Following the review is my correspondence with the editor of APR.
Alternative Press Review (Your Guide Beyond the Mainstream). Editors Allan Artliff, Jason McQuinn, Thomas Wheeler. Arlington, VA. Spring 2005. Magazine. 66 pp. Published quarterly. $4.95/issue. Subscriptions $16/year.
A.A.L. Press POB 6245 Arlington, VA 22206
APR "is an independent magazine of reviews and reprints from the liberatory side of the alternative press" and "seeks to promote the alternative and radical press as well as other alternative and radical media," writes Wheeler in the editorial. Websters.com defines liberatory as "tending, or serving, to liberate." Now, what about conservatives seeking to liberate liberals from liberal dogma? Evidently, the left-wing does not have a monopoly on the alternative press. In any case, after making a plea for subscribers, offering APR T-shirts to those who donate $100, the Wheeler briefly summarizes the articles in the issue.
By the way, several years ago, APR did an unflattering review of the literary journal I edit. Unfortunately, the bad review is still up in cyberspace, despite the fact that the journal has improved. However, APR did manifest the unusual courtesy of actually publishing my rebuttal of its review. So bravo to APR. APR appears entirely axed towards left-wing ideology and politics, as opposed to literature and rude truth. I'd argued it ought not therefore to be reviewing literary journals. In fact, this issue does not review any literary journals at all.
The seven longer articles in APR really have nothing to do at all with reviewing the alternative press. True, some of them were published in the latter. Only five of the 66 pages are actually devoted to reviewing the alternative press. In essence, the articles are left-wing critical of right-wing policies, politicians and ideology, and especially with regards Bush and the Iraq war. How refreshing it would be to read a left-wing article critical of left-wing ideologues! If the left wants to become more potent, it needs to open up to such critique, rather than reject it as it tends to do with vehemence.
Finally, an 11-page expanded version of the controversial essay, "Some People Push Back," by none other than Ward Churchill in particular caught my attention. APR notes that "conservative political commentators" wanted to demonize him. But in reality, both conservative and liberals vehemently castigated him for pro-terrorist, highly insensitive remarks regarding 9/11 victims.
APR seems locked in a primal anti-conservative, rigid, paradigmatic, leftwing ideological mindset. It needs to reflect on this fact. Everything left is not automatically good, while everything right, automatically demon-like. Indeed, APR needs to reflect on Churchill's own statement that "American progressives are in the main every bit as mired in the depths of denial as the most hidebound of their conservative counterparts."
By the way, I am anti-Bush, anti-war, and totally in favor of free speech and open debate. Churchill too has a right to speak his mind. In fact, his essay is quite interesting.
On a positive note, Terry Everton's cartoon series, "Christian Angst," is excellent. One cartoon illustrates how those who do not think for themselves tend to excel in the educational system. I wish I could interest him to do a cartoon for my journal.
Do I recommend this magazine? It's really hard to say. Certainly Churchill's essay ought to be read.
Subj: THE AMERICAN DISSIDENT
Date: 4/12/01 11:46:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Jason, As I reflect, I don't think I should stand corrected at all. Thus, I rescind that last letter and stand by the first one. What you guys are doing is assembly-line reviews with a corporate-mentality odor. In reality, you manifest zero interest in a review like mine, which provides a venue for socio-politically engaged literature as opposed to fame-game Chomsky-type political commentary. I once tried to interest Z-magazine and received similar disinterest and aloofness. I wonder if it's an ego thing, a leftist petty-power mongering of sorts. In any case, I'm going to review your mag for the next issue of The American Dissident, stressing the things mentioned in my letters, including self-appointment as God-like reviewers, assembly-line reviews, disinterest and aloofness, glossy cover, circulation in corporate bookstores, etc. In fact, I think I'll do a critical cartoon on your magazine. I think it's bullshit that that first review you guys did on my first issue is still circulating in cyberspace like an orbiting fuck-you. Well, I hope you have the capacity to reflect on these issues, rather than kiss them off with corporate aloofness and indifference.
G. Tod Slone, Ed. THE AMERICAN DISSIDENT www.geocities.com/enmarge
Date: 4/12/01 1:52:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Jason, Good letter from you. I rest corrected... I suppose. I've just gotten back from two months in the hull of a navy warship... teaching English for pennies, not seeing the sky for days at a time. Amen. I must still be dazed and confused. Overreaction... most likely. G. Tod The American Dissident
Subj: Re: Ca va toue, putain de mardeux?
Date: 4/12/01 12:03:41 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (Jason McQuinn)
G. Tod Slone, Ed., I didn't write the reviews of your zine, nor have I seen the zine personally. So I'll pass this complaint on to Chuck Munson, the person whose initials follow the review of AD in the newest issue of APR. But I will also mention that you're not the only one who spends inordinate amounts of time working for nothing (or less) on a "labor of love." Alternative Press Review is able to appear in newsstands and bookstores across the continent purely because it contains the kinds of information that many, many "little people" are looking for. There is no organization behind it, subsidizing it, or sponsoring it. The money to start it came from my own pockets--one of the reasons I'm so far in debt. And the magazine stays afloat purely because enough people buy copies of each issue to pay our printer and to pay our contributors and to pay the postage. You can take up your criticisms directly with Chuck, but I assure you that none of the editors of APR are academics. We're all wage slaves who are also at times radical activists. I can certainly agree that too often reviews of zines and magazines can be half-assed, biased, or incompetent in ANY review zine or magazine. It goes with the territory. There are many incompetent reviewers out there. But upon reading the latest review of AD I find it hard to believe you can be so upset about it. I've seen many much, much worse reviews of the magazines we produced than this one could possibly be! Chuck is usually very open and fair in his reviews, and I trust his judgments as a result. He doesn't appear to have any axes to grind with this review, and doesn't really criticize it. If faint praise bothers you so much, I'd hate to see how you react when reviewers really don't like what you're doing! Good luck with your zine. Jason McQuinn C.A.L. Press POB 1446 Columbia, MO 65205-1446
Subj: Ca va toue, putain de mardeux?
Date: 4/11/01 2:05:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Alternative Press Review: Well, it must be nice to set your ass up as God of alternative reviews. Well, there's also that character out in CA of the Small Press Review. It also must be nice being flooded with subscriptions and needing a credit card machine. Keep in mind, the bigger you get the more likely you end up doing something wrong… radical demagoguery or whatever. Will you at least please remove the first review of The American Dissident from the Internet and replace it with the second one, which will be the last one because I'm not sure you really examine objectively the diverse journals that come your way. I spend tons of time putting together my mag and do not need you to do a quickie hatchet job on it, though this time was better than last time. You write like an academic… lots of verbosity and little hardcore substance… too much theoretical bullshit and not enough down-to-earth human collision with corruption. Are you an academic? What do you do for a living? Where does the cash come to produce your glossy color-covered review? How did you manage to get it on the shelves of corporate bookstores? Little people are fed up with large group radical orgs rampant with internal corruption and the grotesque egocentrism of petty power mongers... left or right. You ought to underscore in each issue that each review is the opinion of one man not some God of alternative reviews. Others and I fight local corruption as best we can with or without the backing of some organization. Some of us have decided to start alternative presses as direct result of battle with local corruption. Personally, I tried in vain to interest people from Chomsky to Kors, Silvergate, Paglia, and Pinsky, regarding the corruption I experienced and fought tooth and nail in the state-college system of Massachusetts. It is from that corruption that I created The American Dissident. I spend many hours writing my editorials, designing political cartoons, reading and editing submissions. I do not need you to spend 5 minutes on The AD to accord it a very mediocre review, emphasizing one poet (by the way, do you even read poetry?), and screwing up data, including size and website. Indeed, The AD is 56 pp, not 48pp, and the web address is www.geocities.com/enmarge, not the one you listed. A-fucken-men. G. Tod Slone, Ed. THE AMERICAN DISSIDENT
Subj: Re: Cartoon critique!
Date: 4/30/01 10:28:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jason McQuinn)
If I recall, I told you that I'd forward your message on to the person who did the review of your zine--and I think that was Chuck Munson (indicated by the CM in parentheses at the end of your zine's review in APR) who did the review. Otherwise, what did you want me to say? Having neither seen your zine, nor having written the review in question, I simply don't know anything about it. Jason McQuinn PS: Nice comic.
Subj: Re: Cartoon critique!
Date: 5/1/01 9:26:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Jason, Passin' the buck? Hmm. What do I want you to do? Print the comic in your letters to the editor section. Then rebut it. It is a positive sign that you have printed negative letters. Most zines don't do that. Thanks for responding. I'm not holding a grudge, nor really warring. The matter is simple: I don't think you or your sub-reviewers can give fair reviews if you're running through them like a machine and if you're not really into what the review is about (i.e., literature, if you're into hardcore pol. commentary). G. Tod PS: Never heard a word from your subreviewer. Perhaps he knows, if that's possible, that my critique is on target... at least vis a vis my zine.
Att: Jason Mc Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 9:46:22 AM Eastern Daylight Time From: Enmarge To: email@example.com Jason, Bravo to you and APR! (Please print this letter!) I have no problem at all telling you this. You are rare because most journals, academic or other, would never print harsh criticism directed at the journal in question. You have. You are rare and must be praised for it. Just the same, I don't really think your reviewer's rebuttal was convincing. Many thanks for the issue. Best, G. Tod Slone, Ed. THE AMERICAN DISSIDENT www.geocities.com/enmarg Subj: Jason M. Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 8:55:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time From: Enmarge To: firstname.lastname@example.org Jason, Here's a comment on that great piece in APR, “How Liberals Denounce Modern Dissidents”! I have written similar pieces, even a poem on the subject. I have often thought it so much more challenging to confront the liberal power herd, than that on the right wing. My pieces have been rejected so many times because I always put hard truth above getting published. I have specialized in exposing Academic and literary corruption. Of course, I receive the same answers the writer of that piece received but from academic publications. It is so weird, isn’t it? Where did these people go wrong?… and some of them are quite intelligent. How can they walk around with blinders? I’m ever baffled. I’ve kept a list of all the things I’ve been called from “angry” to “full of personal animus.” Social psychologist C. Tarvis insightfully notes: “To those in power, all whistle-blowers, dissenters and boat-rockers are obnoxious, at least while they rem ain lone rebels... The ideas that rebels expound tend not to be attacked by those in power. The latter are inclined rather to kill the messenger by character assassination. For example, one rebel was said to be a womanizer... bitter... disloyal... and even, in the words of one accuser, dangerously mentally ill.” I did discover a flaw in the article, one that hit home. Certainly, for that very reason I discovered it. I recall all too well the radical professors at several colleges where I taught who refused to help expose the intrinsic corruption in those institutions. Such lack of reaction seems widespread. Academics will always openly criticize when the subject is distant. In any case, the author should have added in the article regarding certain radical writers who do not dare write the truth for fear of inevitable “career-death” that that very taboo no doubt affects the potency of their writing. Since he mentioned Orwell on several occasions, hell, let’s not forget what Orwell said in that regard: “There is no such thing as genuinely nonpolitical literature, and least of all in an age like our own, when fears, hatreds, and loyalties of a directly political kind are near to the surface of everyone’s consciousness. Even a single taboo can have an all-round crippling effect u pon the mind, because there is always the danger that any thought which is freely followed up may lead to the forbidden thought.” (“The Prevention of Literature”) Unfortunately, the author seems to condone radicals not speaking the rude truth when “career-death” may result. But those who have the podium and do not speak out for fear of “career-death” are really cowards, radical or not and with ephemeral ideals. They do much harm because they are in a position to speak and be heard, unlike so many others. Let them, in the words of Emerson, “stand upright and speak the rude truth in all its ways,” and fuck their careers! I’ve done this and am still breathing and enjoying the universe. Sure my career has been a bullshit rocky road, but fuckit and fuck those who have fucked me! I’d speak out again against them. Best, G. Tod Slone, Ed. THE AMERICAN DISSIDENT www.geocities.com/enmarge