“According to Campbell and Manning, victimhood culture engenders “competitive victimhood,” incentivizing even privileged people to claim that they are victims of, for example reverse discrimination. According to Claire Lehmann, Manning and Campbell's culture of victimhood sees moral worth as largely defined by skin color and membership in a fixed identity group, such as LGBTIQ, Muslims, or indigenous peoples.
Manning and Campbell also argue that victimhood culture dominates university campuses where academic freedom is endangered by paramount concerns about “safety” and “sensitivity.”
Milton is the philosopher poet of Truth and Freedom. We know that both issues are highly relevant today as opposing sides in the world claim that they alone are right and the opposing side wrong. Both extremes seem to want to suppress the thoughts and expression of those with whom they disagree. Righteousness on both sides is rampant. But as Milton said: “Let her [Truth] and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing.” ― John Milton, Areopagitica
“They are the troublers, they are the dividers of unity, who neglect and don't permit others to unite those dissevered pieces which are yet wanting to the body of Truth.” ― John Milton, Areopagitica
THE BACK STORY
I think it was in January 2020 when I learned that SAMLA was having its annual conference:
Theme, MILTON AND SCANDAL at the SAMLA Coference
“Milton is surrounded by scandal from religious heresy to political dissent to aesthetic iconoclasm. In Early Modern Studies, contemporary criticism, or the classroom, Milton remains a pointed example of SAMLA’s theme, Scandal! Literature and Provocation: Breaking Rules, Making Texts. In both his prose and poetry, Milton fashions texts by bending and breaking both form and matter across religion, politics, science, and literature. The Milton session invites abstracts on any aspect of Milton Studies, but scandalous and provocative proposal are particularly welcome. Please submit abstracts by May 15, 2020, to D. Geoffrey Emerson at email@example.com.”
In a prior year they really seemed to want me to participate. So, I did not think that I was especially persona non grata. So I paid for a prominent ad in the back cover for my Milton in Outer Space book and I intended to have a table at the conference with the book, postcards and “propaganda.”
ABOUT LINDALL’S MILTON IN OUTER SPACE
The light and the dark, God and Satan, percolate in the subconscious and in their excess ejaculate irrational desires and fears - the fountain of surrealism. The Christian Whites had enslaved the black race and sent them to work in plantations in the new world. Slavery is not new. The Pharos enslaved the Jews. The Greeks enslaved the Persians, and the Romans enslaved the Greeks. We whites not longer enslave the blacks, but black people still feel the bondage and oppression. Blacks are still struggling to be accepted and equal. Midway through the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ... But I've come to believe we're integrating into a burning house.”. Bienvenido Bones Banez said in his recent verses, “build your own house and then you are truly free.” I agree with him!
Today on college campuses Social Justice Warriors fight against what they call “institutional racism.” For many SJW’s all whites are racist and cannot be otherwise. So the fight is against white people or whiteness itself not just an unequal system of justice. That belief or attitude can only lead to racial conflict and no good outcome. Milton in Outer Space explores this.
Because of the theme of scandal I emailed SAMLA:
From: Terrance Lindall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 3:00 PM
To: English Department Samla <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: SAMLA 92 CFPs
I love the theme "SCANDAL!" That is actually what I did on the Milton Lists a year ago with my "Milton in Outer Space"www.johnmiltoninouterspace.com
The left wing professors were outraged. I expect all that will clear up when cancel culture is canceled. A month ago I created a Paradise Lost online board game. Maybe you know a way to promote it: www.wahcenter.info
Best, Terrance Lindall
After a few months I was surprised by the following email:
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: English Department Samla <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, May 4, 2020 at 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: SAMLA 92 CFPs
To: Terrance Lindall <email@example.com>
It came to my attention that you had purchased a prominent ad in our conference’s program. After reviewing in January the materials you sent along in this email, I have refunded your ad payment. “Milton in Outer Space” is not in keeping with the nature of this organization.
As such, you can consider SAMLA a den of outraged left wing professors and any further business between us impossible.
Dan Abitz, Associate Director
So I replied:
To: Dan Abitz and the Committee of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
Thank you very much for informing me that SAMLA has refused my prominent ad in their 2020 program and admitting that SAMLA is a “den of outraged left wing professors.” I realized some time ago that universities were becoming that “den,” not only in English literature, but in departments of philosophy, psychology, social studies, etc., etc. Remarkably they now even have course called "math for social justice." I began to wonder about that imbalance and realized that when a department leans left, the hiring committees vet candidates for their left wing credentials. Thus the major universities have become communist/socialist hotbeds whose mission is not to offer scholarship to students, but to brainwash and proselytize them, religious conversion, if you will, in the ways of their god Karl Marx…”for the good of the people…and by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.” I wonder what kind of concentration camp you have in mind for me, or will you dispose of me as an unwanted appendage on the body politic?
I further emailed Dan Abitz of SAMLA:
Since Milton is my specialty, I was much chagrined that the professors who teach Milton expound upon his work such as Areopagitica without admitting and even promoting the worthiness of the idea about truth, if the left wing Social Justice Warriors have “Truth,” that “Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?” ― John Milton, Areopagitica
Obviously, you and your cohorts fear the open encounter by denying my voice! Thus, ostensively, you do not champion TRUTH!
In the 1960’s the left was all for free speech in opposing the Vietnam war. Now, with the left having cooped the universities, they have done a full 180 degrees and will not countenance any dissenting voices such as mine. Thus, for all the above, SAMLA is disingenuous and a shame in the arena of higher education. It is an example, though, of what is wrong in the field of education! I will use that example!
Of course you can make amends for your transgression and offer an open apology to me. The apology must be read by you personally at the opening ceremony of SAMLA 2020 before the assembled guests. I will graciously accept that apology.
I humbly await your reply.
Milton in Outer Space
I further sent Dan and the Governance of SAMLA
and many others this:
From: Terrance Lindall
Subject: Never been so delighted by being rejected!
Date: From Terrance Lindall:
My recent exchange with SAMLA 92 has been a real boost. I am now working on a book about my scandalous exploits with publishers, art communities, and scholarly organizations! Most wanted to squash me like a bug. I am still here, bigger than ever. They all provided the meat for my gristmill. Now understand that I do think the organizations with whom I have had these interesting exchanges are exemplary in their own fashion and are worthy, but they are composed of timid and narrow minded folks who do to want to rock the boat or shake the tree lest they, like tall poppies, get "cut down." I fully understand!
In this instance SAMLA had a call for their 2020 conference was stated as follows:
The theme of SAMLA 92—Scandal! Literature and Provocation: Breaking Rules, Making Texts—invites us to think through the optics of scandal, transgression, and rebellion, as these themes apply to literary, historical, political, and interdisciplinary inquiries, reading practices, and pedagogical innovation. What defines scandal? In what ways do texts (literary, theoretical, and linguistic) break with canonical codes and traditions to challenge societal norms and to offer alternate readings of experience? In what ways and to what ends have scandals served as the springboard for creation? How do scandals elevate the visibility of individuals and communities? To what degree does creation depend on getting out of one’s comfort zone—as an artist, as a reader, as a spectator, or as an educator or student.
MY PROPOSAL WAS NOT IN THEIR SOCIALIST COMFORT ZONE...THEIR "SAFE PLACE."
In my art community an art critic wrote: "Under the direction of “eccentric anarchist” Terrance Lindall, the WAH Center presents Brave Destiny in the fall of 2003. Bombastically billed as the largest Surrealist exhibition in history, Brave Destiny includes nearly 400 artists, with big names like H. R. Geiger and Ernst Fuchs taking part. Though originally skeptical of the gamy tang of this “outmoded” genre, I’m now thinking that Brave Destiny could, in part, be credited with many local artists’ current infatuation with Pop Surrealism."
Earlier than that, Richard Snyder, president of the largest publishing house and called "the most powerful man in publishing" at the time wrote a letter to me saying "...you are not qualified to enter our industry or any other." He was fired a year later.
After I suggested to submit my very scandalous Milton in Outer Space to SAMLA 92 and purchased their premier ad spot in their program, they disinvited me, just as Milton Lists did the same a couple years ago. This works out better since my project will get a lot more publicity than that ad. My book is humorous and treats the players gently (life has been good to me and I am not vindictive).
May 8, 2020 4:37:14 PM EDT