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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kamden Hilliard

Wade Wallerstein, editor of the student newspaper, The Phoenix (Sarah Lawrence College), did manifest unusual openness by publishing my letter to the editor and two cartoons I'd sketched on SLC Professor Marie Howe, Poet Laureate of New York (see http://www.sarahlawrencephoenix.com/editorial/2014/8/26/letter-to-the-editor-g-tod-slone-of-the-american-dissident). 
He would not, however, publish the above cartoon, nor permit me to respond to the four students who criticized the two cartoons published.  Thus, in the spirit of OPEN DEBATE, as opposed to ONE-SIDED NON-DEBATE, I include the four student responses and my un-published response to them. 

From mikey:  This is idiotic/absurd and i have no idea why you published it
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Bottom ofFrom Jake:   None of this is "hateful" or "immature". I'll grant that it's a vague, rather masturbatory attempt at anti-establishment criticism. But there is nothing wrong with calling into question what is a very observable phenomenon: that too much of leftist, academic discourse these days is concerned with 'sterilizing' conversations. Some call it political correctness, others call it censorship. But it is important to always have voices from the other side reminding everyone that, sometimes, truth is unpleasant. And that's my takeaway with P. Maude.
Though I'd like to add that I think this cartoonist would do well to actually read Dark Phrases because it is a wonderful publication and I agree that it is important and necessary to have a platform for minority voices. There is nothing "racist" about that.
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From Katherine:  As the editor-in-chief [Wade Wallerstein] of a publication widely distributed, read, and discussed in the SLC community, you have the power to amplify a voice that has been ignored. You also have the responsibility to decide when it is appropriate and constructive to do so. I fail to see how these cartoons and this letter contribute truth, fact, or reason to any community dialogue about race (or poetry, or democracy? It's unclear). It is well-known on and off campus why spaces for people of color and other minorities exist, and trying to spark a debate about it only leads to beating a long-dead horse. Mr. Slone is welcome to take his personal objections directly to the editors of Dark Phrases. Publishing his immature and hateful rhetoric seems unnecessary.  And how is it constructive to call for a statement from Dark Phrases? Its editors have better things to do than justify, for the thousandth time, their very existence and the mission of the publication.
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From Margaret Caroline Pless:  Wow. These cartoons are worse than unfunny... I have to read them three of four times and I'm still not sure what P. Maudit's deal it. Is it Marie Howe's poetry? Women named Brooklyn? The fact that SLC exists and has spaces like Dark Phrases for authors of color? That poetry doesn't matter? Ugh, someone sound the hetero-normative white guy klaxon. Batton down the hatches and sit tight until he no longer needs to explain to all us non-guys and non-whites why we're wrong. Confidential to P. Maudit: I know for a fact white students can submit to Dark Phrases. They can even go into Common Ground and participate in QPOC meetings. The question is whether or not they have anything to contribute to said spaces; some do and some won't. You don't, so go back to your blog (and it is a blog; it's hosted on "blogspot") before I lampoon your terrible site (including it's lulzy list of publishers who ignore you) on mine.
To mikey, Jake, Katherine, and Margaret:  So, just dismiss what you don’t like as “idiotic/absurd,” “masturbatory,” or “immature and hateful.”  No counterpoint argumentation at all necessary!  Bravo!  Is that what your professors have been teaching you?  Ad hominem is always the lazy way out.  Instead, they should be teaching you to be precise and underscore untruths, if there are any.  Use logic and fact to support your denunciation of purported untruths.  If you couldn’t find any untruths, well, then I guess that’s why you resorted to kneejerk ad hominem to protest, as in how dare he criticize one of our own professors!  Moreover, because you cannot understand something does not automatically make that something “idiotic/absurd.”  Point to the lies.  Prove they’re lies.  That’s what an educated person should do.  To only publish minority voices is indeed racist against white students and staff members.  How else can an un-indoctrinated individual possibly perceive it?  It is time people rejected such double standards!  Imagine a journal that only published white voices at Sarah Lawrence College.  Yes, let’s call it White Phrases.  Yeah, then we’d have the KKK accusations.  Well, shouldn’t we then have the Black Panther accusations regarding Dark Phrases?  Ah, the double standards, of course!  But REASON should always trump DOUBLE STANDARDS.  Period.  Are students being taught that anytime someone stands up for reason against PC-indoctrination and provides an unapproved point of view, he or she must be dismissed as “immature and hateful”?  BTW, the editors of Dark Phrases decided not to respond.  Period.  After all, what could they say?  It’s okay to be racist and EXCLUSIONARY if you’re a minority, but not if you’re white?  Wow.  Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby.  Oh, yes, of course those editors “have better things to do” than to justify their lack of INCLUSION.  So, why is it fine for minorities to publish exclusionary literary journals, but not fine for whites to do the same?  After all, two wrongs do NOT make a right!  Now, Margaret, how does it feel to be a hateful, PC-anti-white, heterophobic racist, as in “Ugh, someone sound the hetero-normative white guy klaxon”?   Again, the double standard trumps reason.  The statement on Dark Phrases clearly stipulates that “artistic work of students, faculty, and staff of color” is featured.  Period.  It is that statement that I contest, for evidently even if whites are published in the journal, clearly they are not encouraged to submit their writing to it.  That statement needs to be changed.  Period.  How can you not comprehend the message in the cartoons?  It is not complex!   Oh well.  Please DO lampoon me and/or The American Dissident blog site.  Don’t simply threaten to do so!   I am not fearful, nor EASILY OFFENDED like you seem to be, of valid criticism.  Often, I create from it!  Again, try finding a lie, something NOT factual, on the blog site, rather than simply calling it stupid or some other inane, puerile epithet.  Come on, you’re supposedly getting a college education!  Try taking a course in LOGIC 101.  Or has that been replaced by Political Correctness 101 at Sarah Lawrence College?  Anyhow, thanks for commenting.  Democracy demands citizens of different persuasions communicate and debate.  I only wish Professor Howe would instill that in her students (you guys!)… by example. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture

Open Letter to the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture*

The problem with state-sponsored, or pseudo-state sponsored, culture is ALWAYS Soviet in nature.  The problem with Cultural Apparatchik Agents is always their inability to think out of that box… their status as CAAs depends on it!  They tend to be overly gregarious and lacking in individual spirit and courage to buck state-approved art & culture, now PC-restricted in nature.   Will your organization seek to counter the official US Department of Arts & Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, which would never support my art and writing, or just seek to milk money out of it?  You note that your newly appointed 17 CAAs will undergo two months of training.  How I’d love to receive a report on what precisely that training will consist of.  Will it include sensitivity training with regards the importance of DIVERSITY, not of superficial color and ethnicity, but rather of viewpoints?  Will it include training to help CAAs build sufficient spine so they might actually encourage, rather than outright reject, criticism of the organization and the CAAs themselves?  Will the CAA closest to me, David Kimball (Marlborough, MA), be trained to fight for freedom of speech and expression and otherwise help artists like me who have been ostracized due to candid criticism of organizations in his area, including PEN New England, Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Boston National Poetry Month?  You note:  “You don't have to be a legal citizen of the United States to be a Citizen Artist with the USDAC! You don't have to be an artist either! Just someone committed to helping cultivate the empathy and imagination we need to create the world we wish to inhabit...”  Yet that world is likely not the one that I and other staunch individual free-thinking artist and writer “enemies of the people” would wish to inhabit!  Recall how the Soviets labeled those who questioned and challenged the regime and state culture as “enemies of the people.”  Recall how artists and writers who did that were sent to gulag concentration camps!  My fear is that the world you wish to create would be an ideologically-driven, brave-new-world of censorship, groupthink, obligatory positivism, and absence of real freedom of speech and expression.  Sadly that world already seems to be taking shape.  Your goal of “creative social change” is perhaps a frightening one, reminiscent of Cuba’s “creative social change” and Tim Wise’s racist White Privilege movement.  No thanks, methinks! Finally, the smiley-face that your missive seems to have stamped upon your organization resounds a bit childish, you know, like the “Hope and Change” mantra that resulted in more of the same.  Moreover, why are you apparently unaware that VIGOURGOUS DEBATE, like I’ve tried in vain to instigate with you, is in fact a cornerstone of democracy, though not a cornerstone of authoritarian Soviet-like regimes? 


*This organization is not part of the US government, despite its name.  However, it is as unresponsive (unaccountable) as any other organization of the US government, so it might as well be part of it...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Robert M. Nash

Open Letter to Robert M. Nash,
Executive Director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod
(From Issue #28, The American Dissident)
As a fervent free-speech proponent, who actively tests the waters of democracy here on Cape Cod, I find your statement commendable:
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod is a community-based organization that strives to live up to its motto “All the Arts for All of Us” by offering a wide range of events, exhibits, and educational programs.  Everything that happens at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod—everything it does and represents—is predicated upon a democratic philosophy of inclusion, encouragement, and accessibility. Everyone who comes to the Center with an idea, question, or request is given the time, attention, and energy it takes to consider all possibilities and address needs creatively and compassionately.  At the same time, the Center strives to maintain a level of quality in its offerings that puts it among the area’s best galleries and performing arts centers. Its goal is to encourage both excellence and inclusion.
Sadly, however, the waters of democracy on the Cape seem to be quite murky.   Might the Cultural Center waters be equally murky?  Does “all the arts” include my art too?  Likely it does NOT.  “Inclusion” pronouncements tend to be fraudulently issued by cultural apparatchiks, poets and artistes of the machine, political hacks, and Cape Cod library directors… you know, as in “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view,” but somehow manage to permanently exclude points of view like mine.   Director Lucy Loomis, for example, permanently excluded my viewpoints from Sturgis Library without warning or due process, proving the point. 

These things said, how about a show to counter your “Heavenly Bodies:  The Human Form, Transformed” exhibit called “Shaky Community Pillars:  Business-as-Usual” in which artists would submit work critical of local art apparatchiks, librarians, chamber-of-commerce bureaucrats, academics, etc.?   Why is art so dull, predictable, and safe on Cape Cod?  Why is it so smiley-face and lacking in societal criticism?  Why is it rarely, if ever, art against the established order?  Evidently, the latter has been quite successful in coopting it.  “Quality” and “excellence,” two highly subjective terms, are evidently used to dismiss art of a critical nature. 

Can I meet with you to propose an art and literary exhibit that would test the veracity of your “inclusion” statement above?  Your poet curator, Joe Gouveia, has already proven it to be essentially untrue, so I thought I should check with you before drawing my final conclusions.  Thank you for your attention and hopeful response.  I’d be glad to come down to the Center to meet with you.  If I do not hear from you, I will come down to knock on your door.  Thank you for your hopeful attention. 

[No response.  Nothing like excluded inclusion!]

Open Letter #2 to Robert M. Nash
So, your non-response leads me to believe that you are commonly thin-skinned regarding valid criticism and also shamefully hypocritical regarding your very own statement, in particular, “All the Arts for All of Us” and “democratic philosophy of inclusion.”  Clearly, you have decided that I am ONE ARTIST NOT FOR YOU and YOUR CENTER, which clearly points to the hypocrisy of your purported “inclusion.”  Why feel compelled to jabber about INCLUSION when you must certainly know in your hearts that by nature you wish to be EXCLUSIONARY?  As a perhaps rare intellectually honest person, I do have great difficulty understanding the COMMON CULTURAL APPARATCHIK.  How about helping me in that endeavor?  When will you be available to meet with me at YOUR Cultural Center… in the name of INCLUSION?  Please do respond!  I am a taxpaying citizen of Barnstable… and you are receiving tax funding. 

[No response.  No accountability. Culture as Usual...]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Beacher Wiggins

Hear ye!  Hear ye!  The Library of Congress will NOT stock issues of The American Dissident!  Why not?  Evidently, it cannot bear valid criticism.  Below is the front cover of Issue #18, featuring the Library of Congress and banned by the Library of Congress, one of the key sponsors, oh but of course, of BANNED BOOKS WEEK. 


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dave Granlund and Paul Pronovost

Cape Cod Times editor Paul Pronovost, of course, did not respond to the previous cartoon I'd sketched on him and Granlund (see two posts earlier), nor did he respond to the letter to the editor offering a counter viewpoint to his self-serving, grandiose vision of journalists.  Granlund, however, did briefly respond:

It's Labor Day. You're on the Cape. Relax. Shut off FOX News. Close up your laptop. And especially put down your drawing pen. Geez!! You didn't get your PhD for art, that's for sure! Step out into the salty air. Now go put your feet in the warm sand. Listen to the surf. Feel better? I do.
merci pour l'écriture
Dave Granlund

Well, now it's not labor day.  No matter.  Granlund's FOX news retort certainly inspired the above cartoon.   An inconvenient fact and/or thought regarding Messiah Obama and/or PC-multiculti groupthink can easily be dismissed by arguing the messenger watches Fox News.  Now, can it get any more infantile than that?  Methinks not...