I never did tell the DFW story I wanted to on that forum I was in. We were going to get the original letter about it, from the person who was there, up on our site, but he was reluctant, and we've been having difficulties with our Letters page-- one reason I started this blog!
In NYC a couple months ago was one of those cheezy literary affairs, in this case George Saunders "interviewing" David Foster Wallace. A total joke, of course-- the kind of snoozy presentation that has killed lit's reputation.
After an hour or two of this kind of crap, they opened the floor to questions from all the Demi-Puppets in the audience. A person there-- who happens to know some ULAers-- asked the two authors about the shrinking world of literary fiction.
DFW turned the question back on our correspondent-- so he in turn mentioned the ULA and some of our arguments.
In response, George Saunders wondered if there could ever be another Dickens, in impact and popularity, implying it was impossible.
DFW referred to the ULA's "contretemps" with Tom Bissell, then said that lit fiction was going the way of poetry; the ratio of audience to artists was shrinking; there was more competition for resources, and so we see increasingly arcane and destructive ways of distinguishing oneself-- participants will fight among each other, and sees the ULA as an example of this. End of tale.
I find it interesting that the great mind would choose the most simplistic way possible of explaining the problem. One of our great writers, supposedly, and he just doesn't get it. Doesn't have a clue, in fact.
The necessity for we as writers-- for all of us-- is to expand the audience for our products! This is a must, and should come first.
The kind of controversy/conflict the ULA has generated is one way of doing this.
DFW isn't a chess player. He's able to see only one step ahead.