Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Magazine Report: Living in the Past

As long as BOOKFORUM keeps sending me free copies I'll continue trashing the publication.

I just received the Oct/Nov 2004 issue. There it was jamming my mailbox among envelopes of bills. The bills went on a large stack on a small table. The BOOKFORUM went into the trash.

I looked at it first. Yellow letters against turquoise backdrop announced unexciting articles:

"An Early Rothko Manuscript." (Boy, that's thrilling.)

"Graham Greene at 100."

"Philip Roth's 'Plot Against America.'"

"Robert S. Boynton Surveys Integration's Critics." (Boynton is talking about Brown v. Board from 1954!)

What is this? Was this issue mailed to me fifty years ago, and delayed all this time in the mail? That's the best explanation for the anachronistic attitude. Or maybe the editor fell asleep fifty years ago and just woke up.

Editor Eric Banks sounds defensive about the unreadable nature of BF's essays-- that they all sound like college Phd dissertations of "C" quality. (If this is the intellectual alternative to the ULA we should win the race in a walk.)

"Smart people deserve smart coverage of smart books," Banks bluffs.

How about an ability to communicate? Wouldn't that be smart?

I guess not. Banks is proud of the fact his publication is designed for a coterie of snobbishly "smart" people able to write so badly they exclude all readers outside themselves (and probably THEY don't even read the bulk of this mess).

I worry about the fact I'm still on their mailing list.

(Note: The Future belongs to the Underground Literary Alliance.)

1 comment:

Adam Hardin said...

The future Belongs to the Literary Alliance-

Indeed, you can feel the atmosphere through the whole of the Literary World. Readers have left. Critics are devoting more space to non-fiction because fiction is "shit." Publishers are floating in red after large advances to the untalented. Publications like The Believer pretend that everything is fine.

There is unrest. There is discord. The ULA is leading the Charge.