Letters for the Public Record.
Context and wording have not been altered in an effort to make correspondents look bad. The latter hardly need the editor's help in that respect. Vigorous debate is a cornerstone of democracy. How vigorous can it be, however, when established-order poets, writers, and artists are fed by the universities, corporate foundations, and government-grant agencies? How many dare bite those hands? Far too few, if any at all, which is why those hands have been so successful in reducing literature to apolitical ornamentation.
Many of the letters in this section reveal an uncanny sameness of reaction, as if one college "leadership" course on how to deal with critics were taken by proponents of the established order and one principle learned: Do not debate! Do not attempt to disprove criticism via logical counter-argumentation! Preferably, remain silent or excuse yourself with "decorous and prudent" (Emerson) civility or respond with an asinine, cutesy, pseudo-clever quip or if sufficiently angered by the criticism, simply call the critic an "asshole." A breaching experiment, in the field of social psychology, seeks to "examine peoples' reactions to violations of commonly accepted social rules or norms. The strength of the reaction is taken as an indication of the strength of the rule" (Wikipedia). Clearly, the rule that one should not question and challenge poets and academics is a damn strong one.
The Faustian pact of literary functionaries, both high and low, is generally struck with the hand that feeds. Academe is of prime importance because it shapes the core soul of the Nation and has been encouraging students and professors alike not to criticize, debate and challenge, but rather to be collegial, civil, deferential, and of course unquestioning with regards its PC-multiculti diversity dogma. What is needed is a small army of kamikaze literati to shake up the Machine, but where to find recruits?
The most negative criticism of The American Dissident and/or its editor will be included in this section per usual. Positive comments have been received regarding this section. Due to space restrictions, letters, especially those written by the editor, have been truncated and many others not included.
From David Ochs (Santa Maria, CA): I think the mag [Cimarron Review] has lots of fodder in it for you, so yeah leaf thru it, not because its good lit, but it reveals a lot of things you say happen at universities. Ai sort of wanders onto the campus, sort of down and out, needing a job, they make her some kind of adjunct prof. but because she's minor celebrity poet of color, both asian and black, she's got room and board money, has sex with the students, wins an award, is a walking talking diversity machine, claims she's the love child of Custer and an Indian woman. She's the ultimate hustler, and the univ. was the ultimate John, check it out.
To Denise Cervantes, Editor-in-chief, the University Star, University of Texas: Attached is a new P. Maudit cartoon critical of your university and student newspaper, depicting you, Rudy Martinez, May Olvera, and President Denise M. Trauth. Please do publish it and inform me of your decision. Contrary to your view, it is important that people like Martinez NOT be silenced. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION means precisely what it states.
Advice for a Young College Newspaper Editor on the Careerist Track Try being unique amongst journalists by avoiding hack evasive responses. Speak career-destructive rude truth, especially on the path of coopted journalism not for your sake, but for that of freedom... More Advice for a Young College Newspaper Editor on the Careerist Track Think, don't ban. Think, don't censor. Think, promote real free speech. Think, promote real vigorous debate. Think for the sake of democracy!
Thank you for your attention. Perhaps you might wish to ask your university librarian, Lorraine J. Haricombe, to consider subscribing to The American Dissident, so that students may examine such criticism. [No response] From Carrington J. Tatum, Opinions Editor, The University Star: Dr. Slone, Your engagement with the University Star and the opinions section is greatly appreciated. I recognize your concerns with the column and they are duly noted. Thank you for your submission and I look forward to our future interactions. Thank you. [Nice response, eh? The perfect contradiction to my first point for a young college newspaper editor.]
To the Poetry Foundation Library: Well, if the Poetry Foundation Library is indeed dedicated to poetry, please do consider subscribing to the 501c3 nonprofit journal, The American Dissident, which is dedicated to dissident poetry. It's only $20/yr! Thanks much for your attention. [Surprise! No response.]
To Craig Salters, Ed., Barnstable Patriot: Can I interest you in publishing my story on being permanently trespassed in 2012 from my neighborhood library, Sturgis Library, w/o warning and w/o due process for, in reality, having committed a speech crime. I am a senior citizen and now find myself w/o civil rights in Barnstable, as I am no longer permitted to attend any cultural or political events held at my neighborhood library. I did try to interest your predecessors who chose not to respond regarding the issue. The State Secretary of Records, however, did respond and chose to intervene nine months after the trespass order to force Sturgis to open its records to the public so that I might in fact read what precisely was written about me. Essentially, Lucy Loomis, the director and hopefully not a close friend of yours, argued in an email to the trustee president, Ted Lowry (hopefully he is also not a close friend of yours), that she mandated the order "for the safety of staff and the public." YetI have no record of violence, nor even one of threat making. In vain, I asked Loomis to reconsider several times since 2012. Hopefully, you might express an interest in this pertinent issue of freedom of speech (or lack thereof) in Barnstable. Paul Pronovot of the Cape Cod Times refuses to respond. For him, free speech simply is not important on Cape Cod. How about for you? Thanks for your attention. [No response]
From Jennifer Fulco: I saw your cartoon [see below] on your blog of Kaveh Akbar and I found it to be right on the money. Here's this poser poet trying to make a name out of his sobriety for his writings. I don't think he appears to be that profound from what I saw on an article and sources. I tried to post on the blog, but it didn't work. Anyhow, I was talking about how ironic his name is Akbar & he's now sober and no longer drinking aka at the 'bar.' His sobriety isn't any indication of talent. It's lame that he's using it as a platform for fame & identification. He now teaches at Perdue. Whatever, right?!? Poets like Bukowski who was a drinking poet had more talents than him. Not to mention also, Coleridge & Keats with their opium use were great poets. Sometimes substances can be an enhancer and other times not, so Akbar shouldn't call his claim to fame about walking about alive and free of drugs because he's literary grasping at coke straws to be original.
To Professor Elayne Tobin, aka Dr. Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Hurt Me Even More: Thought of you the other day because, well, your ex-hippie feminist idol, Hillary Clinton, recently said the B-word in public: "Thanks for your feminism, for your activism, and all I can hope is you keep up the really important, good work. And let me just say, this is directed to the activist bitches supporting bitches. So let's go." So, am I now also permitted to use the B-word? Or are only elite multimillionaire socialist females parading around as feminists permitted to do that? Anyhow, just raising the specter at NYU of Vigorous Debate, cornerstone of democracy. [No response]
To Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-chief, ARTnews: Why not investigate the waters of democracy (free speech and vigorous debate) regarding publicly-funded art organizations like the NEA? If indeed they are ideologically-bound and thus lacking in objectivity, should they receive public taxpayer money? Regarding the NEA, I tested the waters and sadly found them to be quite murky. And that means quite closed to criticism with its regard and quite closed to objectivity vis-a-vis its grant distributions. Just a thought, one that will likely not penetrate your ARTskull. But anything's possible, n'est-ce pas? [No response] To Editor-in-Chief Ben Padanilam and Managing Editor Katie Galioto, The Observer, Student Newspaper, University of Notre Dame: Attached is a cartoon you will highly likely NOT publish. Why not? Because you are not being taught and not learning to appreciate freedom of speech and vigorous debate, democracy's cornerstones. "To uncover the truth and report it accurately," your motto, is likely (hopefully not!) just another instance of the BS decried by your professor, Christian Smith: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Higher-Education-Is-Drowning/242195?cid=wcontentgrid_hp_2.
Well, of course, he wouldn't have decried that particular instance. After all, that would take a little career-shaking courage. Finally, you ought to rethink endorsing candidates, student or other, for how can you possibly be objective when reporting with regards endorsed candidates? Not possible! Think! Look at the New York Times, as a sad example. So, guts and individualit or PC-groupthink teamplaying? Which is it? Look forward to your response. [No response]
To the Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame: Attached is a cartoon I just finished on one of your colleagues. Why not examine it? The response I received from that colleague was ABSOLUT MINDNUMBERY and is highlighted in the cartoon, which really does strike at the very crux of the problem: your problem, academe's problem, and consequently America's problem. I welcome your reaction, though will be surprised if I receive any considering general professorial disdain for vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy... [No response]
To Editor Andrew C. Holman, Bridgewater Review, Bridgewater State University: [Cc'd to Ed.-in-Chief Daniel Creed and Faculty Advisor Sherri Miles, The Comment (student newspaper); Assoc. Editors Norma Anderson and Ellen Scheible (Bridgewater Review); Professors Carolyn Petrosino and Benjamin Carson; and Michael Somers, library director] Just noticed Bridgewater Review only accepts writing from the BSU community. Thus, my counter-essay, "In the Crosshairs of the Cultural Marxist Movement: Is Bridgewater State Ready Or Has It Already Submitted?" (see updated essay below), was no doubt sent in vain. However, as a public institution, one that my tax dollars help fund, shouldn't you open your closed doors to the public at large? Don't closed doors usually assure closed minds and groupthink monologue echo-chambers under the guise of conversations, as well as the continued assault on freedom of speech and vigorous debate in academe by cultural Marxists, not white nationalists? Moreover, what professors at BSU in such a closed-door environment would dare stand up and speak rude truths, risking careers by doing so? Academics--tenured or not--are certainly not known for courage. Should academe constitute a safe-space closed-door environment? Did you even possess the curiosity to read the essay I sent? Will you distribute it to other BSU professors to instigate a little debate? Now, I found your editorial to be bland, if not outright hackneyed--far, far from a unique statement reflecting individual courage. Its Trudeau'esque diversity-is-our-strength assertion underscores that observation: "As we are fond of saying these days, diversity means richness." How many thousands of college presidents, department chairpersons, and review editors have already uttered such statements? "Richness" or superficial mimicry? Indeed, why has the monkey-see, monkey-do diversity mantra supplanted freedom of speech in academe today? Why aren't professors encouraged to speak Emersonian rude truth instead of repeating ad nauseam the diversity mantra? And indeed, why has academe become such an echo chamber, an arena of intellectual self-congratulating and backslapping copycats? Finally, as editor of a literary journal, The American Dissident (fear not, BSU's librarian in the name of diversity of opinions refuses to subscribe), I not only brook but encourage harsh criticism regarding me and each and every issue... and publish the harshest in each and every issue. I do not know another such journal that will do that. Do you? BTW, I taught on the tenure track for five years at one of your sister institutions, Fitchburg State University, where I discovered intellectual corruption and cowardice to be ubiquitous in the professorate, where careerism, careerism, careerism far outweigh rude-truth telling. [No response]
To Rebecca Ostriker, Arts Editor, Boston Globe: Why not add to the ARTS section in the Globe, DISSIDENT ART? Surely, some of that must exist somewhere in the state? You could feature artists who actually create art directed against the art machine, its commercialism, its closed doors, its general establishmentarianism. Well, try giving it a thought. [No response] To the English Professors: Perfect! Not one of you in the Bridgewater State English department, let alone the editors of the Bridgewater Review or The Comment, responded to my counter-essay, "In the Crosshairs of the Cultural Marxist Movement." BSU group-silence in action! So, here goes again. Attached is a cartoon this time, sketched on the anti-debate ambiance apparently firmly entrenched at Bridgewater State. It will appear in the forthcoming issue of The American Dissident. Fear not! Your students will likely never get to see it, unless they go to the library at Harvard University. The Comment of course would never have the cojones to publish it. Not one library on Cape Cod where I dwell will subscribe. In fact, one even rejected a free subscription offer. Thus, we have biblio-homogeneity and of course biblio-hypocrisy when it comes to Banned Books Week. Tenure is like a cage, but the professors, unlike animals in their zoo cages, beggar to get inside. Tenure is a mental cage in which a caged professor willfully enchains his or her own will to fit into it. Think of William Blake's mind-forged manacles... [No response]
To Amanda Erickson, Washington Post: Your article on LePen was interesting, though with a few gaping holes. Perhaps, to help fill them, you could have countered Yasser Louati's statement by asking if "respecting the local customs" included taking off the hijab in non-Muslim-majority countries and respecting customs of women treated as second-class citizens, forced to wear hijabs, and various other un-feminist practices in Muslim-majority countries. Oddly (purposefully?), your article failed to evoke the recent Walk of Shame of Swedish female diplomats in Iran vs. females who decried their act of submission, including feminist-activist Masih Alinejad and chess player Nazi Paikidze. Furthermore, the terms "populism" (i.e., the plebes) and "far right" both possess strong negative connotations... thanks to "progism" (i.e., progressivism) and the far left. In fact, shouldn't journalists like you cease using those terms in an active effort to avoid the egregious bias that has tainted you to the point of public distrust? Should you not strive for objectivity? [No response]
To Jeffrey J. Selingo, Professor of Practice, Arizona State University, Ithaca College Trustee, Former Editor Chronicle of Higher Education et al: The title of your Washington Post essay, "College Students Support Free Speech--Unless It Offends Them," is excellent. But the article was not very informative and was rather flat. Nothing at all new was reported in it. Why is free speech so important? Well, you don't even say. You don't mention the term "snowflakes" or the extreme violence of Antifa, nor the anti-free speech scourge called political correctness and its identity politics and anti-white racist narrative. You don't even mention the inanity at your own university (see http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2014/11/breanne-fahs.html and http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2018/03/war-on-women.html). You do not clearly mention what speech is permitted by the law. What speech, for example, is not protected by the law on a college campus? Have you personally ever tested the waters of democracy (i.e., free speech) at Arizona State? Well, if you had, likely you would not be an ASU Professor of Practice... of See-No-Evil, Speak-No-Evil. Anyhow, just talking to the academic winter wind... [No response]
To Exec. Ed. Sydney Maki, Editor-in-Chief Allie Bice, Magazine Editor Savanah Yaghsezian, and Opinion Editors Alexandra Wolfe and David Marino, The State Press (Arizona State University's Student Newspaper): Is not The State Press a rather troubling name for a student newspaper? Does it not evoke Pravda, as opposed to "independent" from the State (e.g., the University Administration)? If you jive with the title, then I suspect you will not even respond, in echo with your professors' non-response and disdain for freedom of expression and vigorous debate, cornerstones of democracy, but not of state'ocracy. Attached is a cartoon sketched on ASU Professor of Practice Jeffrey Selingo. Please publish it or at least manifest the intellect to respond as to why you will not publish it. Is there anything at all untruthful or illogical in it? That should be your focus, as opposed to pc-ideologically incorrect (i.e., hate-speech inanity). Do you have the cojones to be truly independent? That is the real question... and crux of the future of journalism in America. To Pravda or not to Pravda... [No response]
To Library Director Chris Bourg, MIT: You state, "Yep, I'm still harping on that theme of the stark lack of diversity in librarianship," in your "The Unbearable Whiteness of Librarianship" blog post. Are you perchance black (no!) or simply another virtue-signaling white hypocrite? Or does your dykeness accord you more than mere white privilege? Well, we both know the answer to those questions! And then you conclude with Absolut Aberrancy (not a vodka!) regarding the egregious near total domination of libraries by females (acceptable lack of diversity, right?): "P.S. This post is not about the gender disparity in librarianship. That is a whole other topic, and not the one I'm talking about here. Please don't ask me about gender here. Pretty please." William Blake had written, "Mind-forged manacles." Somehow, you need to take yours off. As for me, I'd rather be down and out than be another careerist hypocrite. Look forward to your riposte... "The Silence of the Librarians." Oh yeah... [No response]
To Emma Bingham, Ed.-in-Chief, The Tech, MIT Student Newspaper: In the name of DIVERSITY of opinion, please do publish the attached cartoon! Or have you already become a fake journalist (i.e., 100% biased)? Look forward to your response, as in The Silence of the Student Newspaper Editors... [No response] To Editor-in-Chief Ema Sasic, The Vidette, Student Newspaper of Illinois State University: Please publish this email and the attached cartoon in The Vidette to help encourage ISU students to engage in free-speech issues. You and Professors Andrew Hartman and Rick Jones are depicted in it. Do you have the intellectual fortitude to publish it? If not, then the prime difference between you and me is that if you had sent a cartoon satirizing me, I would definitely publish it in The American Dissident. In fact, in each and every issue of the journal, I encourage harsh criticism with its and my regard... and always publish the harshest... and never punish the critic, as in you will no longer be published in The American Dissident. Think about that, if at all possible. The fate of journalism depends on it. Pravda or not to Pravda? Independent journalism or politically-correct journalism? Those are the questions confronting journalism today in America. Are you even aware of that?
From Ema Sasic: Thank you for today's submission and all previous ones. The first was published in today's paper, and it will be online later today as well. The other submissions will be uploaded online throughout the week. To Ema Sasic: Thanks for being willing to publish the items, especially the one with your depiction. That takes true guts and passion for freedom of expression. Kudos! Could you send me the print version or will it not be in the print version? And of course nothing at all personal. After all, I do not know you. From Ema Sasic: I am a journalist who believes in fairness and being as unbias [sic] as possible. If a piece criticizes me, so be it. The Vidette is a place for everyone to express their opinions. [RESPONSE!!!]