To Nikki Giovanni, academic poet: I’m a tough critic, not exactly a dumb fan. Nothing like good ole capitalist sell, sell, sell humility on your website, eh? I’ve done a cartoon on you and published it in The American Dissident. I’m doing another on you right now: Nikki’s Racism 101 vs. P. Maudit’s (my cartoon sobriquet) Reverse Racism 301. Would you like me to jpg it to you or are you frightened it might upset your comfortable and fragile academic pol-correct cocoon? Although I am certainly of a liberal bent I specialize in criticizing liberals (much more challenging than criticizing the Bush ilk), including racial and genre protected species. What particularly irked me about you is the following: “How was it growing up in a ghetto?” asks the white student. “I don’t know,” responds the black professor smugly, pushing the ugly stereotypes, inferring all white students are stupid and believe that all blacks grow up in ghettos.
Now, did you get that response from any students? Of course, you would hardly encourage such questioning and challenging of ivory-tower icons … like yourself. BTW, I think Maya Angelou is a pompous fraud, whereas I admire Wanda Coleman … especially for her audacious criticism of a protectedspecies fraud. Check out my website. Maybe you could get Virginia Tech’s library to subscribe if not (and certainly not) for the faculty, then for the benefit of the student population. After all, isn’t the university supposed to exist for the latter (yes, I know that the reality it’s in place for the former). PS: Wouldn’t it be interesting for you to pry open your mind a tad, step out of that mindcrunching black-feminist paradigm, and take a glimpse of what it might be like to be a white man on an all black female college campus?
After all, isn’t that what you ask your white students to do … stepping out of that white, mindcrunching paradigm? But are you big enough? I offer you that possibility. at least partially, having spent two years in the intellectually suffocating ambiance of Bennett College, where Johnnetta Cole pranced around stage in grotesque religiosity, ubiquitous backslapping, and egregious self-congratulations. I am currently writing a book on that utterly stiflying experience … and will no doubt bang my head against the brick wall in a futile attempt to get it published. Wouldn’t it be interesting to open a dialogue between a person like you and a person like me? Well, your black female colleagues at Bennett sure as hell didn’t think so. We so desperately need real, hardcore debate in academe. How many tenured colleagues do you know who would dare RISK speaking out if it meant not getting that bonus or that extra course to teach? None? Well, I was the only one at Bennett College who dared.
To the Editor, Poets & Writers, Inc.: The academic-corporate system that awards, praises, and otherwise promotes American poets and writers when obedient, civil, and wordsmithy assures mediocrity for American letters. Indeed, it assures the power and voice of an obsequious corps of mediocre poets and writers. You might wish to quote me in your magazine. Please tell me how you justify the ostracism of poets and literary journals daring to criticize literary journals, to hazard questioning the prizes and grants, to defy the known celebrity poets and rigid cannon, to brave excommunication, brave having ones discourse annulled and to brave writing without the crippling imprimatur?
Please inform me why you would never publish the essay I sent a while ago, “The Cold Passion for Truth Hunts in No Pack.” It is certainly an unusual piece. Please inform me why you cannot or refuse to even respond to such pieces with solid logical argumentation, as opposed to typical modus operandi of silence, if not blacklisting. In fact, have I been blacklisted from your publication? Sure, you’re busy. But that essay merits your attention. It exposes a whole different modus operandi for the poet. How can you justify stifling it? Why is it fine to lampoon and publish harsh criticism of politicians and institutions, but not that of poets and writers? If authored by a celebrity, I suppose you might have published it, but why do you choose to sail upon the boat of celebrity? Money! That is your Faustian deal!
To Robert Plotkin: Please send me a copy of the Patriot Act article and petition as noted in the Concord Journal. It seems there were problems prior to 9-11 in Concord, as I was arrested and incarcerated several years ago for having a non-violent dispute with a park ranger at Walden Pond, then was pushed out of the park several months later by a mounted statie because I asked the same ranger why he hated free speech so much, then several months later accosted by a statie who warned that he would incarcerate me if I put my flyer in the Thoreau shack again, then several months later by both state and town cops because I was standing by a tree holding a sign protesting the absence of free speech at the park. All of that prior to the Patriot Act …
Downtown Concord they removed the public bulletin board, which was wonderful because it was the only place I could place an opinion (the Concord Journal refuses my voice in its letters section, yet I am nonviolent, do not swear and threaten … well, except with logic perhaps). It was replaced by a padlocked window display case. See my website for details on these concerns. I’d actually be curious if the new local herd horrified by the Patriot Act would give a damn about these things.
To Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer: I read your article on Governor Pataki’s posthumous pardon of Lenny Bruce, who was convicted of uttering nasty words. In reality, we haven’t come that far at all since the 60s. Consider your aberrant, if not child-like, use of “F–” in that very article! It is the children of the 60s who are now censoring themselves … for job or whatever. Interestingly, I was arrested and incarcerated for swearing in public in front of a cop (not at the cop). I was not violent. There were no children or anyone else around. I ended up spending four hours in a cold jail cell and another four at the courthouse.
This occurred in Concord, MA. So, indeed, we have not come far at all. Maybe celebrities can get away with swearing on TV, but the common citizen can end up spending a day in jail … and learning to think twice before considering exercise of the First Amendment. This key point you egregiously failed to point out and so did the other Lenny Bruce articles. For further info on my arrest and other First-Amendment Walden Pond activities, consult my website.
To Gareth Cook, Boston Globe staff writer: I read your article, “Spam Poetry, the best example of spam prose I’ve read in recent weeks. Well, to be fair, it was informative and will probably inspire me to draw a cartoon. That said, why not do a non-spam prose piece on The American Dissident, a unique literary journal published in Concord, MA devoted to examining and exposing the dark side of the literary establishment?