Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daniel Handler Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Handler Hand

Here’s the latest literary-establishment scandal, covered by the folks at the Daily Dot:

Curious that several past opponents of the dormant Underground Literary Alliance are self-destructing. Ed Champion, Tao Lin, and now that jolly fellow Daniel Handler. Are their true egregious characters sneaking out?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Staggering Hypocrisy


I happened to stumble upon a twitter exchange between establishment novelist Ayelet Waldman and Salon writer Dahlia Lithwick. Waldman was congratulating Lithwick on an article in The New Republic which criticizes the narrowmindedness of the U.S. Supreme Court—as all have Ivy League educations.

Disconnected reality indeed! I made the mistake of pointing out that the east coast literary media is predominately Ivy League. I asked Ayelet Waldman where she was last decade when the Underground Literary Alliance tried to democratize the U.S. literary scene, and for its efforts was blackballed and destroyed. Ms. Waldman responded quickly:

Ayelet Waldman@ayeletw 

@LiteraryCircus Seriously? You're questioning my advocacy? Because I'm not working on your issue in exactly they way you are? Fuck off.


Yes, I was questioning her selective advocacy—which clearly steers away from her own field. Dare not one criticize one of the elite! These are questions, of course, which members of the literary establishment can’t debate. They know they can’t debate them. During the entirety of the ULA’s history, the response was the same: invective and blackballing.

Do I need to mention that Ayelet Waldman is a Harvard graduate, while Dahlia Lithwick is a graduate of Yale?

Incidentally, or not, here’s a NEW POP LIT blog post which looks at the mindset of New York-based publishing.

Also be sure to read NPL’s latest Opinion piece, wrapping things up about the Tao Lin story, “Self-Marketing 101: Tao Lin”

My co-editor refers to the piece as “Art of the Con.” One thing to be said about Tao Lin is that he isn’t Ivy League—not part of the power elite—and so may have decided that extraordinary measures were needed.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Literary Sloppiness


A major difference between modernists and postmodernists is how the writers or artists implicitly view the universe, and by extension, their art.

For instance, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby both portray seemingly chaotic worlds. But the works themselves are as structured, as complex, as any literary works ever. They’re in line with how current physicists increasingly view the universe—chaotic on the surface, but behind this, far more complex and ordered, in a way we’re only beginning to comprehend.

In that sense, modernism is a truer depiction of the world. Today the postmodernists assume the world is chaos, and hand us sloppiness in their work. Baggy monsters. They don’t know where they’re going in their novels and don’t really care. The writing itself—the words and sentences—are their only value. They don’t understand that meaning comes with form and structure.

Another example of the use of structure is in music—the jump between the classically ordered mathematically-precise symphonies of Beethoven and the modernist impressionism of Claude Debussy. Behind the seeming jumble and flow of Debussy’s “La Mer” IS form and structure, which makes the work cohere, gives it momentum, and allows it to close at a peak, providing artistic satisfaction. The satisfaction of art; of form.


I attempt to provide complexity, simplicity, and form myself anyway in my recent ebook, Assassination of X. A murder takes place in a chaotic situation. The puzzle seems insoluble. Yet order and intelligence might after all be somewhere present behind all.

Read the novella and see if I accomplish my artistic goal.

Friday, October 31, 2014

“Horror House”

The Latest at NEW POP LIT

Two young hipsters, Darla and Simon—one of them an artist—decide to open their own haunted house. Complications ensue.

New pop fiction from a mysterious character known as “Ghost Writer.” (Who is the Ghost Writer?)

Enter our haunted literary house for fun and thrills!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Author Outreach

One of our tasks at NEW POP LIT is to reach out to writers on all ends of the literary spectrum.

Toward that end, we found an author, Chris Cander, somewhere in the middle of ongoing debates. She's been published by a legitimate press, but has also published a book DIY.

Her style of writing is also somewhere in the middle-- in the gap between "pop" and "literary"-- which is where NEW POP LIT seeks to operate.

Read our interview with Chris Cander here:

Stay tuned for more exciting happenings!

(Tomorrow morning we have scheduled a scary? pop Halloween story!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Publishing and Cronyism

It’s a subject I’ve covered often over the years. I’m at it again, at NEW POP LIT. Why? The problem never ends.

What’s the solution?

To move the center of U.S. Publishing out of New York.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Strange Encounters Dept.

Both are now the subject of literary scandals. But the objective reader asks: Have Ed Champion and Tao Lin encountered each other in the past?

They have, at least online. Here’s an example from 2007:

Both take opposing sides on the question, of all things, of Dave Eggers. I enter the picture as well, toward the end of the discussion. Makes interesting reading in hindsight.