Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Election Hysteria!

The ironic thing (Eggers fans take note) about Election Hysteria is that it's all for naught. The differences between the two candidates are negligible. (They even attended the same elite university.) They're both wealthy guys part of the Establishment, belonging to parties more similar than different (part of the same clubby DC world) and will follow the advised establishment course. The ability of any President to direct the will of the giant bureaucratic machine he's a front-man prop for is limited.

But people are led to believe by their radios and video screens that this is the most momentous event in history. They all believe it-- they can't all be wrong! (The behavior of crowds by LeBon.) The Repubs and Dems as they stampede over the cliff of hysteria together on this point are the same.

Everyone is undergoing nightmare scenarios. Sean Hannity broadcasts behind sandbags, wearing an army helmet, shouting frantically into the mic as through a megaphone. Caryn James sits trapped in her NY TIMES cubicle imagining streets filled with Bush storm troopers, while down the hall Paul Krugman shouts at the top of his lungs, "We're all going to die. We're all going to die!" like a passenger in the original "Airport." Philip Roth trashes Lindbergh. . . . Saddest of all is Nicholson Baker staring for hours on end at Bush poster with target on it while scribbling furiously. Get this man a straitjacket. Bush-- an ordinary greedy corrupt Texas pol-- has become more evil and capable than Hitler. His opponent, an ordinary American goof, has become a traitorous Communist.

While the technology we buy and laud (including what we're on here) eviscerates our privacy, the Frightened Ones worry they won't be able to check out a library book. But political writing is everywhere. One can't walk into a chain store without running into stacks of it, 99% garbage whatever the point-of-view. Even Nicholson Baker's hysterical tome is prominently sold. (I guess we haven't become a police state yet!)

The real conspiracy we're seeing is by book chains and publishing conglomerates to keep the populace as keyed-up wide-eyed and paranoid as coke-snorting rats-- and themselves in business in the process.

The day after the election will be a quiet aftermath. The confetti and insanity will drop. The stacks of books of desperate nonsense will find no more buyers-- they'll be carted away from the WalMart-like chains by the truckload, or put on sale at 90% off.

Hannity will discard his army helmet and come out of his bunker. (Ratings will drop.) The "journalists" at the TIMES will do also, leaving their building surprised to see New York not filled with black helicopters and army trucks; blinking as they experience the light of day for the first time in months.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wenclas cites the story of John Kennedy Toole on the ULA Page. What he has left out is that Mr. Toole held a Masters from Columbia and taught College English. Mr. Wenclas must maintain his imaginary dichotomy between the underground and the elite. Mr. Toole should have had no problem in getting his masterpiece published because he was "stamped with approval" by the University.

The reality is that publishing is hard. There is not one side verses the other side. There are thousands of sides trying to get a few spots. There are hordes of writers with degrees who get nothing. There are writers like Jonathan Lethem(Published in the New Yorker) who have no degrees. This hurts his case.

Bill Walton

Anonymous said...

Which side are you on? The shadyside of Waltons mountain? How's John Boy?
cheers
Jimmy the Hyena

King said...

Bill Walton should stick to commenting on basketball.

Re: O'Toole. Those are not my remarks, incidentally. There is more than one person in the ULA. We include many diverse opinions and viewpoints. What we have in common is our determination to change the status quo-- the way of doing business in the lit world, which HAS failed, the case of O'Toole being a classic example. One can find exceptions to everything, but, overwhelmingly, those writers given backing and attention are from an elite, or have unique ways of accessing that elite. (J.T. Leroy in that instance being a case in point.)

Bill Walton should know that basketball has ways of reaching out to the best players-- the best of whom notably do not play "by the book." If basketball were confined to mainly stiff Ivy Leaguers, the sport would never have broken as it did on the American consciousness.

Shut-out writers can maintain their delusions, and write in obscurity-- or they can take their fate and their art into their own hands by working with the Underground Literary Alliance.

King said...

Bill Walton should stick to commenting on basketball.

Re: O'Toole. Those are not my remarks, incidentally. There is more than one person in the ULA. We include many diverse opinions and viewpoints. What we have in common is our determination to change the status quo-- the way of doing business in the lit world, which HAS failed, the case of O'Toole being a classic example. One can find exceptions to everything, but, overwhelmingly, those writers given backing and attention are from an elite, or have unique ways of accessing that elite. (J.T. Leroy in that instance being a case in point.)

Bill Walton should know that basketball has ways of reaching out to the best players-- the best of whom notably do not play "by the book." If basketball were confined to mainly stiff Ivy Leaguers, the sport would never have broken as it did on the American consciousness.

Shut-out writers can maintain their delusions, and write in obscurity-- or they can take their fate and their art into their own hands by working with the Underground Literary Alliance.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Karl, right on the money. I had a similar revelation about this recently, in the trance-journal I'm keeping, which I read into the computer mic and posted as an audio blog. It's about a war between bloggers, the Smilicans and Frownocrats, and all kinds of other conspiracy/internet/lunacy going on:

http://www.tim-hall.com/vogner/archives/00000268.html

You'll need to listen with headphones, or be somwhere you can play it aloud.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wenclas reminds me of the character Henry Fool in the film by the same name. Henry Fool is released from prison and takes on a young writer whom he encourages to read a number of classics in an attempt to educate the young writer. Henry Fool is finishing his masterpiece, "The Confession" which he believes will startle and forever change literature. Henry Fool speaks of conspiracies, and other people's attempts to suppress his masterpiece.

It turns out that Henry Fool is not a genius at all, just another pretentious failing writer who blames the entire world for his own lack of talent. His young protege becomes a great writer whose work changes literature.

The Urban Hermit? Dameron? Black Olive? Wenclas? The ULA is just a group of Henry Fools.

Bill Walton

Anonymous said...

I want to see Walton and Wenclas fight to the death.

After that, i want a six-pack of Budweiser and sex with a black woman.

But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

>It turns out that Henry Fool is not a genius at all, just another pretentious >failing writer who blames the entire world for his own lack of talent. His >young protege becomes a great writer whose work changes literature.

Who's the young protege, Bill? Donna Tartt? Madison Smart Bell?? Neal Pollack??? Do tell, the suspense is KILLIN' me.

Anonymous said...

I am telling you the reason for your failure. You have no talent. It is that simple. Now beyond that you could still find some success. Lack of talent has not stopped thousands of writers. But you refuse to try to get your work published. You are cowards.

You do not perservere. Instead you waste your time having a pity party for yourselves and creating in your mind imaginary conspiracies and invisible walls that often do not exist. Networking and connections are fair game, and that is how it is in every aspect of the world. You pretend that the literary world is the only place where that bull shit goes on.

And what else do you do...you hand out your zines to five people each in rebellion. Zines that look like a cheap church phamplet, and read like a fourth rate community college underground newspaper.

And you get drunk and crash readings. You harrass published writers. You hold your own drunken forums and read your bad bad writing. You once got Mr. Plimpton to come, and proved to him that you have no talent but getting rowdy and drunk. Your best poet makes David Berman who writes rock lyrics and calls it poetry sound like William Butler Yeats.

This weakens your case. I think I have said enough. I do not want to be a bully.

Bill Walton

Anonymous said...

Networks and connections are fair game? Says who? People who are connected that's who. And if they're fair then what's wrong with the ULA building it's own network? That's what they're persevering at right here and now on this blog. Their tactics are alot cleaner than most of the others.
cheers
Jimmy the Hyena

King said...

??? Curious hostility from the demi-puppet. As our best poet, Frank Walsh, hasn't had any of his poetry put up yet on our site, I don't know how Mr. Walton could make his statement. The truth, of course, is that we tried to get Mr. Berman to participate in a Read-off, and he wouldn't do it.
Yes, the presentation of our zeens is simple, but like most zeens they connect with readers. The fact is that zeensters find their own markets, instead of helplessly sending away manuscripts hoping and wishing someone will look at them. (Beyond the return address, most mailings to the slush pile are not perused.) Many ULAers, btw, Jack Saunders most notably, have tried the accepted route-- but some writings don't fit into a square box. The unconnected writers who do luckily prevail in the present climate, by necessity have a marked ability to conform to the accepted standards and rules-- which isn't how trailblazing new talent is found.
Stay tuned, demi-puppet. I hope to address your points in future posts. Just on the surface, however, they sound ridiculous-- the squealing of the Status Quo. The same noises made by the salon painters of the day who dismissed Gaugin and Van Gogh!

King said...

p.s. Walton, you should read the latest issue of LIT FAN. The writing, like the writing on this blog, is filled with energy-- it's alive-- unlike "literary" writing found most places.
ULA writers rock!