Salut les écrivains québécois du Devoir,

Moi, poète/dessinateur archi-critique/inconnu, j’ai satirisé dans une nouvelle vignette Christian Demeules, qui a choisi, sans aucune surprise, de ne pas y répondre.  Pour la vignette ci-attachée, voir wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2022/02/christian-desmeules.html.  


Comme je vous ai écrit il y a une année:  

Mais où donc se trouvent les critiques—les vrais critiques—au Québec aujourd’hui ?  Il semble que la littérature soit complètement centralisée dans ta Belle Province comme c’était le cas à l’ancienne Union soviétique !  Solzhenitsyn doit se retourner dans sa tombe !  


Ouais, il y avait à une époque Steak Haché.  Mais malheureusement cette revue a disparue.  Les mains des écrivains québécois sont tendues vers les sources monétaires et non pas vers la vérité.  Que c’est triste.  Est-ce que Le Devoir publierait ce courriel, la vignette en question et/ou ce qui se trouve icitte:  theamericandissident.org/quebec/quebec.html ?  Et ben, nous tous savons la réponse…


Au plaisir,



G. Tod Slone (PhD—Université de Nantes, FR), aka P. Maudit, Founding Editor (1998)

The American Dissident, a 501c3 Nonprofit Journal of Literature, Democracy, and Dissidence

www.theamericandissident.org 

wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com    

todslone@hotmail.com

217 Commerce Rd.

Barnstable, MA 02630