Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Ready to Abdicate?

Our opponents' responses are usually weak, beside the point, or absent. Compared to three years ago, they're putting up less and less of a fight.

Like the French royalty circa 1789, they know their standing has no foundation; that they're lacking in force and ideas.

Back in those times you had Edmund Burke spluttering about 10,000 swords raised in Marie Antoinette's defense, so she could serve cake instead of bread. But the swords never were raised-- the aristocrats of storied hype and myth when nudged were discovered to be foppishly feeble-minded. They ran away.

It's the same with today's lit world. The biggest names are jokes: Franzen; Beller; Birkerts; Moody; et.al.-- passive, intellectually stunted, and inarticulate when taken away from long struggled hours trying to write at their desks. (It's why none will contend rhetorically in person or on-line with ULAers. It'd be a mismatch.) The Last Great Literary Aristocrat, George Plimpton, was at least brave enough to debate us. We shredded his arguments, but he at least knew how to raise his voice. (He reminded me when I met him of the old knight discussing things with Villon in R.L. Stevenson's "A Lodging for the Night.")

The noble fakes in rouge and powdered wigs had best have their carriages drawn up now at their palace gates, so they can flee with their baggage to refuge in London or some other faraway place. The assault of the rebels of the ULA is going to increase.

4 comments:

AddledWriter said...

>>Compared to three years ago, they're putting up less and less of a fight.

Maybe because writers write?

The Red Roach said...

I don't really know about Franzen, Beller, and Moody -- I haven't read their stuff and don't have any plans to. I would disagree, though, with your assessment of Birkerts as "intellectually stunted." I would argue he's the exact opposite -- he's too intellectual for his own good. After spending a great deal of time with his book, "The Gutenberg Elegies," I closed its cover feeling sorry for him. Here, I thought, is a guy who's spent so much time indoors, cuddled up with books that he can no longer relate to the world.

In the end, though, I suppose it doesn't matter from the ULA perspective. The end result is the same. Being out of touch is being out of touch.

Noah Cicero said...

I think what Wenclas meant by "intellectually stunted" can be seen through all the diciplines of American academia. The American adademia has empirical evidence but they always come up with over-simplistic rationalizations of it. It can be seen in the psychology profession especially. Like the literary grants, the psychology grants are only given to certain people who get certain preconcieved rationalizations no matter how the empirical evidence looks, i.e. bio-darwinists who get millions in grant money to prove that certain people are forced and it has nothing to do with external stimulants by magic DNA to make good parents, rich, poor, thieves, anything they feel like making up. And basically Bush throws money at them to come up with eugenics experiments, remind you of anybody. Or you can graduate with a history major and never learn what the word dialectic means. The problems with the current acedemica extend far beyond the English department.
To the person who wrote "I closed its cover feeling sorry for him. Here, I thought, is a guy who's spent so much time indoors, cuddled up with books that he can no longer relate to the world." I don't know if this applies to Moody and Eggers, I don't think those two are well read, I don't see it in their writing, and I know several people who are going to grad school to get MFAs and they aren't very well read. One kid I know says after your junior year all you really read is other professor's writings from other colleges. You go from reading Donne, skip hundreds of years and end up reading in the next class Joe Blow from some university no one ever heard because the professor shared a room with them in college. At least that is how it works at YSU.
But out of touch is out of touch and that is the point we are all trying to make, the people that are in control are out of touch, and they have no interest in touching us at all.
Concerning the earlier statements about other diciplines being out of touch and verging on useless. I hope to see in three to five years after the ULA topples the literary world, the ULA joins forces with people from other diciplines who are dissatisfied with their own diciplines and work together to get a new more accurate intelligence in America.

King said...

RR, the problem with Mr. Birkerts is that he's a fraud.

Do you know that at the outset of this campaign-- before we were even founded, I wrote Birkerts (I believe Mr. Bassett did also) explaining what the zine movement was about, and how it harmonized with his professed views? He had written an essay for Esquire in 1999 lamenting the fact there were no undomesticated writers like Hemingway on the scene today. I pointed out that there in fact were. I sent him a copy of "The Match" and urged him to write about Fred Woodworth, a living embodiment of Birkerts's views. (As you know, Fred spends his spare time rescuing books discarded by libraries. "The Match" displays publication as a work of art.) We reached out to Sven Birkerts and asked for his help. It was not forthcoming. The guy is just too embedded into the current system. He's sold his integrity and his intellectual soul.