Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line
Dealing with the question: Should We Retract Our Characterization of Milton Acorn
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
In his letter in this issue, ex-CLMer Chris Faiers criticizes Alive for attacking Milton Acorn for being a drunk. He goes on to state that Acorn is not a drunk. In the September 28, 1976 issue of The Ontarion (student newspaper at the University of Guelph). Acorn is interviewed and this same subject is touched upon. He says: “But I am not a degenerate, as that magazine Alive seems to think. I had an alcohol problem in my thirties, but when I realized I had it, I managed to taper off and become quite a normal drinker... I have definitely never crawled on the floors of taverns, even in the days when I was an alcoholic. My feet were very steady. I could move around lithefully on my feet and be (to all appearances) completely normal, when I was actually totally unconscious, in a blackout. So that thing in Alive about me crawling on the floors of taverns is not true....”
What about the “CLM”?Nowehere in that interview does Mr. Acorn mention the CLM with which he has been closely associated for several years. However, other ex-CLMers have joined, verbally, with Chris Faiers in expressing concern that Alive has attacked Mr. Acorn, and they have described him as “a hero to the Canadian people”. We have promised these ex-CLMers that we will print a qualified retraction for those who assumed that we had attacked Milton Acorn for being a drunk, crawling around on tavern floors.
The article “Degenerates Are Not Heroes” in Alive 49 pointedly referred to the fact that Milton Acorn had lost his “People’s Poet” medal in Reuben’s Tavern in Toronto, where it stayed (in the cash register) for a year and a half. If Mr. Acorn truly deserved the “People’s Poet” medal surely he would have been justified to crawl around tavern floors looking for it! Our point was not that Mr, Acorn is (or is not) a drunk but that only a degenerate poet would accept something called the “People’s Poet” medal from the likes of Zionist Irving Layton. Further, and to put it bluntly, we apologise to all those who thought that we called Milton Acorn a drunkard. We called him a degenerate, and that is not the same thing. We also called htm “a thorough-going national chauvinist” and a “gutter crawling collaborator with the likes of Zionist Irving Layton” These charges do not seem to have offended either Acorn or those others who are just emerging from the murky shadows of that national chauvinist and social-fascist organization called the “Canadian Liberation Movement”.
He’s had a problem with Alive for yearsIn May 1973, Milton Acorn wrote to the editor of another Canadian literary publication.
Addressing that man he said:
Alcoholism is a disease, degeneracy is a crime! We ask again, what kind of hero is this!