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

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Susan Corcoran

The above cartoon was sketched in 2013.  The ACLU didn't do shit regarding my permanent ban from Sturgis Library.  It did call the library director, Lucy Loomis, but refused to tell me why it would not take my case and what precisely was said during the phone call.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Anthony Romero and Wendy Kaminer

The above cartoon was sketched in 2012.  Below is an email I'd sent to Kaminer back then.  No response was ever received.  

From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: wendykaminer@aol.com Subject:
Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2012 20:10:44 -0400

To Wendy Kaminer,
Your book, Worst Instincts, was truly a great read. I do quote you now and then. In fact, I even recently sketched a cartoon on you and the CEO of the ACLU. It is posted on my blog. Thank you for that inspiration.
On another note, perhaps you ought to be aware of what goes on under your very nose on Cape Cod. For one thing, Truro Library and the rest of the libraries in the Clams Library System of Cape Cod have essentially banned The American Dissident from the system. In fact, in a last ditch effort to get just one of the libraries to subscribe ($20/year), I sent a letter to about 25 library directors of the system, including Truro's. Only one director responded a week later, though not in writing. Lucy Loomis, director of Sturgis Library, had no less than three cops enter the library to escort me out of the library. I was quietly working on my laptop per usual. I have never caused a ruckus or threatened anyone at the library. Loomis announced that she was PERMANENTLY trespassing me from the library because I'd been critical of it and made her "feel uncomfortable". She refused to hand me a written document, arguing her decree was verbal. Ellie Claus, president of the Barnstable County libraries, refused to accord me due process, despite my request. A year and half earlier, Loomis had prohibited me from leaving my critical flyers on library premises and from talking about that with staff. I obeyed. In fact, she even refused a free subscription offer. The ACLUM will not take my case, though it did say it spoke with the library. It would not tell me what was said. So now I am forced to pay taxes to help support a library that has permanently banned me. That really makes me feel quite uncomfortable. Yes, Loomis had told the cops that I'd made her "feel uncomfortable."
This whole incident was really surprising to me, even though several years ago Watertown Free Public Library had trespassed me for three months w/o due process. I had asked a rather surly reference librarian if she'd consider subscribing. In fact, I've only been to that library once in my entire life. Yet the cops told me the ref librarian had said I'd been a problem on other days too.
I do hope you might respond.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Mary Gannon CLMP


The above cartoon I sketched a year ago.  For some reason, the editor of Provincetown Arts, Chris Busa, who HATES debate and alt-opinions, sent me an email yesterday (2/4/2020) with the Subject:  "{Virus?} RE: Mary Gannon featured in a new essay and P. Maudit cartoon."  No message was included with the exception of "This is a message from the MailScanner E-Mail Virus Protection Service. The original e-mail attachment "8119-17893_City_Report.doc" was believed to be infected by a virus and has been replaced by this warning message [,,,]"

So, thanks to Busa I just posted the cartoon and also sent him the following message:  "Yes, definitely a VIRUS, one that will mortally affect your very limited ability to deal with hardcore reality criticism!  By the way, I am not at all violent.  I do not bite.  Ah, but I am a critic, not a publicist disguised as a critic. Do you understand the difference?  Probably and sadly, you likely do not. Anyhow, good to hear from you."

One must wonder how such frail characters like Busa manage to become editors.  Anyhow...

Notes from the Literary Landscape:  Hot Air in the Blimp
A Review of an “Interview” (i.e., Literary Advertisement)
The writing establishment was perhaps best reflected by Poets & Writers magazine (P$W), which incarnated perhaps better than any other periodical, even more so than Poetry, the corporate  carcinoma.   For a critic like me, it would be difficult to find just one noteworthy article or interview in any issue of P$W not begging for the sledgehammer.   Indeed, the magazine had proven to be an excellent source of grist.
In its latest issue, my attention was drawn to a photograph of an authoritarian-looking woman, glowing in self-contented grandeur—Mary Gannon, former associate director and director of content for the Academy of American Poets.  In the world of poetry, euphemism had a particularly foul odor.  What was a director of content, after all, if not a director of censorship, a Minerva-goddess gatekeeper?  As an example, the Academy censored (removed) my comments and essentially banned me from expressing my point of view on its publicly-funded website.  The term “censorship” seemed not to have lost its negative tinge, which explained the euphemisms, moderation and director of content. 
Today, Gannon was the new executive director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP).  Prior to her stint at the Academy, she had been editorial director of… P&W and was (surprise!) married to its current editor-in-chief Kevin Larimer.  Had the interviewer, Cat Richardson, editor-in-chief of Bodega magazine (“Your literary corner store”), somehow presented an objective and critical interview or just another thinly-disguised promotional advertisement?  Imagine if Cat had posed a few tough (i.e., uncomfortable) questions.  Would Larimer have published her interview of his wife?  
So, keep it clean, Cat!  Keep it banal, Cat!  Keep it lit-as-usual, Cat!  And, of course, Cat had no problem at all doing that.  “What is CLMP’s most important role?” was the first question she asked Gannon, who responded:   
Our main role is to help raise the organizational capacity of literary magazines and presses and to support them in whatever way that they need. 
Now, what did “organizational capacity” mean?  Likely, it was corporate-speak for money potential.  CLMP’s website seemed to highlight money and presented CLMP as a publishing business, where membership fees, dues, and more dues form the key to its existence.  
CLMP offers membership to publishers in three categories: Full, Associate, and Chapbook/Zine Publisher.  What all CLMP publishers have in common is a focus on publishing literature and a commitment to doing so ethically.  
What did publishing literature “ethically” even mean?  Was it ethical to publish praise of ones wife?  Or was that a kind of unethical nepotism?  Was it ethical to criticize CLMP and its diverse literary apparatchiks, those self-appointed gatekeepers of ethics?  Was it ethical to buffer an organization spewing nebulous terms like “ethics” and “literary democracy,” as in “Support literary democracy donate to CLMP!”  But what was “literary democracy”?  Sounded nice!  But the reality—the reality of those like Gannon and Larimer—was of course not so nice and not so democratic, but rather undemocratic censorship, banning and ostracizing of those who dared go against the grain of the literary establishment.  It was one of support for poets and writers who chose literary careerism over freedom of expression.
Gannon not only looked like an executive apparatchik, but she talked like one:  “Intentional communication is a really valuable thing to help facilitate.”  Now, what did that mean?  Clearly, my critique was a concrete example of “intentional communication,” but would Gannon help facilitate it?  Would her husband publish it?  Oh, yeah, I forgot fees and dues.  
We want to continue to make those spaces on a national level for members to collaborate, leverage one another’s strengths, and work toward this higher goal of making sure that literature thrives.
In fact, everything Gannon said in Cat’s rather short interview demanded clarification, if not outright challenge.  Sadly, Cat failed royally in that endeavor.  What kind of literature did Gannon want to survive?  Smiley-face lit?  PC lit?  See-no-evil/hear-no-evil lit?  Hagiography lit like the kind her husband adored?  Certainly!  But what about lit that sledgehammered that kind of lit with hardcore, no-holds-barred, unapproved criticism?  Certainly not!  
Cat then posed question #2:  “What are the most significant needs of small presses and literary magazines right now?”  Before I examined the response, I contemplated a possible answer regarding the literary journal I published:  finding rare poets and writers who dared stand up and write against the academic/literary establishment, its icons and organizations… including CLMP.  Now, how did Gannon respond to the question?  Money, money, money?  Well, yes:  “distribution” and “fund-raising.”  Sure, distribution was nice, but I’d reached the point of not really giving a damn about it.  Truth telling.  That was the prime objective of my magazine, not getting on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles and all the libraries that knee-jerk rejected it.  That was certainly something that a businesswoman like Gannon likely could not grasp.  And how sad it was when business (corporate) mentalities took control of poetry and art.  I read through the blather, through her blather, the vacuous elation, and of course the obligatory terms “inclusive” and “diversity” eventually formed part of it. 
Having said that, it’s also a really exciting time for independent and small publishing, because in the wake of the conglomeration of big publishers, it has created space for innovative, dedicated people to put together these projects that connect writers with audiences and make sure that literature is inclusive.  Not to say that the big publishers aren’t also putting beautiful books and magazines into the world, but for a healthy ecosystem you need diversity. And I think that’s where the smaller publishers come into play. 
Now, how “inclusive” were the many magazines that advertised in P$W or in NewPages?  To find one, just one magazine open to a critical essay like this one would have been no less than miraculous!  Ah, but “inclusive” had become Orwellian Newspeak for exclusive, as in “seeking essays from women of all ages, races, and sexual orientations who have experienced bullying” (Anthology:  Relational Aggression in Females), “seeking personal essays from women of all ages” (Change of Life), “ inviting young, female-identified writers and artists” (Girls Right the World), “poetry by students currently enrolled in graduate or undergraduate programs worldwide” (Mistake House Magazine), “seeks submissions of well-groomed poetry” (The Ravens Perch), and “devoted to sharing the literary voice of black women” (Blackberry: A Magazine).  Inclusive? 
The real elephant in the room of “inclusivity” was not sex, age, or skin color, but rather harsh critique, the kind that the local chamber-of-commerce-tourist-industry-cultural-council-literary-festival complex (e.g., the Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown) could not bear.  Now, if indeed “you need diversity” for a “healthy ecosystem,” then why was hard-core criticism not part of it?  Evidently, the reason was that the lit milieu was one of ubiquitous thin skin and, especially, rampant backslapping and self-congratulating, the kind P$W advertised ad nauseam…