Stefan Beck replies to my latest points on the www.newcriterion.com weblog. Except he hasn't replied at all-- ignoring the substance of my remarks and staying on point regarding the few points he feels he can make against the ULA.
To answer those few points:
What makes the ULA controversial is that we're the only folks in the lit world discussing the operation and funding of that world. How did we first gain attention, Mr. Beck? It was through exposing the Guggenheim award of 35 thou to a very wealthy guy named Hiram F. Moody III who lives on a private island. This gained us attention on Page Six, among other places, as did subsequent exposes we presented (such as the NEA award to Jonathan Franzen, from a panel on which sat his good friend Rick Moody, that master at manipulating the grants system). (This occasioned enough outrage to leave me with a stack of hate mail.) Etc etc. You pointedly ignore the fact of NEW CRITERION's own funding. Are you conservatives? I say not. You are, in fact, socialists. And so, any statement you make that you "make a living" at NC is ridiculous. You receive tax free money from rich people, who allow you to posture as free marketers. A nice scam. The ULA, by contrast, is completely independent.
You mention your mission. What exactly is that? I've been trying to find out. What do you represent that's different and new? What distinguishes YOU from the NY TIMES book reviewers; from the artistic opinions of the NEW YORKER and the NY REVIEW OF BOOKS?
The ULA's mission, btw, isn't to be "less irritating." As an advocacy group for writers, we seek to be as irritating as possible! Sorry if I'm not properly polite, respectful of my betters, or mindful of the rules.
I'm disappointed that you avoided, Stefan, my direct question about whether this society-- and the lit world in particular-- is hierarchical. It's a topic I wanted to do a riff on. Why the ULA can attack BOTH the NATION and NEW CRITERION is because we see that you're both the products of affluence, of America's top 1%, having intramural squabbles among yourselves about your elitist Yale grad representatives, but increasingly out of touch with the American public.
Which is fine, because you leave that public to us!