Friday, January 07, 2005

More Lapham

Bryan F. Griffin's writing resembles Lapham's: a litany of sytlishly critical remarks which don't say much of anything.

Of course Harper's Editor Lewis Lapham should resign; for his fraudulent Republican Convention essay; for his silence about the Tom Bissell plagiarism case. He won't, because the world of literary wannabes remains silent. Has one of the hundreds of demi-puppet lit-blogs out there, all those strict grammarians, said ONE WORD about Bissell's misdeeds? Of course not! They won't; to do so would go against their demi-puppet nature.

When Katrina vanden Heuvel took over The Nation, she followed a pattern set by Lapham's elevation as Harper's Editor in 1977. One could see it coming. A well-connected aristocrat slumming far down at the masthead of a struggling publication. Suddenly, change. A coup leaving the aristocrat running the magazine. This is what happened when Willie Morris was bounced out at Harper's; an apparent mediocrity taking his place. But, blueblood Lewis was from an Old Money banking family, had been educated at Cambridge, had the right pedigree. Someone wanted him in that position. (This back when Harper's was still considered an important magazine.)

Katrina also leapfrogged to gain her standing. The result: two "Lefty" journals headed by upper-class bred-and-bonded Establishment Insiders. (Lapham and vanden Heuvel are both members of Establishment clubs reserved for the powerful and trusted.) After the takeovers their magazines were given "non-profit" status, becoming tax shelters for their wealthy benefactors, then fitted with plastic fangs. (The scenario is out of Orwell's 1984, where the character discovers the Opposition is run by the System.)

By gaining influence with arts foundations; by allegedly now taking over the Yaddo writing colony, banking-family blueblood Rick Moody is merely following the usual pattern: literature as the rich man's plaything.

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