A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone 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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Notes from the Censored—Rattled

The following account of censorship (moderation or whatever the popular euphemism of the day) was written by David Ochs (Santa Maria, CA) and appeared in the latest issue of The American Dissident (Issue #20). The PC-crowd has become expert in the rationalization of banning and censorship and would have made a great partner with the Vatican during the papal inquisition which lasted from the 1200s right up through the mid-1800s. The following is a little poem I wrote with that regard:

A Nation of Citizen Expurgators
Education has taught citizens
today not to cherish vigorous
debate, democracy’s cornerstone,
but rather to serve as little censors.

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Notes from the Censored
A few months ago I read Tim Green’s (editor of Rattle poetry magazine) blog on Bukowski. He watched a documentary, Born Into This, and dismissed Bukowski as a self-absorbed, wife abusing, drunken degenerate and probably a racist. He also said except for a few pieces his work wasn’t that good.

I responded to the blog, calling it a hatchet job. I figured if we judged poets and artists on their personal lives we wouldn’t be able to like any of them. I pointed out that no one discredited Amiri Baracka (formerly Leroi Jones) for punching his wife Hettie Jones. Or for espousing his theory that Jewish workers in the World Trade Center knew of the 9/11 attacks beforehand and stayed home from work, leaving their co-workers to die. I also mentioned that Tim Green’s favorite poet, Alan Ginsberg was a supporter of NAMBLA (http://www.nambla.org/).

By then Tim’s cronies were in PC lockstep and a sock puppet named Sandee Lyles, posted a link to a clip of a drunken Bukowski kicking at his wife Linda while laying on a couch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8KJiay6EI0). She presented this as concrete evidence of spousal abuse saying, “he kicked her in the stomach again and again.” If you didn’t see the clip you’d think he caused internal damage. I thought it was no more than a pathetic, drunken spat. For example if you saw a frustrated woman in a parking lot swatting her child on the rear it’d be misleading to say she beat her child.

When Tim read my interpretation he went ballistic. Calling me a “sick, ignorant, coward,” who didn’t understand the nuances of abuse. He also said I was no longer welcome on his blog. I sensed Tim was more upset by my comments about Ginsberg, but someone who supports NAMBLA is difficult to defend. It was easier to accuse me of supporting spousal abuse.

At that point the gloves were off and Tim and his cronies wanted my head on a platter. Megan, Tim’s PC soul mate chimed in and Sandee the Sock Puppet kept putting her two cents in. Not to sound boastful but I was giving Tim and his disciples a verbal beat down and rather than lose face Tim deleted the later round of comments and banned me from the site. The Rattler’s concluded it was ok to disagree but only if you do it in a constructive way, so the ban was justified.

I thought poets were people capable of thinking in the abstract; seeing the different shades of the human condition and reserving judgment. But the Rattle group are like the Salem villagers, where one person yells, witch, and they all gather up with their torches. Ironically these types of group-think conformists are the type of people Bukowski skewered in his poetry.

Anyway since then Tim has posted guidelines for commentary-to be respectful and polite. In other words if you disagree he’ll censor you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Claudia Emerson

Open Letter to the English Professors 
Of the University of Mary Washington

A satirical cartoon of one of your colleagues, Claudia Emerson, is up on The American Dissident blogsite:
http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/. Please inform Emerson, whose email address was not available to me. Experience tells me it is highly likely that you do not believe in vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy, and do not give a damn about the value of criticism and free speech, preferring instead the establishment of speech restricting codes, zones, and policies. If, however, you prove to be quite extraordinary, consider subscribing to The American Dissident. Yale, Harvard, Buffalo, Wisconsin, Brown, Johns Hopkins, and other such universities are subscribers.

Your silence will simply imply that you, indeed, operate as yet another academic herd lead by business-minded (not democracy-minded) provosts, deans, and chairpersons. It will simply imply that you too fail to heed Thoreau and Emerson (“let your life be a counterfriction to stop the machine,” “go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways”).

America has truly taken the wrong pathway, educating so many, many of its citizens as unquestioning and unchallenging societal cogs driven not by principles, but instead by careerism. One day, perhaps in the near future, even our politicians will have a difficult time referring to the nation as a democracy, thanks in part to the nation's college and university professors.

See the blogsite for other experiments in free speech effected on faculty of other universities and colleges. Thank you for your attention.