Saturday, February 05, 2005

Analyzing the Demi-Puppet Mind

It still amazes me that many demi-puppet lit-bloggers and writers have never even heard of the "Do-It-Yourself" movement, which the ULA embodies. Apparently they were raised as vegetated plants, as in the original "The Thing" movie, within the walls of the book conglomerates. They therefore relate every question back to the narrow corporate world which they view as "literature" in this country, not realizing that outside the intellectual skyscrapers spreads a vast array of independent writers and self-publishers who value their independence.

The demi-puppet vegetables, within their carefully fertilized (much shit involved) box of dirt, converse about the strange entity known as the Underground Literary Alliance.

"Yeah, well, like, they might be at this reading right now!" one of the vegetables-- a potato-- says to his box-mate the carrot. (Morgan Entrekin comes around with sprayer to water them.)

"They heckled the tomato!" the carrot responds with outrage. "Why did they do that?"

"Man, they wanted a book contract!" the potato says. (As vegetables lacking brains, they can't figure out the ULA is then going about it in curious fashion!)

Mr. Entrekin carries the box of dirt containing the vegetables to the window in his skyscraper office. Even he finds their conversation idiotic. Maybe a little sunlight will, uh, enlighten them. But after all, they're only vegetables.

They continue chattering away, the potato, carrot, and a few petunias, among others. Entrekin makes out occasional words; "book contract" most frequent. He smiles to himself. Well-raised plants! Their entire box-of-dirt literary world is encompassed by thoughts of book contracts! With such vegetables-- er, writers-- his skyscraper empire is yet safe.

As reward the publisher gives them a few more hits of mist from his water-bottle plant sprayer.


Anonymous said...

Yet another example of Tom Bissell's brilliant mangling of another writer's work, words, original ideas and intentions:

This guy (Bissell) is batting somewhere around .083 lifetime for his idiotic, shitty, inexecusable hit-jobs against responsible writers. Personal to Mssrs. Lapham and Hodge: where is your shame, gentlemen? You are letting grasping, gasping hacks like Bissell destroy your credibility.

Anonymous said...

You guys are ruined now forever.

You will never publish in the New Yorker.

I have friends there, and I have told them your names.

--Tom Bissell

Adam Hardin said...

That is an adolescent game, pretending to be Bissell.

Anonymous said...

Tom Bissell isn't even Tom Bissell, as the real Bissell is a plagiarist--not a writer, but an ambitious, politicizing hack.

So pretending to be Tom Bissell might actually be more real then being Tom Bissell, especially if the Tom Bissell pretender does it with a wink.

But then suppose the person pretending to be Tom Bissell is Tom Bissell, and the wink is really a double wink.

Add a few drawings of staplers, a couple blurbs from Julavits and Vida; have the Harpers editors turn the other way regarding the plagiarized sources, and we've got a bestseller, penned by Tom Bissell who's pretending to be Tom Bissell, so then the plagiarism is OK.

King said...

ULA research has determined that the odds of the average writer being published in the New Yorker come in around 0.0082. The odds of the average color-outside-the-lines ULA writer are 0.0000121. So I guess we're not losing a lot.

King said...

That's a very postmodern observation-- that Tom Bissell may not be Tom Bissell. Maybe there isn't a Tom Bissell-- he doesn't exist-- which is why he had no hesitation in trashing his father in a recent Harper's. If he doesn't exist, he has no father.
Is Bissell a creation of the collective lit world's imagination? The quintessential postmodern demi-puppet writer?
When Bissell makes personal appearances, is he merely a hologram?
If Bissell didn't exist, would we have to invent him? (Fortunately Eggers did it for us.)

King said...

I want to get back for a moment to D-I-Y philosophy, which is the ULA's strength-- and why I don't consider the ULA to be a Leftist organization. Our assessment of the current situation may be the same, but our solution is far away from standard institution-reliant Lefty prescriptions.
The ULA model is actually a synthesis of the best of the Left and the Right. The appeal we have and are gonna have is that we key into the founding myths of American society; reliance on the individual and such. The best of American behavior has been shown in loosely cooperative endeavors (think the Amish helping one another put a house up) which also leave free and full room for the individual.
The whole pioneer self-reliant myth-- the ULA embodies this. We're literary pioneers.
Early American history had a strong sense of community. The individual and community were two sides of the same coin. We didn't have this "either-or" kind of distinction one sees in today's polarized ideologies.
The native American Indians of course operated the same way-- a community working together, cooperating, voluntarily.
The trick I think is the grass-roots aspect; community not imposed from on high by bureaucracies, but happening naturally without rigid hierarchies.
"Do-It-Yourself": What could be more American in spirit? Freedom and independence for artists and writers-- maintaining control of our OWN products instead of becoming merely hired-hand easily discarded readily disposable slaves, as demi-puppet writers are in this country.
When the ULA is fully successful we'll control every aspect of our art. The artist will be in the driver's seat.
That's the goal, anyway. It won't be easy-- but the challenge is exciting.
Totally new territory.

Adam Hardin said...

If you look at the MFA movement, it is largely one of retreating from having to write for the reader, to being able through the support of the MFAers to write for yourself(which is far easier) and five other people who will be there to tell you you are a genius when the public at large tells you your work is dull and empty. Commercially, the public is telling the MFAers that their work is garbage. The MFAers tell themselves that the public just doesn't read anymore, and in truth the public does read, they have gone over to non-fiction which is often poorly written and dull, but has more connection to reality than the stuff the MFAers write.

It is one of vengeance on part of the Professor as well. For centuries, the Professors taught the work of real writers, and there had to be some jealousy on the Professor's part as to why he or she could not write.
That wall has been broken, and now the Professor can teach what he or she writes, and now the professor can "be the star."

They have formed their own small Literary World and economic system largely subsidized by the Government. It continues to get smaller, and it continues to have to retreat into Academia.

Here is my bad metaphor: The ULA is largely an Army that is flanking the MFAers. We are going to cut them off from the Public by bringing the public onto our side, and then, they will have to retreat into Academia again, and those who emerge from Academia will have to learn to write for the reader.

King said...

It's an apt analogy. The MFAers/demi-puppets may make up now 90% of all writers-- but with their style of poetry and prose they go after only 10% of the potential audience for lit. That leaves the other 90% to us. We are certainly going to outflank them as they stay cemented in their academy cloisters or skyscraper offices.

Noah Cicero said...

At YSU to graduate with an English and journalism and professional writing degree the professors force a person to read other professors and even their own books. But those writers books aren't read by anybody, they aren't in Borders or Barnes and Nobles, they aren't in indie book stores, the professors are so snobbish they won't even put their books in the Borders local section. So the student is sitting there reading these poems that no one cares about and have never been shown to be worthy for the sake of some ass' vanity. That is just fucked up!