In the final decades of the former Soviet Union, a vibrant underground literature emerged as dissident writers circulated their own work and gradually reached larger audiences.  They called it self-publishing, or Samizdat, and it made a major contribution to the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union. 

The problem is different here in America, where we do not (yet) run the risks of physical repression.  But our language has ceased to have meaning, dignity, or beauty.  Our speech grows ever coarser, more vulgar and more delusional, and less capable of helping us face the problems before us.  

America has turned freedom of speech and the press into the freedom to inundate the nation with the ugly and vulgar, the trivial, self-obsessed and meaningless.   The antidote is not censorship or repression.  It is quality:  the recovery of meaning, dignity and beauty in language for the purpose of reasoning together, as citizens and as human beings.

Here, on this website, the freedom to be ugly, vulgar, and meaningless has no place:  thoughful, informed comments and criticisms are welcomed.  Also, since I sign my name to what I write, I prefer that you do too:  there just aren’t many good reasons not to sign your name to civilized correspondence.  

Erin Solaro


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Clear Ideas for Difficult Times

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