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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Banned Books Week Farce

Why Banned Books Week Ought NOT to Be Celebrated

If one were to take the celebration of Banned Books Week literally, then it would perhaps make sense.  In other words, the librarians, publishers et al would be celebrating the books, periodicals, and patrons they’ve successfully banned or shunned over the years.  The rampant hypocrisy in the very heart of the American Library Association, which seems to be the chief sponsor of the event,  as well as that of the multitude of library directors spread across the nation like the proverbial layer of stale peanut butter, clearly needs to be exposed.  The celebration seems to have become nothing more than a self-congratulatory act of backslapping.  If there were an iota of integrity in it, a place, no matter how small, would be devoted to criticism of it and of the many librarians, as well as approving poets and writers, who do in fact ban books, periodicals, and even patrons. 

Politically-correct journalist Bill Moyers and wife were named Honorary Co-Chairs of this year’s celebration, which immediately politicizes the celebration.  One must wonder how many books and periodicals published by right-wingers critical of Islam, Obama, and/or PC have been shunned by the likes of Moyers and wife.  And why appoint such a buffered and wealthy couple to be honorary co-chairs?  Why not appoint instead someone who has indeed tested librarians over the years to determine just how open, or rather closed, they really are to new books and periodicals, not to mention criticism of them? 

With that regard, Charles Willett, founding editor of Counterpoise and retired librarian, comes to mind.  At the Fifth National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries, he stated:  “In almost all the 45 libraries studied here, and probably hundreds and hundreds more across the country, we have failed our professional duty to seek out diverse political views. [...] These books are not expensive. Their absence from our libraries makes a mockery of ALA’s vaunted ‘freedom to read.’ But we do not even notice that we are censoring our collections. Complacently, we watch our new automated systems stuff the shelves with Henry Kissinger’s memoirs.” 

               So, why celebrate such a despicably deplorable record?  Why not instead satirize the intellectually corrupt bibliotards, philes, and snubs, as I've done regarding the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom
(see http://www.theamericandissident.org/orgs/american_library_association.html )?  The OIF, by the way, remains utterly indifferent to my complaint of being permanently trespassed without warning or due process by Sturgis Library, which celebrates Banned Books Week, though not this year, according to its fascistic director Lucy Loomis?  The only response from the ALA to my complaint was from Valerie Hawkins, though not of the Office of Intellectual Freedom: 

At any rate, the policies of any local public library are set by its board of trustees. Any and all complaints as to your treatment by its employees should be taken up with the library’s trustees, as they would be the ones who would decide if there was library staff misconduct and then could take steps accordingly.

We’re in Chicago. We have no jurisdiction whatsoever over your local public library and your problems with them.

You’ll need to work this out on your own, with your own local resources and legal authorities.

Now, does Hawkins seem at all interested or concerned?  And what happens, as in my case, when the board of trustees refuses to even respond  and when one of the trustees, boyfriend of the director, Dan Santos, dismisses my criticism as “intellectual masturbation” without even examining it, if in fact he's even capable of doing so?  And how might one explain the total refusal of PEN New England (“defending freedom of expression”)  to respond to my complaints of having my freedom of expression truncated here and there in New England at several libraries, including Watertown Free Public Library, which trespassed me for three months for simply trying to get the ref librarian Ardis Francoeur to understand why she should at least consider subscribing to The American Dissident?  Calling director Karen Wulf, calling director Karen Wulf!  Sorry, nobody home.  PEN is of course a Banned Books Week sponsor.  And how might one explain Suffolk University Poetry Center’s refusal to consider subscribing to The American Dissident, a journal of literature, democracy, and dissidence?  In fact, it too would not respond, that is until the student editor I’d contacted confronted Fred Marchant, its director and former PEN New England director.  And why does the National Coalition Against Censorship refuse to respond regarding my complaint against PEN’s blatant hypocrisy?  Well, it too is listed as a main sponsor.  How does one explain the refusal of famous City Lights Bookstore to carry The American Dissident?  Perhaps because it’s been critical of Beatniks?  City Lights is of course a big promoter of Banned Books Week. 

                Could I possibly be the only one in America who’s been banned from a publicly-funded library for written criticism?  Could the periodical I publish be the only one that’s ever been banned from an entire library system like the Clams Library System of Cape Cod?  Could the flyers I attempted to distribute be the only ones ever banned from a publicly-funded library?  Now that’s highly unlikely.  But dissidents like me, who actually question and challenge celebrity dissidents like Moyers, tend to be fully ostracized by the established-order system, be it the biblio or cultural sectors. 

Finally, the ALA stipulates that “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community—librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”  But does it really?  Readers of all types?  Certainly not my type!  And doesn’t the commercialization of such a serious subject as censorship serve to demean it, though fill the pockets of dubious types like Moyers and ALA executives?   Help support Banned Books Week by purchasing t-shirts, buttons, and more.  Shop!”  Christ.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Sept 29-Oct 6 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hrant R. Russian

Money, money, money!  Is that what art has become on Cape Cod?  Sadly, it appears so.  With all of these positives it is hard to even think that we are anywhere near the apocalypse of art on Cape Cod,” noted Clive Beasley in his comment on “Cape Cod Museum of Art faces mountain of debt,” which appeared in Cape Cod Times, which refuses to report on my being permanently trespassed from Sturgis Library for having expressed an opinion in writing.  Yet, isn’t money, money, and commerce, commerce the “apocalypse” for art?  Beasley further states he has “yet to hear anyone say, ‘We do not want to have an art museum on Cape Cod’.”  Well, if money, money, and commerce, commerce is indeed what art has come to be on the Cape, as it sure as hell seems, then let me be the first to say I don’t want an art museum on the Cape, especially if funded with taxpayer dollars.  There, Mr. Beasley, now you’ve heard it.

What is needed at the museum is not a “business-oriented leader with a talent for fundraising,” but rather a democracy-oriented leader with a talent for encouraging rude truth, vigorous debate, and real freedom of expression in art.  Such a director would likely be willing to work for a lot less than the Joe or Jill-average art director.  Rather than force money out of the public’s pockets via Massachusetts Cultural Council, the NEA, etc. to help finance the museum debt, why not have one or several of those pro-Obama Cape Cod multi-millionaires foot the bill.  Hell, it would be tax free! 

Over a year ago, I’d written a critical (questioning and challenging) letter to Elizabeth Ives Hunter, Executive Director, and Hrant R. Russian, President of the Board of Trustees of the museum.  Neither, of course, responded.  Hunter has since resigned (forced out for lack of money-raising prowess). The letter is still pertinent and follows: 

Your statements in the Cape Cod Museum of Art brochure are vacuous and self-congratulating. Does not art deserve more than the smiley-face vacuity of politicians? What are “outstanding artists”? Should our nation’s citizens simply open wide and swallow without ever questioning and challenging such terms? Can an artist, who questions and challenges the art community, as I do here, actually rise to become one of your “outstanding artists” to be displayed at your museum? Thus, we finally begin to define the term.

What does “operating for the benefit of the public” imply? Who in fact is the “public”? Is it exclusively formed by the herds of obedient sheep who open wide and swallow? By criticizing you, am I still part of the “public”? Or has that automatically rendered me persona non grata or "enemy of the people," to borrow the Soviet gulag term?  What does “held in trust for the public” mean? As an individual thinker and artist, I’d be much more interested in art that is not “held in trust for the public” by art gatekeepers like you and Lucy Loomis, director of Cape Cod Cultural Council and Sturgis Library.  [Loomis just informed me she was, and no longer is, director of the Mid-Cape Cultural Council.  Thus, I erred.  Oddly, she has failed to correct me regarding her hypocritical collection development policy.  Evidently, I must not have erred with that regard.  See http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2012/06/lucy-loomis.html.]

From my experience with art and literary gatekeepers, it is likely you will not understand anything written in this email at all, whose purpose is not to convince you but rather to make a statement for the public record.  Here’s several more questions for you: Why do art managers on the Cape always seem to wear ties and jackets? Is it not odd that art seems to be paired with the bourgeois game of golf today, as in your Friends of the Cape Cod Museum Golf Tournament? Should not art be more than paintings of hydrangeas, boats, lobster shacks, nudes, and seascapes? It seems that you willingly participate in the widespread banality, subservience, and castration of art today. Why do you tend to support subservient and castrated artists? Well, I certainly know the answer to that one… and so do the apparatchiks at the local Chamber of Commerce.


Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:38:16 +0000
From: sturgislibrary@comcast.net
To: todslone@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Cape Cod Art Museum featured in this week's American Dissident blog entry
Mr. Slone:
There are two incorrect statements in your latest blog post. There is no Cape Cod Cultural Council -- there are regional and town Cultural Councils on the Cape; the one for Barnstable and Yarmouth is called the Mid-Cape Regional Cultural Council. I stepped down from the MCRCC over a year and a half ago. Their current President is Becky Lawrence.
There is no need to send us notifications about your blog posts -- if we want to subscribe, we will do so.
Thank you.
Lucy Loomis, Library Director
Sturgis Library, Barnstable Village


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Agnieszka Kolek

From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: agnieszka@agnieszkakolek.com
Subject: Your statement on artists is a farce!
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 19:28:17 -0400
To Agniezka Kolek, Curator of the Passion for Freedom exhibit:
Your statement is a farce: "
There are regimes that are afraid of art, but artists are not afraid of regimes." 95% of the poets and artists I've observed are in fact part of cultural sectors of regimes. 95% are cultural or academic ladder climbers, thus fearful of regimes. 95% would not dare stand alone to protest against anything for 95% are herd members. Is that you the gorgeous blond in black dress standing in front of the picture of a nude woman? I was looking for your photo so I could do a satire on that statement of yours. To add to the already over-bloated myth of the artist and poet only helps keep his or her art and poetry bland and safe usually in some academic cocoon.


From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: todslone@hotmail.com; agnieszka@agnieszkakolek.com
Subject: RE: Your statement on artists is a farce!
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2012 11:48:47 -0400

To Agniezka Kolek, Curator of the Passion for Freedom exhibit:
A satirical cartoon on you is featured in this week's American Dissident blog entry: http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2012/09/blog-post.html. Please feel free to comment. Comments are never moderated or otherwise censored. Thank you for your attention.
G. Tod Slone, Ed.
The American Dissident