Sunday, April 03, 2005

The American Dream (cont'd)

Tono Rondone, in comments to my original post about Arthur Miller and the American Dream (see below), takes a dim view of America. I've been around for quite a few decades and have traveled a bit throughout our fair land and I honestly don't recognize the place Tono describes. Maybe he should take a look at what Portuguese poet Paulo Jose Miranda has to say on the subject. Here are some excerpts courtesy of Citizen Smash.


  1. Hi Frank:

    I've lived in San Francisco, New York City, New Orleans, Phoenix, Chicago and Las Vegas. I was a West Point Cadet during the Vietnam War, and, I guess you could say, after having written six books, two screenplays and recording three albums as a multi instrumentalist singer and songwriter, that I definitely do NOT take a dim view of the country that I have crisscrossed in cars, boats and planes.

    Why in heaven's name would I bother to shake the tree of less concerned individuals than to rally them to the truth and light?

    Just because a person has been fortunate (and I have starved in this country too, not its fault), what has got to do with pointing out its philosophical, moral and ethical flaws and asking for a remake?

    Our ancient constitution claims that right for the people, ha ha! Just like it claims the right to bear arms, while kids murder each other in the classrooms.

    Frank, this medium is so unfair. I get to write in a two inch space, with out the aid of a spell checker or any other means to edit my work.

    email my directly at and check out my website

  2. Good to hear from you Tono. I have been so busy trying to take next week off I haven't had time to blog -- I hope to do a lot this coming week, which is one reason I took off. So that's why I haven't responded.
    I wasn't aware, I'm ashamed to admit, that one is restricted in terms of space when it comes to posting a comment. Guess I'll find out if I keep typing.
    I am certainly not unaware that this country, like all places inhabited by humans, has its share of problems. I just think that one of our glories is that we tend to deal with them. Race relations in this country have improved vastly since I was a kid -- that was more than 40 years ago.
    I guess what I was trying to get across in my original post is that I read people like Don DiLillo portraying life in the suburbs as this angst-ridden void, and when I visit people in the suburbs they seem happy enough to me (I live in the city and would not want to return to the suburbs, where I lived for five years, but that's because I just find the city more convenient. I don't like having to drive everywhere to do anything.)
    I hear complaints about Americans' working too much and not knowing how to enjoy themselves, etc. I work a lot -- worked 11 hours in the office today, in fact, but I do that because I love my job. And I do know how to enjoy myself.
    I read books portraying evangelicals as uncaring bigots. Most I've met have been wonderful people. I've met more closed-minded artists than I have close-minded Christians.
    By the way, are any of your books recent?

  3. Hi Frank:

    Yes, The Martyrs, as seen on and (do a search under my name, Tono Rondone)was just published, January 2005. And I've barely sold a book . . .

    Gosh, I wonder why?

    What I wanted to express and perhaps didn't about this country is that we, as the greatest and most powerful, most affluent and most, well, forget the superlatives, but if this country IS the greatest, than it is the responsibility of every American who loves their country to try to make it better still.

    In truth, the best must work harder, terribly hard, to become even better, harder than the mediocre or second string of course, because nothing stands still in the universe. You're either expanding or contracting. So if you're huge, it's incumbent upon you to become even more enormous. In spirit, let me add, not in acquisitions.

    To dissent is not un American. In fact, I'd say it's very American. Early American.

    It is extremely tedious to have a country run by millionaires pretending they have the best interest of the people at heart. What do the rich know of the poor and the poorly educated's plight? Extremely tedious to watch millionaire football players, basketball players, movie stars, etc., while corporate millionaire giants run this country into the ground in order to fatten their already huge coffers.

    Thirty thousand BELL helicopters in Vietnam -- was that what the war was all about? -- one of which a good friend of mine was blown out of at the ripe old age of seventeen. Or heroin out of the Golden Triangle?

    The military industrial complex equals profit over people (Chomsky). War over there equals (and it always is, mostly, so far, for lucky US-A)an artificially lower unemployment rate and maybe a lower birth rate among the poor and racially discriminated against and disenfrancised. And I am against it all. We all know that now is the time of the PAX AMERICANA rolling through the Eastern world to pillage their wealth of oil and other national treasures, just like Rome did millenia ago. Where are all the artifacts of ancient Babylon today?

    Christ said, "The meek shall inherit the earth." If you believe in that sort of thing, the historical accuracy of certain portions of the Bible, that is. Well, what will Emperor Bush inherit, dude? The ancient sacred scrolls of the magi?

    Let me address just one further issue here, if you will bear with me.

    Art in America. I'll sum it up for you. If you're an artist in America, you either starve or get out of art. Our culture is daily being driven into the same scalding crucible, melted down into the same homogenous maisma of mass media corporate propoganda - - or, it doesn't get its day at court at all.

    Back in Roosevelt's era he had the good sense to enact the WPA, the Works Projects Administration, which gave real money (millions) to support artists in America.

    But now, Mr. Wilson, I'm not even eligible for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts because my books are self published! Are you kidding? Whom more than someone like me, who not only writes, edits, designs the covers and text, prints and publishes and promotes his own books, whom more than me deserves a heads up from my country?

    I'm also not eligible for the National Book Award. You see a trend here? NATIONAL Endowment. NATIONAL book award.

    It's because the media giants, the powers that be, don't want independent minded artistic individuals to succeed in this country any longer, and the spirit of individual entrepeneurship, while touted as the American Dream, is in actuality being driven into oblivion by the corporate/government monopolies.

    Obviously, I could go on.

    How about this? How about giving me a job? I just had my fourth daughter, and my first grandson is eight months old (pictures on my the website, last page.) I haven't seen a paycheck or a dime from my work in a decade. My inheritance and savings are exhausted, I'm facing financial ruin soon, and there is no light at the end of this tunnel, sir. I've not gotten one review from the media. I'm on the outside looking in.

    I'll gladly send you a book for free or whatever. Just to show you that I'm what I say I am.

    Thanks Frank for having the courage and conviction to open up your heart and mind to America --maybe you're the kind of person that makes this country great!

    Sin cera (without wax in Latin)

    Tono Rondone

  4. Anonymous12:19 AM

    once again frank, you're not. you're full of bull