The American Dissident: Literature, Democracy & Dissidence

New Pages—Free Speech in Peril

Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.
          —Chief Justice William O Douglas

Casey HillThe selector begins, ideally, with a presumption in favor of liberty of thought; the censor does not. The aim of the selector is to promote reading not to inhibit it; to multiply the points of view which will find expression, not limit them; to be a channel for communication, not a bar against it.
           —Lester Asheim, “Not Censorship but Selection” (Wilson Library Bulletin, 1953)

All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of all censorships. There is the whole case against censorships in a nutshell.
           —George Bernard Shaw operates as one of a number of modern-day LITERARY CENSORING ORGANIZATIONS akin to the Catholic Church of yesteryear which put together the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.  It refuses to even list The American Dissident with other literary journals listed on its website.  If only one could somehow convince Casey and Denise Hill, editors of, to just contemplate the above quote. "One of the 15 websites that could shake the world... NewPages is the web's alt-press playground," notes Utne Reader.  Well, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum certainly shook the world in its day.  Democracy continues its downward spiral thanks in part to the democracy-indifferent literary managers of New Pages

Depicted as literary "filterers" on the front cover of The American Dissident #9 (see above) are Denise and Casey Hill.  In the filter is a copy of The American Dissident, while inside the coffee pot are Agni, Poetry, Rattle, etc.

The following is the correspondence initiated by the editor's unsuccessful request to have The American Dissident listed on 

From:  "New Pages" <> 
To:  "George Slone" <>
Date:  Mon, 20 Mar 2006 16:22:40 +0000

Thanks for the note.  We like to see a copy of the magazines we list in our Guide.  Please send the current issue to:

PO Box 1580
Bay City, MI 48706
Casey Hill

From:  "Denise Hill" <>
Date:  Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:23:53 +0000

George-Thank you for your interest in New Pages. I'm sorry to say I'm not sure what constitutes "quite a while ago" from what you said in your letter - I can tell you we do get backed up on books and listing them on New and Noteworthy because we receive so many of them. It can sometimes take up to 3 months for a book we receive to be listed there, if it is selected for listing at all. The publisher makes that decision and then I post the blurbs on New and Noteworthy based on what he has given me. If the book is not selected for post, it may not have met the criteria for the site, which is explained on our FAQ page.
Denise Hill, Editor


From:  "George Slone" <>
To:  "Denise Hill" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 07:36:05 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks for the response.  So, it might have been rejected and I'll never know the reason why?  Sounds very academic... ivory tower too me. 
While I'm at it, it also sounds very undemocratic and unAmerican.


From:  "Casey Hill" <>
Date:  Wed, 27 Sep 2006 17:10:12 -0400
Dear Professor Slone.
Denise forwarded your e to me.  "Academic... ivory tower." Feel free to save this lame sort of name-calling in the future. No wait, there will be no future correspondence (see below).  Denise thought you were inquiring about a book. Thus her response about the long lag time before books arriving and getting noted. Then we realized it was a magazine you had sent. We get a lot of magazines in for review here. I do an initial sorting of those that appear worth the time to pass on to reviewers, and those that do not. Yours most likely fell into the "do not" pile. I'm not sure as I don't really remember seeing it. It's just my "academic" guess. It's just the way it goes, Professor.  Feel free to continue sending review copies of new issues. Now that I've heard from you, maybe I'll run the next issue by a couple of reviewers to see what they think. If they don't like it, we don't review it. We don't believe in posting negative reviews just for the joy of it. We want to recommend worthwhile mags to our readers. I'm guessing you don't agree with our choices, but such is life. We will not engage in any further emails with you.

From:  "George Slone" <>
To:  "Casey Hill" <>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 07:10:47 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Herd Member of the Academic/Literary Industrial Complex, Casey Heil... or is that Hill, Furher of New Pages:  Lame?  Lame is running away from challenge.  You run like a frightened poodle.  Didn't your mommy ever teach you:  sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never harm me?  No.  She taught you:  be offended and seek refuge in the unchallenging comfort of like high-brow minds.  You cannot dialogue like most of those academic and unoriginal lit mag editors you advertise on your site, each proclaiming itself original and cutting edge.  You and they are a sad joke on the citizenry... on students of English literature.  If you receive money from the taxpayer- funded NEA, you ought to be held to keep your ivory-tower doors open.. to everyone.  Yet anything exterior to your orthodox mindset automaton-ously becomes highly upsetting for you such that you must close the doors to discourse (the very agora of ideas)... like a feeble child.  What you seek to do is shameful. By the way, I've had contact with scores and scores of your ilk... you never cease to disgust me.  Your total incuriosity and febrility never cease to amaze me.  Well, New Pages (this correspondance) will be up on The American Dissident website shortly.  No need to thank me for the link.  Unlike you, I am always open to discourse.  Below is a poem I wrote for you and your ilk.

From:  "George Slone" <>
To:  "Casey Hill" <>
Subj:  NEW PAGES: This Month's Cartoon Feature
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 07:27:06 -0800 (PST)

The American Dissident is proud to announce that NEW PAGES.COM is the subject of this month's Literary Rogue's cartoon feature. BTW, If you choose to comment, I will post your comment for unlike you I fear not criticism. 

From:  "Casey Hill" <>
Subj:  He or she who fears criticism will NEVER IMPROVE.
Date:  Wed, 1 Nov 2006 17:33:46 -0500

George. (Or is it Gee Tod?) Stop being such a dork. We don't fear criticism. When did this ever become about that? Clearly, only in your mind. You obviously thrive on this image you have of yourself as a) a good writer, and b) a dissident. (You really cheapen the image I have when I read the word "dissident" by the way. Would American Pisser and Moaner be a little more accurate?) So I had no intentions of replying to you. But Denise insisted. Are you suggesting that *any* criticism from *anyone* will help someone improve? I know you get a kick out of people writing back to you. Then you get to write back again at greater length, throw out more of your "un-American" "ivory tower" "censor" crap. And then you get to post it on your site. And that is about the only way your writing gets posted on the web. And the small group of your friends will read it and think you are so clever. We had a group like that come to our door last night. But Denise tossed a bit of candy into the pillow cases they were carrying and they said "thank-you" and went away. We have a bit left over from Halloween yesterday. If we send it to you, will *you* go away? (Thought not.) Denise LOVES the cartoon. Absolutely thrilled with it. We'll be printing it out, framing it, and hanging it up here at NewPages World Headquarters. If the spirits move you, feel free to send us a signed print. We're showing our friends. Hell, if we were to link to it in (which we will not do) you would no doubt get more hits than your site normally receives in any other month. We have several lit mags that tell us that after Google and Yahoo, sends more hits to their site than any other website. That is really what we love to do: send readers to websites of quality literary and alternative magazines and presses. And we've done that over 500,000 times this year. What would you have us do, George? List every publication? No criteria? No method to our madness? You want lists that include links to thousands of mags -- well, you are in luck. There are several. Go spend some time at them. Count the dead links. Count the websites that come up where the mag hasn't posted anything new in years. Count the sites that are full of pop-up ads. Count the sites that are just plain badly designed (I'm sure you can identify with those). Then come back  and check out the NewPages Guide to Literary Magazines -Complete Listings. You tell me which great lit mags we don't list. Maybe they haven't contacted us. Maybe I just haven't found them. But you give me the names, Gee Tod, and I'll look at their sites, ask for a sample, and  make a decision. In the grand scheme of things, every mention of on the web contributes in some small way to our overall page ranking with the major search engines, so thanks for that too, eh? Because when people find, they'll find links to the best lit mags being published today. From larger university-based mags to small, totally independent literary publications. It's what we do. We are a "filter," although you clearly have more fun with the word "censor." Ha! It is because we do a good job at filtering that amateur magazines like American Dissident aren't listed. There are plenty of other places to list your mag. No wait. It appears that there aren't that many places willing to link to you. (I just looked at your reciprocal  linkpage. A bit underwhelmingly skimpy, and by the way: you've got some dead links in the short list.) George, look. This has been fun. I've really wasted a huge chunk of time writing to you, but I can always blame Denise now. Thanks again for the cartoon. We will get many smiles out of it. As the toad says: We will not engage in further discourse with you. I'm sure I could get more pleasure by going outside, finding a big branch that has fallen & beating myself over the head with it.

From:  "George Slone" <>
To:  "Casey Hill" <>
Subj:  RE: He or she who fears criticism will NEVER IMPROVE.
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 09:50:04 -0800 (PST)
Woe to him seeks to please rather than appall.
            —Herman Melville

Dear Denise and Casey:  Thank you for responding.  Let Denise stand up as her own person, rather than as your shadow.  The truth is YOU DO CENSOR.  You just call censoring “filtering,” which is the kind of euphemism politicians and businessmen tend to appreciate as in “spin” and “mismanagement” for “lies.”  You decide which lit journals appear and which lit journals do not appear on your mega-hit site listing.  You should make that clear up front.  Why get so uptight when someone simply states the facts… that you, for example, act as literary censors.  You help determine what lit journals will be given voice the agora of ideas and literature.  Are you ashamed of your role as lit censors?  If so, why do you do it?  You write:  “We are a ‘filter,’ although you clearly have more fun with the word ‘censor.’”  Yes, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one to get a chuckle out of that sentence! But how sad and piteous the word “filter.”  It brings to mind the new internet programs that enable parents to “filter” out and otherwise keep their children from growing up.  Thanks to your “filter,” the (adult) children will only be exposed to smiley-faced PG lit journals. Well, that would have made a good cartoon too, n’est-ce pas?!  You write that you (as GRAND CENSORS OF QUALITY) will only list “websites of quality literary and alternative magazines and presses.”  Talk about egomania!  What are your qualifications?  What makes you qualified to make such determinations?  Do you have a B.A. in business or marketing maybe?  What is sad is that the lot of academic lit editors you list on your site probably don’t even have the sense to ask such a question.  You write: “Count the sites that are just plain badly designed (I'm sure you can identify with those).”  Provide at least one example of poor design on my site… otherwise your critique is meaningless. What makes your design better than mine. Besides “design” is but a superficial element. Compare substance instead!  Your site is merely a listing.  The site of The American Dissident is so much more than that—it questions and challenges the establishment order, the listings et al, while yours simply serves that order.  BTW, try employing a little logic and fact in your argumentation, rather than immature ridiculing of a person’s name (e.g. , “Gee Tod”) and facile and meaningless name-calling (e.g., “dork,” “American Pisser and Moaner”) which only indicate that you have no argument at all.  How sad your ilk seems always to dismiss unapprouved critics (i.e., critics who refuse to toady to the establishment-order literati machine) as “moaners” and similar unoriginal epithets.  How sad for democracy and how sad for literature… for the unapprouved critics are the only ones who are going to tell it as it is… and by doing so the only ones who might effect change directly or indirectly.  My comment on your being fearful of criticism is based on the fact of your knee-jerk reaction to my suggestion that was censoring and not being democratic.  In fact, NewPages seems more like the same OLD—backslapping and self-congratulating—PAGES.  Yes, I did put that fear of censorship remark in the subject line of my email to tempt you to respond, for normally your ilk never does respond because people like you would much rather engage in rampant backslapping and self-congratulating and otherwise continue life in the ho-hum, comfy, high-brow lit cocoon.  You write falsely:  “And that is about the only way your writing gets posted on the web.”  Here’s a couple of examples (hopefully, you will not remove Rattle from your list for having included my writing): and  Just the same, it is very difficult to interest literati with websites because my verb is harsh and does not toady.  You attempt to write denigratingly but it comes off as nothing but childish:  “We have a bit left over from Halloween yesterday. If we send it to you, will *you* go away? (Thought not.)”  Literary forums should be open, not closed to those whose opinions you, as GRAND CENSORS, do not like… yet that’s how you and your ubiquitous ilk prefer it. Your modus operandi is undemocratic and harmful to democracy and literature. It is the kind of orthodoxy I fully detest… the kind that has become rampant in America ’s institutions of higher education today.  You write with American-inculcated ignorance regarding size and popularity:  “[if we listed you] you would no doubt get more hits than your site normally receives in any other month.”  I am not surprised that you seem to equate quantity and popularity with excellence.  My goal unlike yours is not to enhance the number of “hits” and therefore the number of advertising dollars. My goal is to question and challenge you and yours.  You write:  “every mention of on the web contributes in some small way to our overall page ranking with the major search engines, so thanks for that too, eh?”  Again, it seems odd to me that anyone with a questioning and challenging mind would equate quantity with quality.  If anything, one would think the opposite. Besides, literature ought not be a business, yet that’s how you and so many other business-types want to view and make it.  And indeed you and they have been increasingly successful in that endeavor. Hopefully, though doubtfully, posterity will look upon you with scorn.  Your letter will appear in the next issue of The American Dissident because it illustrates precisely who you are and how you are participating in the abasement of literature today in America , which one day will probably consist only of… the filtered version.  You write:  “It is because we do a good job at filtering that amateur magazines like American Dissident aren't listed.”  Yes, indeed…  [No further response was received]