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

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Kevin Larimer, Amy Berkower, Elliot Figman


Louise Glück

 Editorial, Issue #40, The American Dissident

From the Press Pass to the Victim Card,

Bullshit Lies Matter, and Glückoma

The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job. The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress.

—Gary Webb, journalist who purportedly (two bullets to the head!) committed suicide


Democracy will not/cannot survive if citizens lack the courage to openly speak out critically against the reigning party-line, whatever it might be.  Poets and writers ought to be in the forefront of citizens with courage, yet they seem instead always to be in the rear.  Their careers depend on their silence, and their inability to think for themselves.

  And so, according to The New York Times in typical journalist self-congratulatory mode, “this is where journalism matters most.”  The front cover of this issue depicts one of its newly-hired hack columnists, Ben Smith, formerly editor of BuzzFeed.  Smith’s op-ed, "Journalists Aren’t the Enemy of the People. But We’re Not Your Friends.," is mind-boggling in its absence of reality in the realm of the press.  Little if any substance at all is in the op-ed, just unoriginal, groupthink, kill-the-messenger accusations, devoid of any precise examples to back them (e.g., “President Trump’s abuse of power” and “conspiracist Alex Jones”).  In the op-ed, Smith notes he’d interviewed another journalist:  “I asked him if he worried about coming off as a pompous jerk.”  Well, Smith should have asked himself the same question!  The Times’ eulogy of Smith, “The Boy Wonder of BuzzFeed," constitutes an instance of backslappery on steroids.     

Purging or censoring comments that one does not like has become quite common and quite indicative of the totalitarian direction of America today.   People who purge/censor/moderate are people who do not respect the cornerstones of democracy, free speech and vigorous debate.  Censoring is NOT only the modus operandi of the left, though clearly the left has been heavily engaged in the activity.  The David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative think tank, for example, censored a number of my unflattering comments.  Freedom Center?  Bullshit Lies Matter!  Below is the email I sent.  There was, unsurprisingly, NO response.  

To David Horowitz Freedom Center:  So, it is evident that you prefer “freedom” as in the freedom to purge and censor, NOT as in the freedom of speech, expression, and vigorous debate.  Shame on you for censoring my comments, regarding the poem Bawer wrote praising Horowitz’ new book!  I did take screenshots, so do have the proof.  If you’d like to see it, simply contact me.  Your actions prove that censorship is NOT only a left-wing tactic.  My tip for you would be to grow a backbone and truly embrace FREEDOM, not simply as a word to manipulate into another example of Orwellian newspeak.  You might wish to examine the cartoon and my long censored comment here:  wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2020/06/bruce-bawer-and-david-horowitz.html.  Interestingly, that comment was removed the day it was posted, then reposted a day later, but then purged a second time with all of my other comments several days after that.  You certainly will NOT have my support!


On another note, bravo to Rattle for coming up with a new super-inane idea for the billion-dollar diversity machine:   

RATTLE SEEKS SUBMISSIONS by Neurodiverse Poets for the Spring 2021 issue: Poems may be any style or subject, but must have been written by those with neurological differences who identify with the idea of neurodiversity. 

Now, I wonder if well-paid Rattle editor Tim Green might consider me neurodiverse, since he evidently believes my criticism of the poetry establishment to be a “neurological” disorder of sorts—oops, one must use the pc-term “difference,” not “disorder”!  Out of the “1220+ literary magazines,” recognized by Poets & Writers magazine, Rattle is, of course, one of them.  The American Dissident is, of course, NOT one of them. 

Finally, regarding the recent Nobel Prize for Literature brouhaha, cite Henry David Thoreau, “Let your life be a counterfriction to stop the machine.”  Well, sure, Henry didn’t really follow his own advice.  But what precisely might constitute the “machine”? In the case of poetry, it is obvious. The academic/literary establishment is that “machine.”  Below is the front cover of Issue #10, featuring Louise Glück, a ladder-climbing, academic careerist, something I sincerely believe poets should NOT be. Glück has lots of “credentials” (i.e., ladder rungs), including Poet Laureate of the US Congress (2003-4), a hug and National Humanities Medal from Obama, English professor at Yale, and this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.  To obtain such credentials, professional ladder climbers inevitably learn to obey the prime taboo of upward runging:  thou shalt keep your mouth shut and not criticize those on higher rungs.  Glück did not respond to the front cover, which I’d sent to her. 

The following Glück comments are direct quotes taken from Alexandra Alter’s New York Times hagiographic interview, “‘I Was Unprepared’: Louise Glück on Poetry, Aging and a Surprise Nobel Prize."  For a critical essay on Alter, see “The Hillary Poets and the Hillary Resistance.” The Nobel Prize, unsurprisingly, is only awarded to poets of the “machine,” certainly not to poets critical of the “machine.”  The Nobel judges, who are perhaps not so noble, declared Glück to be an “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Now, what does that even mean?  Ah, it’s poetry, stupid!  It doesn’t have to mean a damn thing.  Another critic, uh, publicist, Ron Charles, proclaimed Glück to be “one of the most celebrated poets in America,”  a clear indication of innocuousness.


Louise Glück: I’m a very sociable person. The fact that I dislike interviews doesn’t mean I’m a recluse.  BLM#1

The Editor: Well, why don’t you stop doing interviews then?! 

LG:  Completely flabbergasted that they [i.e., the Nobel judges] would choose a white American lyric poet. It doesn’t make sense.  BLM#2

The Editor:  Well, why don’t you make it make sense by rejecting the Nobel like Sartre had done and demand a black lyric poet be given the prize instead of you?  Ah, but you won’t do that! 

LG:  People keep telling me how humble I am. I’m not humble. But I thought, I come from a country that is not thought fondly of now, and I’m white, and we’ve had all the prizes.  BLM#3

The Editor:  So, you don’t think fondly of America.  Others don’t think fondly of America.  Why then are so many humans crashing the borders to get into America?  I’m white and haven’t received any of the prizes!  Yet plenty of blacks have gotten many of the prizes!  

LG:  I’ve been working on a book for about four years that tormented me. Then in late July and August, I unexpectedly wrote some new poems, and suddenly saw how I could shape this manuscript and finish it. It was a miracle. The usual feelings of euphoria and relief were compromised by Covid, because I had to do battle with my daily terror and the necessary limitations on my daily life.  BLM#4

The Editor:  Tormented?  Daily terror?  White privilege! 

LG:  I think I am fascinated by syntax and always felt its power, and the poems that moved me most greatly were not the most verbally opulent. They were the poets like Blake and Milton, whose syntax was astonishing, the way emphasis would be deployed.  BLM#5

The Editor:  Syntax, eh?  No wonder poetry doesn’t matter!  George Orwell hit the bulls-eye when he wrote:  “In cultured circles art for artsaking extended practically to a worship of the meaningless.  Literature was to consist solely of the manipulation of words.  To judge a book by its subject matter was the unforgiveable sin and even to be aware of its subject matter was looked on as a lapse of taste.”
LG:  My students amaze me; they dazzle me.  BLM#6

The Editor: Well, maybe that’s because they think just like you and, like you, dare not question and challenge the literary establishment, wonder who the faceless Pulitzer Prize judges are, what their literary biases might be, and why they’d give you, an academic poet who is quite financially comfortable in a job-secure position, over one million dollars.  

Adrienne Rich

 The following cartoon was sketched in 2010.  


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Chen Chen


Chen is a master of the fine art of THE BRILLIANCE OF GIBBERISH, as featured in the above cartoon sketched in 2018.  In the latest P$W mag, Chen is again featured.  I've cartooned so many career poets like him/her over the past few decades that I'd forgotten I'd already cartooned him.  Thus, I did a search and bingo, there (here) he/she was.  Since there are so many, many INANE/INNOCUOUS POETASTERS featured in P&W, I try not to sketch the same one twice.  Chen tempted me, but I resisted.  For Chen's endless identity politics hate-whitey tirade, see https://www.pw.org/content/craft_capsule_against_universality_in_praise_of_anger.  #29 is a good example:  "I’d like white writers to get angrier. Why did so few of my white grad school classmates speak out? Some of my Asian American peers could get angrier too. About racism. About who still gets left out of Asian American spaces. About anti-Blackness in Asian America."  

Now, why doesn't Chen Chen express a little anger at all the hands feeding his/her dainty fingers, including P$W, Academy of American Poets, and Brandeis University?  He/she is poet-in-residence at the latter.  So, why doesn't he/she do that?  The answer is simple:  Chen Chen is a flaming hypocrite in pants or skirt!