Monday, October 04, 2004

NEW YORKER Staff Revealed to Be Stuffed Dummies

I sent numerous flyers and e-mails to writers and staff at the NEW YORKER about last week's Carnival, and about my recent Monday Report, yet no one at that large bureaucracy was able to muster the mental energy to post a defense. Among the possible reasons:

A.) They don't know how to use the Internet.

B.) They agree with everything I said.

C.) They don't think their publication worth defending.

D.) The NEW YORKER staffers are stuffed dummies.


Anonymous said...

posted this in response to your sept. 20 post:

Oh for chrissake, Wenclas, it's called a day job! i'll get you your debate on what'll save lit. you bring the japanese swords, i'll bring the mother-freakin machetes.

but seriously, you pose any direct questions to me and i'll sure as shit answer 'em.

i'll think on your "what'll save or kill literature" question and get you a decent answer.

damn straight.

stay strong, killer

-Jackie Corley

Anonymous said...

What is the point of all this rhetoric, Mr. Wenclas, when you do not have the writing to offer an alternative and to prove that the reading public can do better than Moody and Franzen?

Jackie Corley's entire site has the most amateurish garbage I have ever read. She is an authority of sorts in your organization!

American literature may be dead, but no one in the ULA is going to bring it back.

Mr. Wenclas, your case is weak.

Bill Walton

Anonymous said...


How can you dis ALL of the ULA writers, AND Jackie Corley's ENTIRE SITE? You've got to be kidding. You are slopping the shit with an even broader brush than Wenclas is!

As for Corley, she's accomplished a lot for someone so young. Don't hate people with skillz, just because they are different than you.

Jeff Potter said...

Bill, why do you just keep saying that we can't make our case without the writers to back us up? We have fine writers, better writers than they do. What makes you think you can make assertions about them so cavalierly? Obviously, you dismiss them. Mightn't blog readers wonder why?

Steve Kostecke is as good a travel writer as any---but that implies a niche. He's more in the vein of Raban and Theroux, without the pettiness. He reflects his travel back on us. A writer who happens to be abroad.

Wild Bill is like a funnier, trippier, more authentic Cormac. Not bad duty.

Jack is biggest of all. (I give details why at our site.)

And that's just 3 of us.

Heck, the King himself wrote the coolest essay on the Ten Best Short Stories of all time. Punchy, original, but never clever. A trim little primer. Probably more helpful than a year of Harper's.

Anyway, dismissing our folks doesn't make them dismissed. And having even the entire lit-scene not be able to 'get' them doesn't do it either. (Though I imagine many would, as the ideas and styles kept nagging and tempting long after the books were burned, I mean tossed.) As long as we keep getting the 'break thru' notes from everyday readers. we'll know we're on the right track. Our stuff is for those who've seen the rest. Who have a thirst. Lots of people from every walk of life have this thirst. A big writer can handle it.

Jeff Potter said...

Again, Bill, your saying our writers aren't up to the job, and your saying that Jackie's site is this or that is 100% baseless: that is: you give it no base. What do you think is good? Or even (shock!) who are you? This is the only kind of info that can give your remarks MEANING. You know, the thing lacking in today's lit. Evidence: your posts.

Jeff Potter said...

Again, Bill, your saying our writers aren't up to the job, and your saying that Jackie's site is this or that is 100% baseless: that is: you give it no base. What do you think is good? Or even (shock!) who are you? This is the only kind of info that can give your remarks MEANING. You know, the thing lacking in today's lit. Evidence: your posts. You're doing this clubby/hinty thing. IT DOES NOT WORK. It is broken. Give it the base it needs and we can go somewhere. Something, anything.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mr. Walton, I'll assume you're talking about my personal site/blog (which is essentially a repository for my bitching about not getting laid), because I firmly believe that no person could go through the whole of and call it "amateurish garbage."

Yeah, we've got Pushcart Prize winners and reputable agents have found authors through that site, but you know what? Even that doesn't matter. That's nothing.

I'll let the quality of the writing there stand for itself and I challenge anyone to go to the site and find any amateurish garbage there.

Anonymous said...

This is what you may not want to hear. This is the truth:

The writers and work Mr. Wenclas promotes is just more of the same underground genre of writing. It is not different, but absolutely similar to thousands of other bad writers. You can visit many other websites with similar "underground," and "revolutionary" writing. 3 A.M. Magazine and Word Riot, for example.

What makes Mr. Wenclas different is not his writing nor the writing of the ULA, but his willingness to crash readings and manipulate the media to get his name out there. He has succeeded in that endeavor.

In this way, Mr. Wenclas is just like his arch enemy Dave Eggers. Mr. Wenclas takes a group of average writers and proclaims their greatness, and shows himself to be a master of promotion. People take a look at the ULA and see what I see. More of the same average writing in the "underground" genre. King Wenclas has no clothes. This weakens his case.

Bill Walton

P.S. Real agents almost never search the internet for writers. The agents who do search the internet lure desperate writers into promotional, editing, and publishing schemes. These agents make money from the writer himself, not from the sale of the writer's work.

Anonymous said...

Not true -- I know that many agents are predators, but both the writers in question extensively researched the guy and low and behold he has sold many works to large publishing companies and gotten money for his writers. All the "preditors and editors" sites that document good and bad agents or rip-off artists have all had high marks for this agent.

He is currently shopping a novel around publishing houses of one of the Word Riot writers he signed.

And I never claimed that Word Riot is "revolutionary." I'm only trying to provide an outlet for those talented writers who don't have the connections/don't live in NYC and are unsure of how to navigate that insular little world of NYC writing and publishing. And in that endeavor, I feel Word Riot has been very successful.

King said...

I don't think Walton knows anything about anything, as evidenced by his comments about systems. In fact, what America is, is a layering of many systems; a conglomeration of very many bureaucracies, if you will. Understanding that is key to understanding how this country operates. Each system, of course, has its own unspoken assumptions and rules.

This is the story of America. Our talent for organization, for effective bureaucracy, is why we've become dominant in this century. The American novel which best depicts this is Guard of honor by James Gould Cozzens-- a little too complex for most readers, and I'm sure way too complex for Mr. Walton.

Jeff Potter said...

Bill, what are you doing? Why do you keep repeating yourself and RUINING your credibilty? What can it mean to anyone when you say that our writers are like everyone else's? Our website shows their distinctiveness. You yourself have said you don't know what to make of Saunders. This goes against the rest of what you write. Is he the same as the rest or not?

There are several levels to the inadequacy of your remarks.

#1. We still don't know who you do like. This is a HUGE problem for whatever you might type here. Where are you coming from?

#2. OK, say these undergrounders are common, not unique. Are they useless? Is uniqueness or novelty the uber-value? Is this common voice deserving of being ignored? We saw the NYT give big press to the websites of the marginal last Sunday. Was that needed or not? Should there be more coverage of these commoners or not? Should their voice be included? Should we see some books from them? Should they be reviewed/taught?

#3. The above is just an exercise. You STILL have to do more than declare ULA writers identical to the herd in light of our website's presentation of their standout merits. The reactions to Saunders work alone can't be compared to hardly anyone working today (review-chunks at my OYB website: I mean, show another writer who's gotten such responses---and been blackballed 30 years. There's no one like him out there. Anyone else calling themselves a Coelacanth?

#4. About this agents stuff. "Real agents"---that's as good as ya got? What good have they done lately? We're doing all this so we can find an agent to help us place our article "How to Get an Even Tan" in some ladies magazine or its book publisher equivalent? Sure, a contract can be cool, the start of a wild ride (writer! assume the position!). But we're all that and then some. You don't think our challenge is a critique of today's agenting as well? You think we don't know how agents work and what they want? That we're lightweights?

#5. The Equivalence Ploy. Yeah, we're the same as Eggers. Oh, you were specific: we love PR "just like" he does. So? As you must realize, there the difference ends. There's KIND of PR to consider. There's CONTENT of PR. There's what he does to get it and what we do. Doesn't matter? Ho ha! Do you know what we did to get our latest big play in the NYT? Do you know what it cost us? Ha! We were just ourselves. Suddenly, lots of email in the morning. Out of nowhere. Is that how it goes with The Dave? Your oblique and carefully worded (light) jabs only reveal that you KNOW we are different! --Dig a little more, think it over, come back later. This is big stuff. It has NOT happened before. But it may well take a year for it to sink in. No problem. We ain't go nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Would it shock you to point out that Jack Saunders is a metafictionalist of the highest caliber. Jack Saunders is the best metafictionalist who has probably ever lived. He is not a journalistic writer, but a writer who writes about writing. Let me say the words: Jack Saunders is a Postmodernist.

I am not saying that Jack Saunders is a strong writer because he is a postmodernist, but only a strong writer who happens to be a postmodernist. Most postmodern work is abominably poor.

I understand the system. What you and the ULA do not understand about the system is that it is not oppressive and does not black ball people(unless you go out of your way like Mr. Wenclas to harrass and denigrate everyone), but merely indifferent to you as a writer. Some people have connections, but there is no conspiracy against you as a writer.

Jack Saunders was not blackballed, but merely not published because agents and publishers think his work would not sell. I think it could sell if Saunders could find the right editor.

Mr. Wenclas takes rejection personally and turns it into this conspiracy and system nonsense. Is this why Mr. Wenclas stepped down from being director of the ULA?

I read only the best literature. I do not read much contemporary stuff, because it is garbage. Jackie Corley's site has garbage. Dave Eggers writes garbage. Heidi Julavits writes garbage. Black Olive writes garbage. Do not take it personally.

Bill Walton

Anonymous said...

Would I rather crack open Hemingway than read most contemporary stuff? Of course, I would.

Is the writing on Word Riot gonna save Western Civilization? Of course not. Never claimed it would.

Fiction is about telling a good story, providing entertainment and giving a temporary shelter from the outside world while enhancing the reader's understanding and connection with that world. But that's right, the heart of it is entertainment -- even in the "best literature."

Will the fiction on Word Riot give you a much needed breather when the bad lighting in your office is giving you headaches and the coffee's a day old? Absolutely. That's why it's there.

Of course "the best literature" (and never mind how relative that is) will beat the contemporary stuff out there. But am I gonna throw my head in the sand and kick my legs up in the air like a constipated ostrich because I refuse to look for that hidden gem? Not a chance.

You shouldn't ignore the contemporary because it differs with your sensibilities. You become a dinosaur. You become a hack. You become everything that the writers of "the best literature" were fighting against when they took their turn on the world stage.

-Jackie Corley

Anonymous said...


Who could possibly be the "right editor" for Jack Saunders? You? Jack's writing is a lifelong process. He doesn't produce nicely packaged "novels," he's creating something bigger that ends the day he croaks. A true writer through and through. Edit him for typos if you want to help.

That being said, i'm glad you are on this site. If nothing else, you are amusing and you break up the Wall of Wenclas that is this blog. Potter is right though, you should better explain who you are and where you are coming from, to give some context to the things you are saying.

Jeff Potter said...

Editing Saunders...that was an early vibe I went thru. Try it. See how far you get. The problem is that nearly every one of his words is just right. I mean, when he's rolling he misses a word or comma maybe once in a few thousand words. Any editor would die for as clean a writer as Jack. But Jack's different...that's why he first strikes one as "Get him an editor." It's funny how he works on a reader.

Next you realize that his whining is music: blues in lit. Nice feat. Give him his props. Natl Book Award wouldn't be outta place.

Bill, what's this separation of eras? All writers are in the same ring. Ours are going for all the marbles. They're in the vein. They're contenders. You're gonna have to SWEAT to knock em out. Jack has already gone 10 rounds with the Buk. C'mon! Not every writer does fish-wrappers. I know, it's startling, disorienting when you come across the ones that are in the big league. How used are we to seeing them? Being part of discovering them? You're not quite in on the ground floor but you can still get em while they're hot. Burning hot. Hard on the hands, and an acquired taste, to mix em. It's so strange to not follow for a change. Feel the wind, man!

The ULA is a Big Tent. How much diversity in McSweeneys? How much diversity already in this blog alone? As Jackie says, it takes all kinds. How many kinds are pushed in MFA-land?

But, Bill, what's this weird savvy pose? There's no there there. You say that ULA writers are only rejected because people don't think they'd sell. Get real! Money is only part of the game. And even money is far more complex than you're letting on. You think that Orwell with his "market is the worst censor" idea isn't seeing what really goes on?

I've dealt with some of the biggest fish and if you don't fit in, in the most boring ways, you're by the board. I tell ya it's hilarious having bestselling titles rejected by Borders for being "not competitive." But I finally got in. The game is tricky and it's not sales driven. Been to any big book shows lately? I published engineering books for years---even made em lively, went against the grain, RAN THE BIGS OFF THE SHELVES. They don't care. The readers do, tho. Keeping the clerks happy is even a factor. Bashing thru the gatekeepers is good sport. You have to be as nimble as a running back. Ain't no simple sales equation about it. Just watch.

Jeff Potter said...

"Wall of Wenclas"? It's his blog, Ghosty!

I for one would like it if The King put up his "Ten Best Ever Short Stories" series again. He did it on another forum---put #10 up first then every day put up another story with brief rationale. People ate it up. But this blog is a much more happening place. : ) It was punchy, useful stuff about a classic subject---and put fresh life into it.

AddledWriter said...

>>>>We have fine writers, better writers than they do.

RIFF: (Spoken) Against the Sharks we need every man we got.
ACTION: (Spoken) Tony don't belong any more.
RIFF: Cut it, Action boy. I and Tony started the Jets.
ACTION: Well, he acts like he don't wanna belong.
BABY JOHN: Who wouldn't wanna belong to the Jets!
ACTION: Tony ain't been with us for over a month.
SNOWBOY: What about the day we clobbered the Emeralds?

Sorry...It was starting to sound like a rumble.