Mr. DeKok wonders what can be done about the Harper's plague of plagiarized stories; that literary infestation caused by arrogant editors and conscienceless essayists who can't tell the difference between a tree, coalmine, paraphrase, stolen quote, stolen idea, or larceny. To them it's all the same; postmodern thoughts from postmodern minds, words without truth or meaning.
I have to answer David DeKok truthfully that it's a hopeless cause. One might think the literary community could police its own, but it's a community of scoundrels. Ambitious scoundrels who'd sell their integrity for a dime or a yuppy Starbuck's latte, that is, if they had any integrity from the beginning. One searches for it in vain.
One need only go back to the Harper's Tom Bissell essay of a few months ago, where for the pleasure of Lord Lapham Bissell turns his own father into an unbelievable stereotype-- the mad Vietnam vet which as a fictional character went out of fashion in the 70's but has now been revived: 35 years later still wandering the woods insanely with gun in hand and psychopathic gleam in his eye. As bad Victorian melodrama no one would buy it, but the stupe editors of Harper's and the sycophantic lit-bloggers will buy anything.
These literary people are individuals of no vision. They may as well be worms or ants, bugs or fleas. They hold a similar belief in the ability to change things. Cockroaches have more rebellious wit and energy. They claim to be writers-- believe themselves to be (mark of their deluded stupidity). One finds on their blogs long accounts of recycled information but hardly an ant-crumb of creativity. Some are writing novels, people say. It's a sign of their vast conceit if they're writing novels. About what? Their battles against corruption? Characters with backbones? Visions of clarity? They can't write about matters about which they have no idea, have never experienced. They'll write instead what they know: fawning, sniggering, snobbery, cronyism, groveling to plutocrats, defense of dead literary society, corruption of an art.
Writers? These are whores, not writers!
Writing is merely the ready excuse
that's enabled them to become prostitutes.
(But I will write about the DeKok matter next week.)