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, December 10, 2023

Poets & Writers


The following counter-editorial was written in 2020.  

I, Poet Apostate

A Critique of a Sad, Highly Predictable Editorial

In lockstep is the evident modus operandi of Poets & Writers magazine.  If in lockstep, you might get published/promoted/publicized in that periodical.  Out of lockstep, like me, and you will likely be blacklisted by it.  As an obvious arm of the academic/literary establishment, Poets & Writers encourages groupthink, certainly not individualthink!  

Poets & Writers Stands in Solidarity With the Black Community," the editorial in question, is an unoriginal echo of those afflicted with white-guilt and successfully indoctrinated in the black good/white bad narrative.  Was George Floyd really a heroic figure, who had cleaned up his criminal past to lead an honorable present?  For a factual analysis regarding the BLM martyr meme, examine www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/06/candace-owens-video-i-do-not-support-george-floyd-frontpagemagcom/.  

Elliot Figman, Executive Director, and Amy Berkower, President of the Board of Directors, both white, wrote the vapid, virtue-signaling editorial.  Regarding the title of the editorial, did they discuss whether or not to use “take a knee” instead of “stand in”?  Clearly, they and their magazine serve one purpose:  the monetization—cooptation and castration—of poetry and writing.  In essence, they and their magazine serve as an ideologically-driven Pravda for the poetry and writing industry.  They are not courageous individuals; they are cowardly conformists.  Is that what poets and writers should be today?  Apparently so.  Poets and writers must think CAREER, not bold TRUTH-TELLING—the two can never go together.  To do that, they must conform to the reigning ideology in much the same way that poet Gorky, who praised the gulags, had done in the former Soviet Union.  

In their editorial, the authors, unoriginally, call for “an end to systemic racism.”  But is there really “systemic racism” in America today, or is that simply a mindless talking point of the indoctrinated?  Has not Affirmative Action accorded blacks privilege over whites?  Why is the accusation of “systemic racism” rarely, if ever at all, supported with factual evidence and statistics?  Are inconvenient facts and statistics now simply (simple-mindedly) dismissed as right-wing, Nazi, racist, white nationalist talking points?  ALL the evidence should be examined, not just evidence that supports the narrative!  “The Truth about Interracial Violent Crime” and "The Truth About Police Violence and Race" present some rather inconvenient (i.e., against the narrative) statistics.  

“These killings come during a pandemic that disproportionately afflicts communities of color,” state the authors.  Again, no statistics needed when in lockstep with the narrative.  The authors do not even address precisely how the virus is somehow in cahoots with “systemic racism.”  Are black rioters and looters not social distancing, while somehow white rioters and looters are?  Many possible reasons likely exist if indeed blacks are afflicted more than whites.  Proclaiming “systemic racism” does not explain everything, and yet for those making the proclamation somehow it does, especially in the Age of Ideology, which has evidently replaced the Age of Reason.  

“That members of these same communities [i.e., POC communities] are disproportionately risking their lives as essential workers only adds to the outrage,” argue the authors again without an iota of statistical support to back the assertion!  Perhaps we have now also entered the Age of Groupthink Writing.  “At Poets & Writers, we are reflecting on how to respond to these injustices. This begins with the acknowledgement that, although we have a diverse staff, most of our leaders and Board members are white,” state the authors.  But why should the right skin color be more important  than courageous truth telling, black or white-skinned?  Rare truth-tellers, black or white-skinned, who question and challenge those of the in-lockstep herd, are far more interested in speaking the “rude truth” than holding on to their writing careers.  “I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions,” declared Ralph Waldo Emerson.  “Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.”  Well, clearly Poets & Writers is one of those “dead institutions” and definitely “capitulates to badges and names”!  

“Our silence [regarding alleged racism] has compromised our mission,” state the authors.  “We serve writers because they help us understand ourselves and our times, deepen our capacity for empathy, and imagine a better future.”  And yet the writers they tend to publish serve them and their writing industry.  “A better future”?  A future of what?  More groupthink?  More groupchant?  More in lockstep?  More white-shaming and more black victimization?  Sounds like a nightmare!  

“To accomplish our mission, we must heighten our understanding of the unique struggles that Black writers face in the publishing industry and literary world due to racism and implicit bias,” argue the authors.  And yet always there are black-skinned writers featured in Poets & Writers magazine.  Never are there counter-narrative rude truth-telling writers!  How does that constitute “unique struggles” by black writers “in the publishing industry and literary world”?  America has had black poet laureates, black prize-winning writers, and black university writing professor racists.  Cite laureates Rita Dove, Maya Angelou, Robert Hayden, Joy Harjo, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Derek Walcott, etc.   But then there’s the confession: “most of our leaders and Board members are white.”

So, why then haven’t the two white authors, Figman and Berkower, volunteered to step down, so that two black-skinned people, competent or incompetent (“What difference does it make?”), can take their places?  Money!  

“Poets & Writers is committed to becoming an anti-racist organization that models the principles of equity and inclusion,” contend the two authors.  Sadly, equity in today’s PC-Orwellian world means inequity, while inclusion means exclusion.  Certainly, I have been excluded from commenting by the P&W equity and inclusion censors!  Ah, but I am white, therefore insignificant in the new age of skin-color is more important than anything else.  Nevertheless, I, poet apostate, dare choose TRUTH over career, TRUTH over skin-color predilection, and TRUTH over publication in Poets & Writers magazine.  Now, would the latter publish this counter op-ed as an opportunity for debate?  Will it even respond to it?  The likelihood of that is close to nil… and that in a nutshell is the crux of the P&W problem, not a paucity of correct skin color on its Board of Directors…


From: George Slone

Sent: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 7:09 PM

To: elliot@pw.org <elliot@pw.org>; aberkower@writershouse.com <aberkower@writershouse.com>

Cc: editor@pw.org <editor@pw.org>

Subject: Your astonishing editorial


To Executive Director Elliot Figman and President of the Board of Directors Amy Berkower, as well as Editor in Chief Kevin Larimer, Senior Editor Melissa Faliveno, Assoc. Ed. Dana Isokawa, Poets & Writers Inc.:  

Below is my counter-essay vis-a-vis your astonishing editorial.  Please publish it in the next issue of Poets & Writers.  If not, then I shall try other literary brick walls.  Please do let me know of your decision.  Thank you for your attention.


G. Tod Slone (PhD—Universit√© de Nantes, FR), aka P. Maudit, Founding Editor (1998)
The American Dissident, a 501c3 Nonprofit Journal of Literature, Democracy, and Dissidence
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