The American Dissident: Literature, Democracy & Dissidence

National Coalition Against (or For) Censorship


A Brief Letter to the National Coalition Against Censorship
Joan BertinThe new censors are called “content monitors” or “moderators.”  Replacing the term “censors” with euphemisms, however, does not change the essential modus operandi of “monitors” and “moderators” as gatekeepers of information and viewpoint discriminators (i.e., censors).
In any case, who will decry the inevitable intellectual “censorship” exercised by them, as well as by perfect, ideologically-untainted organizations like the ALA, NCAC, NEA, National Endowment for the Arts, and ACLU, which advocate freedom of speech?
What the latter respond, when questioned and challenged with regards their own intellectual censorship and/or apathy toward censorship of undesirable information, tends to be deafening silence or semantic deflection. Take the ALA, as a pathetic example. Its Librarian Bill of Rights statement is laudatory: “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view...” However, present the ALA with an example of a holier-than-thou librarian, who clearly contradicts the statement, and it will reject informing the public of such librarian hypocrisy in its American Libraries Magazine. Indeed, how many librarians indulge in virtual and intellectual “censorship”? Sadly, we’ll never know because the ALA will not report on the existence of anything but perfect librarianship.
Now, what is the difference between patrons asking a librarian to remove a book or periodical and a librarian refusing to include a book or periodical? None at all! Now, would not Banned Books Week be a lot more credible if it included criticism of the sponsors of that event, including the ALA? Sadly, being sponsors of it somehow puts them above reproach. For my lengthy discussion on these matters with James LaRue, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Constraint, uh, Freedom, see Go for it! After all, contrary to establishment opinion, curiosity did not kill the cat, PC did that.
Finally, for free-speech-advocate organizations and their leaders to improve, they must examine the smiley-face of perfection they present of themselves and need to respond to rare criticism. Sadly, criticize one of them like the NCAC, for example, in a cartoon, as I did, and it will simply ignore the critique. Now, as I asked the NCAC last year in the cartoon, how can an organization like it simultaneously be against censorship and in favor of Islam and how can its Communications Director Peter Hart be so ignorant of the First Amendment? Silence was its response. Silence was also its response regarding my written critique:  “'15 Threats to Free Speech 2015': An Egregious and Purposeful Omission."



From: George Slone <>
Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 9:30:24 AM
Subject: Censorship incident
I filled out your whole online form on reporting a censorship incident and could not find a "send" button!  Here is a description of an incident of public library censorship:  The library would not even accept a free subscription!  Its director banned me from leaving flyers on public library grounds and speaking to staff about the incident.  Is there pro-bono lawyer I could contact in my area?
I contacted Joan Bertin last year about PEN New England's refusal to respond to my grievances.  She did not respond appropriately. 
Thank you.
G. Tod Slone, PhD and Founding Editor (since 1998)
The American Dissident, a Journal of Literature, Democracy & Dissidence
A 501 c3 Nonprofit Providing a Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy
217 Commerce Rd.
Barnstable, MA 02630

Defenders of Freedom of Expression… or PC-Hypocrits? 
PEN New England, the American Library Association, National Coalition Against Censorship et al
A citizen-poet should manifest the guts to stand up alone, if need be, and decry the sometimes gross hypocrisy manifested by organizations and persons purportedly representing a higher moral ground.  Often I am criticized for not seeking to build bridges in an effort to change things for the better.  Yet how not to agree with the French adage:  plus ca change plus c’est la meme marde.  Three successive speakers of the House in my state have been federally indicted for corruption.  Some changes, eh? 
Building bridges inevitably implies compromise, which inevitably results in a diminution of truth.  The whole PC phenomenon has resulted from this.  For me, a citizen-poet should not stand for compromise, but rather for rude truth.  He or she should not be a bridge builder, but rather a rude-truth teller.  Let the politicos and academics build bridges.  He or she should not be gregarious for the comfort and cocooning gregariousness accords, but rather a loner with spine.  Today, of course, and sadly so, the citizen-poet will most likely not be a rude-truth teller, but rather a ladder climber glowing in the limelight of bridge-building “success.” 
In any case, as a citizen-poet of the rude-truth variety, it was astonishing for me to discover that PEN, “defending freedom of expression everywhere,” did not give a damn about defending my freedom of expression.  PEN New England will not even respond to my repeated correspondence!  “Our mission is to advance the cause of literature and reading in our region and to defend free expression everywhere,” it boasts.  Yes, advancing the cause of literature, as long as that literature does not concern it or its network of friends.  Same thing goes for defending freedom of expression.  Why are citizens in a free democratic society so disdainful of criticism? 
Networking cronyism seems to be the prime modus operandi in America and probably everywhere else.  It is rampant in government… and also rampant in academe and literature.  I’d criticized the director of the Concord Poetry Center, friend of the director of PEN New England, both operating out of Lesley University.  I’d criticized the directors of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Massachusetts Poetry Festival and Suffolk University Poetry Center.  Those directors, of course, were friends of the other directors.  In other words, networking cronyism helps keep critics isolated and at bay… even in the field of literature.  I am not complaining, but rather simply depicting a dismal situation… of networking cronyism.  How might the latter diminish the value of our literature and the fairness of the public grant- according machinery?  How might it serve as the basis for viewpoint discrimination? 
As a citizen-poet of the rude-truth variety, it was astonishing for me to discover that several public libraries had decided not only to prohibit my flyers on their grounds, but also to reject a free-subscription offer to The American Dissident.  Why astonishing?  Well, those libraries embraced in their collection-development statements the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” in particular:  “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.  Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”  Interestingly, one of those libraries subscribed to Poetry magazine and no other literary journals.  The American Dissident, published in the town where that library exists, presents the opposite viewpoint on poetry and literature.  I’ve talked to librarians regarding the matter, but have yet to receive a comprehensible response from any of them. 
As a citizen-poet of the rude-truth variety, it was astonishing for me to discover that the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom would not respond to my repeated correspondence regarding the above-mentioned libraries.  Evidently, it represents the intellectual freedom of only some citizens… I suspect of the PC variety. 
As a citizen-poet of the rude-truth variety, it was astonishing for me to discover that the National Coalition Against Censorship would also not respond to my grievances regarding public-library censorship.  Its director is a friend of the director of PEN New England. 
As a citizen-poet of the rude-truth variety, I could go on and on, but this should be sufficient.  After all, most citizen-poets reading this will likely not be at all interested.  That has been my sad experience.
In conclusion, the citizen-poet has to do what he or she can.  In my case, I can write letters, essays, guest editorials, poems, and even draw cartoons critical of the hypocrites rotting away free society.  That is what I do.  Will it get me “success”?  Of course, it won’t.  Will it gain me prizes and grants?  Of course, it won’t.  But it will gain me dignity… and that dignity comes from standing up alone and speaking rude truth as I see it, not as others would wish me to perceive it.  I will not bend my principles to conform to ambient corruption, to gain networking cronies and new library subscriptions.  For a list of the freedom-of-expression grievances sent to PEN, see   BTW, not one literary journal contacted would publish my 10-page essay regarding PEN.  Only one journal actually commented:  “the reviewer was very reluctant to say no” and “anything less assertive is always welcome.”  Yes, we should be less assertive… as our free society continues down the drain. 



The following essay also appears in The Global Free Press.

“’15 Threats to Free Speech 2015’: An Egregious and Purposeful Omission."


“15 Threats to Free Speech 2015”: An Egregious and Purposeful Omission

Monday, 11 January 2016 00:00 GFP Columnist - G. Tod Slone



“15 Threats to Free Speech 2015”: An Egregious and Purposeful Omission


In light of the recent veiled (ha!) threats aimed at the creators of the television show South Park… by bloggers on Revolution Muslim's website, we hereby deem May 20, 2010 as the first 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!' Do your part to both water down the pool of targets and, oh yeah, defend a little something our country is famous for (but maybe not for long? Comedy Central cooperated with terrorists and pulled the episode) the first amendment. - Molly Norris (prior to April 20, 2010)

I'm against my own concept becoming a reality.... If I had wanted to be taken seriously, I would be thrilled, but now I'm horrified because people did take it as an actual day. The one-off cartoon is not good as a long term plan because it's offensive. - Molly Norris (April 20, 2010)

………………… - Molly Norris (after April 20, 2010)

Ideology blinds.  Ideology always trumps reason and fact.  It is thus sad when ideology corrupts journalists, as it evidently and seemingly increasingly has been doing.  Facts are ignored and even suppressed.  It is also sad when ideology corrupts organizations, whose essential goal is to promote freedom of speech like PEN, American Library Association, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).  

Intrusion of ideology into the realm of freedom of speech serves to diminish freedom of speech… and often in perverted ways.  The NCAC recently published its “15 Threats to Free Speech 2015” (see  Thanks to the right-wing Washington Examiner, I was made aware of that.  I hadn’t noticed any mention of it at all in the left-wing New York Times or Washington Post.  So, that in itself is a good reason all independently-minded individuals should consult both right and left-wing media, something I do on a daily basis.  The number of stories not mentioned in the left-wing media, especially regarding Islam and its clear threat to freedom of speech, for example, is mind-boggling. With that regard, examine Vladtepesblog.  How one can argue against the clash of civilizations is equally mind-boggling.  Yet many do so regarding Islam vs. Western Democracy and usually via the great silencing tool known as Islamophobia.  Multiculti-ideology prohibits fact and reason apt to support the reality of the clash of civilizations. 

One of the NCAC’s 15 threats, in particular, “Islam ‘Indoctrination’ Hysteria,” provoked me to question and consequently challenge the NCAC.  The purported threat regarded the so-called pro-Islamic indoctrination going on in some, perhaps many, public schools, where some history textbooks, for example, provide far greater space to Islam than to other religions.  Why that was an example of hysteria is not clear at all in the brief NCAC note: 

“There’s been a wave of parental and community outrage over alleged Islamic 'indoctrination' going on in public schools. The complaints range from world history textbooks to children's book that some think paint a rosy picture of the faith. The movement is especially intense in Tennessee, and State Representative Sheila Butt wants to help by introducing a bill that would prohibit the teaching of any "religious doctrine" until the 10th grade.”

After all, is not hysteria the opposite of reality?  But what really provoked me was that it was the only Islam-related threat mentioned.  No mention of “Islamophobia Hysteria” was made, as in the media’s quick rush to judgment in the recent Texas mosque arson incident, where it turned out the arsonist was not an angry-white Islamophobe, but rather a Muslim who prayed at the mosque in question (see   Islamophobia (fear of Islam) is of course being pushed by CAIR, the current Obama administration (and previous Bush administration), and the multitude of Muslim Student Associations entrenched in the nation’s universities.  It is used like the term “racism” in a clear effort to stifle debate regarding Islam and muzzle critics of Islam.

The egregious omission in the NCAC list, which was not at all mentioned in the Washington Examiner article (see was Islam, not as a victim of anti-Islamic hysteria, but rather as a direct threat to freedom of speech.  Why that egregious omission?  Was it purposeful?  Certainly!  After all, how could the NCAC staff have forgotten about the near massacre in Garland, TX?  Surely, there must have been a behind-closed doors meeting with that regard and a conscious decision made not even to mention Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s American Freedom Defense Initiative “Draw the Prophet” cartoon contest, where two Islamic terrorists came to murder freedom of speech itself.  Both the latter were thankfully killed by law enforcement before they could massacre cartoonist’s et al.  As a cartoonist myself, the one cartoon I know in my heart to be by far the most dangerous to draw is caricature of Islam and Muhammad.  I thus pushed myself, in support of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in 2015, to sketch such a drawing for the front cover of the journal I publish.  

What is truly sad today is how so many will cowardly argue that when a person expresses an idea they do not like that such expression is somehow not an instance of freedom of speech, but rather one of hate speech.  Yet because hate speech is such a nebulous concept (hate for you, might be free expression for me and vice versa), there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, as clearly noted by constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh (see  Sadly, Europe and Canada have opted for the opposite direction by enacting hate-speech legislation. 

Those who are quick to proclaim “hate speech” do NOT know what freedom of speech means at all.  To somehow argue that “Draw the Prophet” was not freedom of speech, as many in the media did, is indeed a manifestation of blatant ignorance.  That cartoon contest was certainly a far greater memorial to the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists than the vacuous Je Suis Charlie manifestation held in Paris and led by political hacks from Merkel, Cameron to Hollande, who are far from advocates of free speech.  At least Obama, for once in his life, chose not to be a flaming hypocrite and not attend the manifestation. 

For those who have forgotten, Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris (see quotes above) no longer exists today—entirely disappeared in America—because she’d suggested an “Everyone Draw Muhammad Day” in the light or rather darkness of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  The NCAC fails egregiously to even mention the attempts to silence the speech of those like Pamela Geller, who has had to fight court battles to be able to present opposing bus ads, for example, to those presented by CAIR, as in My Jihad is a Big Smiley Face (see  Of course, the NCAC is well aware of that ad campaign and court battles, of which some have been successful (see  Why have they been successful?  The First Amendment is why! 

In part, those free-speech Muslim assassins who came to Garland, TX succeeded, for the media cowered and refused in large part to publish the winning cartoon drawn by Bosch Fawstin.  Amazingly, for example, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, one of the NCAC’s Banned Books Week co-sponsors, would not only not publish the cartoon but wouldn’t even mention the winner’s name (with that regard, read my “conversation” with CBLDF director, Charles Brownstein here  Of course, the left-wing pro-Islam, anti-free speech New York TimesWashington Post and others also refused to publish the winning cartoon and wouldn’t even publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that resulted in the assassination of the cartoonists.  Shame on them!

Today, Islam is the greatest threat to freedom of speech here in America, and the NCAC wouldn’t even include it in its “15 Threats to Free Speech 2015.” In that sense, the NCAC has itself become a threat to free speech.  Ideology blinds… even professed warriors of free speech…