“Joe’s Auto Graveyard” Walker Evans (1935) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.


As It Ought To Be

Founded in 2009 by Matt Gonzalez, Jim Dorenkott, and Okla Elliott, AIOTB is a progressive forum which hopes to encourage humane thought and action related to contemporary political and cultural matters. The writers do not belong to a particular political party, nor are they expected to adhere to any set program. They all value progressive democratic principles, respect different viewpoints, and seek common ground while maintaining a healthy skepticism for unnecessary compromise.

Work that originally appeared in AIOTB has gone on to be reprinted in such venues as Boston Globe, Counterpunch, and Huffington Post. We encourage editors to contact us about reprinting works appearing on the site. There is no fee to reprint; all we ask for is acknowledgment of original publication in AIOTB and full author attribution. To contact us about reprints, please email us at inquiries.asitoughttobe@gmail.com

We have a number of regular contributors, including Yahya T. Ali, Thomas Baughman, Christopher Carrico, Raul Clement, John Dunn, Andreas Economakis, Gabriel Gudding, Liam Hysjulien, Billee Sharp, Eve Toliman, Letitia Trent, and John Unger Zussman. We also regularly feature guest columnists.

Chase Dimock became the Managing Editor in 2017 after the passing of co-founder Okla Elliott. Sivan Butler-Rotholz serves as the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series. For all questions about submissions, please contact us at inquiries.asitoughttobe@gmail.com

We are committed to publishing both experienced and inexperienced writers. We seek, above all, authentic perspectives and want to democratize discourse however possible. Of course, the opinions expressed are solely those of the writers.

-Matt Gonzalez & Okla Elliott (C0-Founders)


Statue of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), American revolutionary and pamphleteer, in his hometown of Thetford, Norfolk, England by sculptor Sir Charles Wheeler.

“A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.”

–Thomas Paine, “The Rights of Man”, part II, chapter V (1792)

11 Responses to About

  1. Dear Matt,
    I attended several of your Art Evenings at City Hall “back in the day,” though we never had an opportunity to speak to each other.
    You may, perhaps, find my writing (I was a two=time National Endowment for the Arts Fellow) and/or sculpture (a more recent development) to be of interest. Please see my site at Redroom.com. FYI, I’m currently at work on a very ambitious biography, and my sculpture will be part of a group show through month of October at a new North Beach gallery — Gallery 28, 1228 Grant Avenue. All best, B. A. Szerlip (Alex)

  2. Chris says:

    Very inspiration and impressive, as always, Matt!

  3. jen j. says:


  4. Greg Zensen says:

    Here’s another one I like. I wonder what he would have thought of Arizona’s new laws on immigration. Mitakuye Oyasin!

    The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.

    Thomas Paine

  5. soma roy says:

    i learnt about you e-magazine from a poet’s blog, and i’ve liked it. i am from kolkata, india.i translate works from bangla and german to english. i would like to know your submission rules and regulation. thanks

  6. Thomas says:


    You have a very nice website with some really cool discussions going on. I have a question though. I recently came across Christopher Higgis’ review on part 1 of the novel 2666 by Roberto Bolano. In it, he mentioned that he would be writing a review for each of the five parts of the book. Well, I was looking forward to reading his thoughts on the rest of the book but I cannot find the articles anywhere on the site. Were the other parts ever reviewed by him? Or am I just not looking deep enough?

    • Okla Elliott says:

      Higgs, as you might have guessed from his first installment, disliked the book too much to continue. I heartily disagree with him, but this was part of why I asked him to write the series, since he had a dissenting opinion. I’ll let him know you commented and looked for further thoughts and see if this might inspire him to go on with it.

      • Thomas says:

        Thank you for your response.
        I, personally, am divided on my sentiments towards the novel. The dreams and frequent vignettes provide a deep and intriguing connection to the underlying meanings that Bolano intends the reader to decipher. (anger, madness, mystery, sexism etc.) But I also can get bored with the stories due to their length. Especially when I have a three week window to finish the book.

  7. Thomas says:

    Higgs* excuse me

  8. Good thing I bumped into your blog! I’m currently in my 4th year in college taking up Business Economics. I hope I can learn a lot from this blog 😀

  9. prog chik says:

    I look forward to reading the posts on this forum. Glad like-minded people are blogging about this stuff.

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