Saturday, March 26, 2005

Disappointed

With an open mind I read the first chapter of renowned author Jonathan Lethem's book of essays, The Disappointment Artist.

The essay, "Defending The Searchers," is about Lethem's love affair with the old John Ford movie. (I enjoy westerns, and so was prepared to like the essay.)

Two Points:
1.) The essay is about Lethem himself, not the movie. The movie is an excuse for Lethem to write about himself.
2.) The essay is a failure. Lethem doesn't convince the reader that The Searchers is a great movie; in fact, he undercuts it throughout. He asserts its greatness, based on little more than that it interested him. Not moved, troubled, or excited him-- interested him. Even during his first crucial viewing of it, at Bennington, he's only halfway absorbed in its narrative. The other ever-present analytical (emphasis on the "anal") half of his brain is objectively studying it. Not the best way to approach art!

Of prime importance is Lethem himself; that this god of the intellect has noticed the old film. THAT makes the movie noteworthy. It impressed itself on his consciousness, so he spends the entire essay explaining this process. He thinks it might possibly be a very good movie-- he's arrived at this conclusion, "aha!" as if contemplating a chess move-- but has difficulty forming a hard opinion of it through his many viewings, always worrying about the reception his friends have of it-- as if they MUST like it also; that they don't is earth shattering. (Quite a picture of the mind of a demi-puppet!)

Lethem's essay builds no momentum, has no theme (other than the author's preciousness), arrives at no point.

LETHEM'S MIND
-- is dominated by feelings. The feelings aren't about the movie, but himself. He never puts his mind fully INTO the artwork. His sensitivity is confined to his chair. The "I" is everpresent in his thoughts. It's unremoveable. One would like to blast it out of the essay for a few minutes so we can focus on the movie. Given the nature of his kind of writer, this is impossible.

THE MOVIE
Lethem's fumbling, embarrassing essay has one achievement-- a reminder of the flaws of classic movies.

The films themselves can't be blamed for this. When seen in their own day, they were undoubtedly great. But after seeing countless hyper-speed "Matrix" and "Mission Impossible" films, to us most of the output of legends like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock look contrived and glacially paced. This isn't because today's movies are better. Most are far worse. But the fact of them destroys all that came before.

Movies have always been illusions-- tricks played upon the spectator. The original impact of North by Northwest depended upon shock effects; a car swerving down a road; a helicopter charging the camera. A crafty director combined the contrivances for maximum impact, but the illusions no longer work. All that remains is the narrative and dialogue, which isn't bad-- but slight compared to a novel's.

Film's advantage over literature was technology. What happens when the technology becomes obsolete?

Citizen Kane or Dr. Strangelove seen today on a large screen become laughable. With Kane we notice all the obvious Orson Welles camera tricks and ridiculous special effects. (Watch for the toy nightclub.) Strangelove comes across as not-that-daring satire wrapped around sophomoric jokes and low budget 60's-TV production values.

The old movies which do impress when seen on a big screen are those, like The Robe, whose type of tricks (Technicolor and Cinemascope) haven't been improved, and which are so over-the-top dramatically they rise, when seen on a big screen, to the modern moviegoer's minimum thrill level. Or, like David Lean movies, those which combine superlative narrative with an emphasis on film as an artistic canvas. Lean didn't try to overwhelm with flashy edits and sudden thrills. His movies emphasize the opposite-- film's unbroken flow; art as a river.

We'll never appreciate the thrills of The Searchers-- the shock 50's audiences felt when the shadow of Scar looms over the child Debbie near the beginning; the everpresent sense of approaching violence. Too much cinema blood and decapitated movie corpses have already passed through our minds for that!

(I search through the DVD collection in the spaceship as I hurtle faster toward my destination. No westerns are available.)

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

King:

This essay would be more interesting and plausible if you presented examples from the text. Without them we're supposed to simply "take your word for it" and not make up our own minds. This is all about your response to Lethem's essay, so you are in fact doing exactly what you criticize him over.

If you want to see a "tribute" that is narcissistic navel-gazing at its absolute lowest, check out Jonathan Ames' "tribute" to George Plimpton:

http://www.jonathanames.com/plimpton.html


Anonymoose on the Loose

BradyDale said...

Okay, I feel the need to add a general Lethem comment here. We all know that Lethem is a literary It-Boy now. For a long time, I was okay with this because he was different, to me. I read Gun, With Occassional Music in high school and I liked it. Then I read Motherless Brooklyn and it's just really funny, really straightforward fiction. Good times.
I read As She Crawls Across the Table and found it irritating, but hoped it was some sort of step in his creative process or some crap. I don't know.
But his latest book, Fortress of Solitude is just such a step backwards. Or step left, really. It's pure autobiography, A, which annoys me. B, it's so blatantly an attempt at being "literary" that I couldn't stand it. He affects so much stylistic BS in this book that we happily got to pass on in his previous books that I was just really disappointed. It's like he's insecure about being so genre in the past. It just makes me sad. Here's a writer who has everything and no reason to turn into an irritating Updike type,
and it looks like he's doing just that.

Anonymous said...

Going to disagree on the Hitchcock part. I think the dialogue and characters do stand out. The character of Midge, for example, in
Vertigo is fascinating and her scenes with James Stewart have a lot more oomph than the ones with Kim Novak. Also, while I agree that Strangelove is sophmoric, more akin to the smirkfest stance of Mcsweeney's, I disagree about Citizen Kane(although I think Welles is a bit too pumped up among the ranks of the professor class).

- Leopold said...

Hmmm. Particularly fond of old movies myself. In a lot of cases, though, I think they work better than current blockbusters because they couldn't rely on a bunch of flashy effects.

Personally, I think Welles is one of the most overrated puff-bags of the 20th century - and Citizen Kane the peak of the bandwagon that carried him there. I had no respect for him as an actor or director until I saw Touch of Evil, The Third Man and that Kafka movie he did with Anthony Hopkins - those wade close to being pretty good - but still in no way 'genius.'

Noah Cicero said...

Todd Browning's "Freaks", that's all I got to say.
Jimmy Stewart in "Harvey" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "Destry Rides Again." Oh so beautiful.
Concerning westerns: The Contest at the end of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" displays the effect of capitalism on the human mind better than any novel, poem, or artistic project as far as I've ever seen.

jimmy the hyena said...

From what I’ve seen and read it seems to me that alot of what you see in big budget films today comes from experimental films of the sixties and seventies. Some of the people making these films got jobs as profesors and their students went on to make rock videos for MTV. Feature films started incorporating the same elements. Shows a pattern : avant garde, academia, pseudo avantgarde pop, mainstream commercial . At each level it’s less original but more money is made from it.

King said...

Re Quotes. If my ten-minute blog posts are going to be held to the same standard as overworked literary essays published in well-promoted books, then I want the accompanying bucks. Forward me Lethem's advance for his collection of literary narcissism and next time I'm at a bookstore I'll copy down some quotes.

Anonymous said...

Or, conversely, if you're going to go after a work publicly, maybe you should invest a bit more time in your reading and thinkin' than standing in a bookstore, reading a few pages, and then spending "ten minutes" telling us why you don't like it. Excuses, King! Isn't that what you diss the d.p.'s for?

Bam-Bam

King said...

Re Vertigo. I saw the restored version in a movie theater in the late 90's. I agree it's Hitchcock's masterpiece-- greatest title sequence in film ever. (Haunting music.)
There's no mystery or magic about Midge. She's so middle-class, too much the conventional product of contemporary machine civilization; well-educated and homogenized, all surface. Kim Novak by contrast carries primal qualities-- in both incarnations. There's an animalistic edge to both her roles, which shows there's more in common-- residues of the medieval-- between aristocrats and the lower class, than with those in the middle who've been completely socialized.
Midge is the modern woman who relates to the male best when he's tame or helpless. An ur-feminist.
The earthy shopgirl Judy is extremely sympathetic because of the way she's forced to become an unreal ice queen to reach the insane man she loves. (The class gap between the two in the second half of the movie is palpable-- the awkwardness, the difficulties at communication, because the woman he wants her to be doesn't exist!)
Novak embodies both her parts to perfection.

King said...

Oh, I think I make my point about Lethem's essay well enough. Believe me, quoting from it would only bore you. As it is, in my ten minutes I manage a better analysis of movies that he does in his very extended mirror reflection of himself.
(Sorry that I'm not a member of the leisure class. I grab my material for this blog when I can!)
Anyway, what's your stake in the guy. Are you his agent? His designated protector? Do you help him cross the street also? I'd like to see one of these bozos someday speak for himself.

Anonymous said...

Who am I? I'm a brother who reads your blog, of course, and appreciates your spirited discourse, dislikes many of the writers you attack, but who also feels the need (perhaps perverse) to keep you honest. This is a little jape I wrote last week during the blow-up but never posted:

Now I’ve done a survey too! But first, the difference between moot and mute is neither moot nor mute, and it’s not a mistake that spell check would catch because, contrary to Jeff’s casual dismissal, it’s not a misspelling. They’re two different words, and mean two different things. You can’t think clearly or communicate with anyone, let alone ‘the masses’ (who are these masses? Where do they live? Why won’t you give their names?) if you substitute incorrect words for the ones you mean. You’re right, Noah, everyone got your gist, but that’s just because everyone assumed that you didn’t mean what you said, that you didn’t know the difference, and they substituted the right word for the wrong one. If you’re comfortable with that level of condescension, I guess that’s your choice, but it disempowers you.

FUN FACT: In Shakespeare’s time there was even a proto-ULAer! His name was Robert Greene, and he said, "There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country." Wow. He called him a Johannes Factotum! Oh, snap! Just replace Shake-scene with the name of a doubtlessly hard-working successful writer, disrupt a harmless reading, and maybe the NY Post will print it!

Finally, Noah correctly points out that there have been some intellectuals who were thugs, but incorrectly assumes that I would disagree simply because I said that all anti-intellectuals were thugs. This is just a simple logic problem. If I were to say that all carrots were vegetables, it would not logically follow that there aren’t some vegetables that are not carrots. Or if I were to say that all people who react to having their ass handed to them in an argument by indulging in implausible fantasies of sexual violence are limp-dick half-wits (something Skinner, Freud and even Sartre would agree on) it wouldn’t mean that I believed that ONLY people who react to having their asses handed to them in an argument by indulging in implausible fantasies of sexual violence were limp-dick half-wits. Get it?

The salient point here is that argument can’t proceed in the absence of clear thought and articulate expression. It degenerates into cliché, distortion, and confused ramblings. If that’s what you guys want, if that’s your ‘future of literature’, that’s fine, but don’t pretend it’s anything else and don’t pretend that it’s going to do anything good for the lower classes. Stupidity breeds stupidity and the widespread stupefaction of our culture only serves the status quo. Do you really think you can change anything by simply being more ignorant than the people you imagine are oppressing you? This anti-intellectual cronyism is the reason that no one in the ULA has disassociated themselves from the threats in yesterday’s posts, and it’s exactly what the ULA accuses the demi-puppets of. Cicero’s childish nonsense is not an anomaly but rather the paradigm of what your beggars’ revolution is all about.

So, to the data: I showed nine people all of yesterday’s comments and asked them questions about the writers and the writing they encountered.

I’ve listed their professions below, along with an acknowledgement of who was a serious reader (people who read about three books a week, identified by a SR after their name), who was a casual reader (about three book a month, identified with a CR), who was a nonreader (identified by NR) who was illiterate (identified by an I), who was a writer (W), who had an MFA (MFA), who enjoyed Hamburger Helper (HH), who liked Stove Top stuffing (ST), and who preferred Rice-a-Roni (RR). The people are:

A contributer to a local alternative weekly (SR, W, ST)
A postal worker (CR, ST)
A special-ed teacher who was working on getting certified to teach ESL (NR, HH)
A guy who works in a record store (SR, MFA, ST)
A paralegal (CR, RR)
A woman who dusts off the books and writers at a local literary mag (SR, W, ST)
A homeless, unemployed person who lives outside my building (NR, ST)
A homeless, unemployed person who is staying at my friend’s apartment (SR, W, MFA, RR)
My grandpa (NR, ST)

The respondents were equally split between men and women. The questions were:

To whose writing do you most relate?

Bam-Bam: 3 Beau Blue: 2 Noah Cicero: 1 KW: 0 Marissa: 1 Ezekiel: 1 Jeff: 0 Anonymous: 1

Who seems most like a real person?

Bam-Bam: 2 Beau Blue: 1 Noah Cicero: 0 KW: 0 Marissa: 1 Ezekiel: 5 Jeff: 0 Anonymous: 0

If each of these writers published a book and you could only buy one, whose book would you buy?

Bam-Bam: 4 Beau Blue: 1 Noah Cicero: 0 KW: 2 Marissa: 1 Ezekiel: 0 Jeff: 0 Anonymous: 1


Which writer is best for the future of literature?

Bam-Bam: 3 Beau Blue: 2 Noah Cicero: 0 KW: 2 Marissa: 0 Ezekiel: 1 Jeff: 0 Anonymous: 0


Who would you trust to borrow your car?

Bam-Bam: 2 Beau Bleu: 2 Noah Cicero: 0 KW: 1 Marissa: 1 Ezekiel: 0 Jeff: 1 Anonymous: 2

If you were a dancer, who would you date?

Bam-Bam: 2 Beau Blue: 0 Noah Cicero: 0 KW: 0 Marissa: 4 Ezekiel: 2 Jeff: 0 Anonymous: 1


Who should get punched in the nuts? (You may pick more than one)

Bam-Bam: 2 Beau Blue: 0 Noah Cicero: 8 KW: 2 Marissa: 0 Ezekiel: 8 Jeff: 4 Anonymous: 3


Well, there you have it. Empirical data. I think this really clarifies everything.

Anyway, King. Cheers to you.

Bam-Bam
a/k/a
Rum Tug Tugger

Noah Cicero said...

Bam Bam.
1. My violent comments were not made until a demi-puppet announced that I was an "evil motherfucker" and should be "punched in the nuts." My "fuck" not rape comment was in response to that. I did not see one demi-puppet say to that demi-puppet, "How could you say that?" And how did "fuck" turn into "rape." That reminds of how Fox News does business. We will avoid the argument and just switch a word. And at the same time completely forget what provoked that sentence to begin with. Nothing a demi-puppet could ever do could provoke anger, because they are so innocent and liberal.
2. "If you’re comfortable with that level of condescension, I guess that’s your choice, but it disempowers you." I admit that I didn't know the word was spelled "moot" and "mute" I don't recall ever writing it down before that, just heard and used in conversation. But that brings up a good point about the demi-puppet mind set. I've noticed that when speaking to demi-puppets if you use a word they don't know or name an author they don't know for sure, they do not say they do not know that. Your sentence tells me that you are not confident in your intelligence and like most people you assume everyone thinks like you, but I am confident in my intelligence. I admit that I did not know how to spell that word, and through-out the blog I have written several times that I did not know what a word meant. It is called learning. I am not embarassed by that, if a person feels condescended to because someone corrects them it is because they believe they are a God that cannot be wrong, I am not a God, just a human.

One of things I hate most about the liberal demi-puppet mentality is their inability to admit to being wrong EVER. I sent Ehrenriech a bunch of comments on this blog concerning her and she didn't respond to one. There have been times when a demi-puppet has been clearly proven wrong, beyond a reasonable doubt, and they do not admit to it. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A DEMI-PUPPET ADMIT TO BEING WRONG. Wenclas did that day, from that, it is clear that Wenclas is the better human.

2. The Shakespeare thing is sketchy I think on both sides. it would have been better if you are "Our Brother" to just have emailed Wenclas and talked about Shakespeare like two friends in a bar trying to come to a compromise instead of attacking. But I noticed something concerning Shakespeare the other day, lately they have been making his movies into teenage and early twenties movies, "Romeo and Juliet", "Ten things I Hate About You", "O", and "Scotland, PA" Even though Shakespeare's plays involved Kings and Queens, the plots were and are to this day accessible and universal to even teenagers that have only a high school education. Also, my statement about Shakespeare pulling literature down from the heavens is still correct. Before Shakespeare most literature written had something to do with the heavens or Gods. For Shakespeare to do that was a great moment in literature and human history. Like Shakespeare The ULA is trying to pull down literature to common people from the upper classes. It has been done before for example Bukowski, Steinbeck etc. But never in so mass a movement. From the sales of Bukowski alone we can see that there is a demand that people want literature about regular people written by regular people.

Also history has created The ULA, The ULA pertains to this era, comparing it to other ones is silly. The comparison makes about as much sense as when a republican living in poverty without health insurance goes, "At least I don't live in Russia." The ULA was created as was the underground American literary movement of zeens and ezines because the mainstream non-genre literary world is being run by pretentious circle jerks. And the fact that the working class people of America have become more intelligent with the advent of television, computers, pell grants and loans to go to college, etc. There is an obvious dialectic here. The thesis is the new educated informed working class, and the antithesis is the contradictory middle-upper class that has had a lock down on information for years now and does not want to allow the lower classes to join into it.
There will be a synthesis to this dialectic, what it will be I do not know. But The ULA will be involved. The internal contradictions of the upper class intellectuals are destroying them, while we are getting stronger.

3. The "anti-thugs" comment was incorrect on your part. You should have just left that out. Perhaps the reason it was so easily logically turned around was because it was just an "a priori" and made no sense. But you do not admit that because I am a human and you are a God.

4. "people who react to having their ass handed to them in an argument"
I have seen demi-puppets write that a million times. But I have never seen a ULAer write that even when they have clearly won. Why, I ask myself. I assume because the demi-puppet knows they have lost, and instead of conceding or asking, "All right, you've proven me wrong, where do I go from here. Tell me about this ULA." But they don't do that, they get angry like Republicans when confronted with the facts, they get mad and just say they won. Bill o'Reilly does that. From that we can see that the intelligence of the demi-puppet is not intelligence or the want to know the truth at all, but just an identity, a facade, play-acting, to fill the empitiness of their shallow upper class suburban lives.

Why doesn't a ULAer respond with those lines about having won, because the ULAer is confident in their intelligence. They actually want to learn things, and they have dignity which the demi-puppet lacks.

How could anyone have dignity who supports people who take grants when they are millionaires, who uses connections to gain power, who have contests that cost twenty-five dollars to enter but are rigged. Only a person without dignity could uphold ideals like that. Which is strange because the demi-puppet are supposed to have bleeding hearts, they support the EPA and The Sierra Club, but when it comes to literature and what the academia does their bleeding heart stops and becomes stone cold as Cheney's.

Which implies again that their love for supporting charities and the EPA are just tied into their manufactured identities.

5. The sexual comments were a response to comments by demi-puppets that concerned violence. When someone responded with non violence I responded with non-violence. Some more O'Reilly Factor.

Also: Skinner would say that person was conditioned to be sexually violent. Sartre would say that sexual violence is created by wage-labor capitalism. What Frued would say I do not know. Also I wrote "Fuck" again, more O'Reilly Factor.

6. "The salient point here is that argument can’t proceed in the absence of clear thought and articulate expression. It degenerates into cliché, distortion, and confused ramblings."

You should send that to Harper's or Mother Jones, they would love that line. It means absolutely nothing but sounds really intelligent. That coming from a peson who thinks they debunked The ULA with a comment about Shakespeare concerning a Karl Wenclas OPINION. I get the feeling that you were sitting at your computer for months waiting for that perfect moment to strike with your Shakespeare comment and be that demi-puppet who destroyed The ULA.

"absence of clear thought and articulate expression"
That is what is called "rationalism." It is 2005, we live in a time of empiricalism, get with the times. Bush and neo-nazis use rationalism instead of empiricalism to create their opinions. That sounds like a really great idea. If history has taught humans anything, it is that we cannot trust thought alone, but we must use data based in concrete reality to make our decisions.

7. Your anti-intellectual comment: The people in academia currently are not intellectuals. They are identity driven people that get their opinions in the same way the republicans and racists do: Sartre, "The other tells the other tells the other, till no one thinks it."

The current intellectuals are inept, identity driven, and live in a constant state of circle jerking. Academic art doesn't imitate life nor does life imitate art with them, for them art imitates art because their circle jerks have gone on for so long they have completely forgotten what it means to be a person living and working in reality.
There is this line in "Goodfellas" when the wife says something like, "We were around each other so much and never saw outsiders that I started to think how we were bahaving was normal."
That is what the circle jerk of the academia resembles, a crime family. They have been only hanging out with each other for so long they do not know that what they are doing is silly, corrupt, and just cruel.

8. "but who also feels the need (perhaps perverse) to keep you honest."
This shows your true colors. You think we are like children and cannot keep ourselves honest. In that blog thread demi-puppets referred to lower class people as parasites. Bam Bam, I have only one thing to ask you, "Do you get mad when someone speaks to you like a child?, When someone views you as a child only because you were born into a certain class? That everything you say is automatically wrong because you were born into a certain class. That wouldn't make you angry Bam Bam?"

James Nowlan said...

I think that any critics of the ULA should try looking at through the prism of dialectic. Talk less about what it is and more about what it is becoming. If they were to define themselves as dedicated to making American letters more democratic for example then it’s character will be formed by this struggle. Who decides to become a member and who decides to be an opponent and for what reasons. Let’s look at the situation in which America finds itself at this moment. The neocons have pretty much found a way to present it : the forces of freedom against those of oppression, they already had this justification for the struggle against the Soviet block, no ? Me, I’d say it’s more of an expression of anti-democratic tendencies, some might say a power imbalance, too much power concentrated in the hands of too few who use it clumsily. Here as well the truth will come out in the fight : either those in charge are exceptionel enough to merit the authority they been given and they will win or not. I think in case they win those that work in publishing or academia will have to think about becoming neocon hacks or going into exile. Perhaps they will palm themselves off as a sort of opposition abroad. As far as I’ve seen where I’ve been living there are four groups working to advance the interests of the American right. Academia, media, religious and commercial. As far as I’m concerned the academic and the mediatic are the worst because they present themselves as not having a vested interest in the present power structure. Why shouldn’t I fight against the installation of the corrupt organisations of a failing regime in the country I’ve chosen to live and raise my family ?

Noah Cicero said...

Note to Bam Bam and all demi-puppets

If you feel like responding to the previous post and to the comments that I'm going to add. I will only accept it as legitimate if you fulfill these requirements.

1. if you answer the question in number eight in the previous post.

2: Disprove every sentence in that post, if you cannot disprove even one you must concede to that one sentence being correct.

3: And if you debunk every sentence I've written you must then prove that it is "Childish nonsense" also. I want all my sentences related to what situation a child would say something like that.

If you cannot do that, please consider another blog. Or are you going to be like the others who don't respond. Then a week later show up like nothing happened.

Comments added for you to respond to:

"This anti-intellectual cronyism is the reason that no one in the ULA has disassociated themselves from the threats in yesterday’s posts, and it’s exactly what the ULA accuses the demi-puppets of"

A demi-puppet said I should be punched in the nuts. A demi-puppet
initiated the threats, correct? How come you don't ask the demi-puppets to disassociate themselves from that demi-puppet.

How come you don't ask the demi-puppets to disassociate themselves from the corrupt, plagiarizing, grant stealing, award stealing, contest stealing, getting bad books published through connections overdogs?

I am lower class jerk off who has no power in this world talking on a blog, a fucking blog. Unlike Eggers or Moody and the rest of the overdogs who have power, money, and titles, who control the literary world using it to get undeserved money and fame. And at the same time locking out a good amount of better writers because they can't afford to go to certain schools.

What is more important, me being a dick on a blog, or people who control information and intelligence behaving in a criminal manner? Which one Bam Bam and demi-puppets?

"and it’s exactly what the ULA accuses the demi-puppets of"

The ULA accuses the demi-puppets of cheating on contests, nepotism, publishing useless psuedo writers, demanding that a writer if they want to get non-genre literature published they must attend basically only Columbia and Iowa or one of the ivy league schools. First the classism in that is self-evident, 90 percent of the people in those MFA programs are for sure private school students, if they have any state school students at all it is only because of a quota system imposed by the government.

Second: The overdogs have a lock down on information. They own the magazines, connections to the big presses, and have nation wide distribution.

The ULA did meet because they could afford a certain school that less than ten percent can afford. The ULA does not hold contests for money and then just give the prize to their friends. The ULA does not own information and have it on lock down so no one can participate in it unless they pay for a 200 thousand dollar education.

The ULA doesn't make people pay dues.

The ULA members after the five origin members met through publicity and word of mouth. I have never met another ULA member, only through I have communicated with them through email. Kostecke and Wenclas liked my writing and asked me to join, no money, no publishing promised, no contest winnings, no awards or grants being given, no promises at all. I read through the site and the manifesto and I already shared many of the views The ULA had without ever hearing of The ULA and decided to join.

I've heard that phrase from many members of The ULA, "I already had those views before I ever even heard of The ULA." That is a strange coincidence isn't demi-puppet that people completely remote from each other, from San Fran, to Detroit, to Cleveland, and to Canada some how came to the same conclusions about the publishing world without ever hearing of The ULA. Answer that demi-puppet?

The difference between The ULA sticking together and the overdogs sticking together is this.
The overdogs are doing the activity of cronyism and nepotism.

The ULA is working out of solidarity.

A metaphor for this could be:
The overdog version of cronyism: A Wendy's grill man drives the manager home because he or she is hoping to get on his or her good side to make manager.
The ULA solidarity: One grill man drives another grill man home because they are friends and in the same situation.

4. I view the word intellectual as mysticism in 2005 America. The liberal media has elevated the so called intellectual to a mystical state which puts them beyond criticism in the eyes of a lot of Americans. But it obvious from how America is their intelligence does not work in the Information Age. Their ideas on reality are stale, arrogant, and ineffective.

To be anti-intellectual is be anti-mysticism.

5. "Cicero’s childish nonsense is not an anomaly but rather the paradigm of what your beggars’ revolution is all about."

You should send this one to The Nation or The New Yorker. It is so delightfully contrived and nonsensical, they will love it.
Why the hell would it be an anomaly?

Jim Chapman an experimental writer who has been to the literary cock tail parties of NYC many years ago told me the other day that the reason the intellectuals don't like me and I think for the same reason they don't like The ULA is that they fear us. They are terrified of intelligence/informed people who can write complex ideas in simple language that even barely educated people can understand. When the demi-puppet reads a ULAer's writing they can see their own ineptness, their wasted education, their play-acting, their make-believe lives, all the lies they've told themselves and been told for years unfold before their eyes. When encountered with reality they conscious if they accept it, they will destroy the life they have grown up in and the life they are choosing to live.

The Demi-Puppet when reading this blog and ULA writings becomes conscious that they are taking part in a corrupt system, that their life is silly, that what they thought was true was only a notion created by a circle jerk. That their lives are meaningless empty voids that are sucking off a classist government that reinforces division and allows some people to be broke without health insurance and others to be billionaires.

Why do you think Frenzon and Eggers and Bellers' writing is just filler. Because the life of the demi-puppet and overdog is just filler. Nothing happens to them and they do nothing to no one else. The anger and rebuttels they give are out of fear, The ULA makes them conscious of their own meaninglessness.

For overdogs and demi-puppets owning information is all they have, since the republicans own the means of production they had to make a way to make themselves feel meaningful and Godlike, so they took over information. The ULA is a threat to that. If the ownership of information is taken away from them, they will have no reason to live and be forced to face the fact that they are not Gods, but humans.

I couldn't imagine anything scarier to the demi-puppet or overdog then one of the people they give beans to or laugh at, or study like zoo animals looking them in the face and explaining in clear and precise language why they are cruel and actually harmful.

Respond to these sentences also Bam Bam. And if any demi-Puppets are going to respond, do what I requested of Bam Bam or I won't consider it ligitimate.

Anonymous said...

Dear Noah,

Re: Responding to your comments.

Nah.

You guys crash people's readings, but you're mad when people drop in on a ULA blog?

Also, isn't it frustrating when you try to debate with someone who 1) doesn't listen, 2) refuses to answer your points, 3) makes any number of frustrating assumptions about you, yet which aren't true, 4) assumes you are less of a person than you are. Goddamn, that's frustrating. Believe you me, it is. So, ULA, but especially Noah, take a long look in the mirror. Maybe even reread the section of your last email where you talk about how Franzen and Beller et al have empty lives and never do anything for anyone. Noah, you know as little about that as I know about you. Young man, I'm trying to help you!

But you don't want my help. You probably want me to fuck off. I know you guys think you're the pranksters of lit, but you're not really selling that image very well when you get all pissy about crash-posting.

I'm scared off but good now.

Bam "Bam-Bam" Bam

Anonymous said...

Dear Noah,

Re: Responding to your comments.

Nah.

You guys crash people's readings, but you're mad when people drop in on a ULA blog?

Also, isn't it frustrating when you try to debate with someone who 1) doesn't listen, 2) refuses to answer your points, 3) makes any number of frustrating assumptions about you, yet which aren't true, 4) assumes you are less of a person than you are. Goddamn, that's frustrating. Believe you me, it is. So, ULA, but especially Noah, take a long look in the mirror. Maybe even reread the section of your last email where you talk about how Franzen and Beller et al have empty lives and never do anything for anyone. Noah, you know as little about that as I know about you. Young man, I'm trying to help you!

But you don't want my help. You probably want me to fuck off. I know you guys think you're the pranksters of lit, but you're not really selling that image very well when you get all pissy about crash-posting.

I'm scared off but good now.

Bam "Bam-Bam" Bam

King said...

"Bam Bam," it's curious how you misinterpret the Robert Greene quote-- apparently you don't understand its context. Note the "player's hide" phrase. What this shows was members of the ESTABLISHED and LEARNED playwright community taking issue with a mere actor, who hadn't been to university, daring to be one of their number. (Many of the top playwrights and poets were of course outright aristocrats; it was still thought, in some circles, that "literature" belonged only to them.)
What you've in fact done, unwittingly, Bam Bam, is show that the snobbery which exists now in the lit-world existed also then-- that, if anything, Shakespeare would've been on OUR side, against the snobs. Robert Greene was a kind of demi-puppet of the day, sucking up to his era's Overdogs. I think it's noteworthy that the company put together by Shakespeare, Burbage, and their friends, was ULA-like in that the actors controlled things themselves, fairly much-- with permission from the Crown (State) of course. They wre a fairly democratic, cooperative group and controlled their own art, much like the ULA is doing.
Yes, Shakespeare was eager to "sell out," and in a way did, for money and a coat-of-arms, but never got the recognition he deserved as the greatest writer of his era, largely because of his humble background. Even after his death he was still being dismissed as a character who drank too much and could never stop talking. See Ben Jonson's remarks about this.
Putting on plays was still a somewhat disreputable business. The Globe couldn't operate within the London city limits-- was located in a raunchy part of town. The entire profession would be banned once the Puritans took power.
Context, Bam Bam! Shakespeare was about the lowest-class writer operating in his day, an outsider who from sheer rhetorical talent barged into the literary profession, so that many snobs today refuse to believe he actually wrote the plays (though all documentation shows that he did).
That he was not constipated about grammar and rules is further evidence that he was more like a ULAer than another kind of writer. In personality he was very much like us. You mention the readings the ULA has crashed. You don't seem to have a clue what Globe presentations were like-- with the audience part of the action; talking back to characters and pelting villians with peanuts, orange peels and such.
Do you really think "The Bard" was a meek Elissa Schappell sort? Or was he not like one of US-- loud, boisterous, and often raging drunk??
Someone heckle him-- the master of wordplay? He would've loved it!
Get a clue sometime.

King said...

What can be said about Franzen and Beller is that they live in a kind of rarefied, plastic-bubble world-- are fairly clueless about how most people in America live. Does this harm their art? I think it does.
They get mucho promotion. All we're doing is offering an alternative, and making noise about it. Why does this bother folks?

Noah Cicero said...

"You guys crash people's readings, but you're mad when people drop in on a ULA blog?'

Anger or being 'mad' caused The ULA to crash those readings. The overdog will be faced with anger by The ULAer as long as they persist in their current behavior.

The ULA was mad then and we are mad now.

The intellectuals at those readngs weren't mad at the ULA, they were offended. There is a difference.

What has pissed me off though and caused me to make that comment about considering another blog is because I'm tired of seeing people obviously lose an argument with a ULAer, stop posting, then return in a week like nothing happened. That is just ignorant in my opinion.

"1) doesn't listen:" I quoted you many times. I read what you wrote many times. I agreed that the Shakespeare thing was sketchy but voiced in the blog was not the right venue for that unless you decided before you ever made the comment that you wouldn't compromise at all, which is probably true, common demi-puppet behavior. The main defect in you writing is that a lot of your phrases don't make sense like "intellectual" or "anti-intellectual." Those sentences that I said should be sent to Harper's or the New Yorker. You stated an a priori. You play language games using big words hoping to befuddle us, a lot of demi-puppets do that. Because they read what we write and think in their head, "These people are so stupid, they don't know any big words." The problem is, is that we do actually know the big words but we are conscious that they don't need to be used to make our point.

For example your use of the word "Salient." Why didn't you just write relevant or significant or important?

"refuses to answer your points,"

You made only one real point which concerned Shakespeare. Wenclas showed what Robert Greene actually was. In number 2. of my first post I talked about Shakespeare. We did answer your points.

And I replied to your "Salient" point in 6. of my first point showing that it was just nonsense and all you kind of did was give the theory of rationalism.

"3) makes any number of frustrating assumptions about you, yet which aren't true,"

If it looks like a demi-puppet, smells like a demi-puppet, it must be a demi-puppet. Note 5. of my second post, this is the fear of I'm talking about.

"4) assumes you are less of a person than you are."

This is perfect. There is a big difference between the stands of the demi-puppet and The ULAer. The ULAer is trying to give information to people about a corrupt system; we are working our asses off trying to get the word out so people don't attend useless MFA programs in Nebraska thinking they are going to get published that way. We are trying to get the word out so much we allow Demi-puppets to enter into the blog, to see the blog, to pass information to them.

The stand of the demi-puppet is this. They withhold information, they don't respond to attacks of fraudulent contests, plagiarism, of getting undeserved awards and grants. They don't even respond to it. They come into the blog not to give information because they never present any empirical evidence but only in a feeble attempt to shut us up.

True story: I once got into a debate with an upper class pseudo intellectual wannabe and I kept contradicting him showing the people sitting near by how actually stupid he was, and you know what he did, he put his hand on my mouth to try to get me to stop talking with a mania crazed frenzy look in his eyes. I can see the demi-puppets in this blog wanting to do that if we debated in person, they would put their hands on our mouths begging us, "Please shut up ULAer, please, I can't take it anymore, no more information!"

And I don't know how I can assume that you’re less than person than I am, what does that really even mean? Like you don't have legs or something, I'm sure you have legs.

"Noah, you know as little about that as I know about you. Young man, I'm trying to help you!"

Why can't I know about it? What stops me from knowing?
here's a quote by Sartre, "I must decide the truth and want it, therefore I am able to not want it."
I assume you just don't want the truth. As the demi-puppets don't want it.
This is a Do-It-Yourself movement that implies we aren't asking help from demi-puppets and overdogs.

It obvious that I scared you and the other demi-puppets. Nobody tries to do a smear campaign on a harmless person. How the demi-puppets replaced my words reminds of the Swift Boat Veterans and how Fox news took the crowd noise out of that Dean Speech.

Your behavior is that of a sleezy Fox News Republican. You have turned into an Ionesco rhinoceros.

"I will not capitulate!"

Anonymous said...

'For example your use of the word "Salient." Why didn't you just write relevant or significant or important?'

Dude ... those alternatives are all bigger than "salient."

Bam-Bam said...

Noah,

Why won't you deal with the hard data I've provided? You insisted that your survey provided incontrovertible proof that readers at large would prefer ULA literature to that of comercially and critically successful writers, yet when I give you numbers that refute your contention, you simply ignore them. What kind of empiricist are you?

You claim that one person's suggestion that you be punched in the nuts justified your implausible threats of imagined sexual assault, yet my survey proved that a wide variety of people, people of different levels of education, from all walks of society, who enjoy a wide array of starchy side dishes and ground beef preparations all agree that you ought to be punched in the nuts. And you have no response. If you really were a committed empiricist, you would punch yourself in the nuts. And yet, as far as anyone knows, you haven't.

What's your reasoning? That you don't deserve it? That's simply an a priori rationalization. It isn't based on any evidence at all. In fact, all the evidence points in the opposite direction.

I will not consider your response to this, or any other post, legitimate unless you can answer this basic question. You also have to answer the following:
1. In what ways, exactly, has television added to the level of education generally, as you suggest?
2. Isn't it condescending for writers to limit their vocabularies in order to be understood by 'everyday people'? Are these people really as idiotic as you assume they are?
3. To the closest tenth of a percent, what portion of the people you slag do you think give a fuck?
4. What do a raven and a writing desk have in common?
5. What are the Cubbies' chances this year?
6. What's with these windshield wipers on headlights?
7. If a train leaves Albany for Pittsburg going 45 mph and another train leaves Albany 20 minutes later, also heading for Pittsburg but going 60 mph, where will the second train overtake the first?
8. What has happened to the Snowdens of yesteryear?

Noah Cicero said...

well Bam Bam you've returned. Didn't respond to one question I've asked, there was like twenty of them, and you couldnt respond to one and still won't concede to one of them. That is classic demi-puppet behavior.
But I will respond to yours, people will ask, Noah, why do you respond to that anonymous person's comments?" My response is, "Because even though he does not respect me as an adult, I will continue to respect him as one.

That is one of the main differences between The ULA and the demi-puppets in debates. The ULA approaches the demi-puppet as an adult that should be convinced if given the facts, because that is how adults should behave when given the facts. At least that was I thought. And when the demi-puppet refuses to concede and says, "What's this ULA, explain more to me, you are making sense." The demi-puppet becomes like a child playing shoots and ladders saying phrases like, "That's not fair, you evil mother fucker, that's just nonsense, or begins mocking."

The demi-puppet approaches the demi-puppet with a ULAer by pretending they are a flawless God, but as the debate turns sour for them they become like children trying to make The ULAer feel guilty by calling them assholes, evil mother fuckers, and saying that's not fair etc. But some of the smarter demi-puppets start mocking The ULA because they know they have lost, therefore they have three choices, concede, call The ULA assholes, or mock.

Mockery is commonly used by people who are afraid of the ideas presented. Here is a link to a comic used by the christian identity church (a hate group) mocking liberals and Jewish people http://www.kingidentity.com/lib.html.

Mocking is obviously out of fear.

Note: There is a difference between mockery and making fun of something. Saturday Night Live makes fun of something, the intention of it is to arouse laughter in the arena of comedy.

When making fun of something takes place in a serious debate, it is mockery. The intention of mocking is to somehow lesson the other person's argument, to degrade the individual making the argument hoping that other people watching will see your mocking/degradation of that person and not believe that other person based on that. It is propaganda.

Just like the christian identity church mocking jews and liberals, they do it in a hope to degrade the jews and liberals so people will not believe them.

Mocking is a sign of fear, it is done to manipulate the facts and to distort what is being presented so the audience will be confused to what is actually being said.

Ezekiel is very guilty of that.

The ULA is debating a sector of society that is part of million dollar corporations, and owns many of outlets of information, for example almost of all academia, the mainstream left, the political books coming out, magazines and documentaries. We were and are debating something that involves millions of people lives, and you bring mockery into the debate. How Michael Savage of you.

Response to your questions:
1. In what ways, exactly, has television added to the level of education generally, as you suggest?
That is very typical of an upper class demi-puppet, because a demi-puppet doesn't believe that knowing accurate information comes from learning, but from titles like professor, or National Book award winner, MFA major etc.

TV channels like the Learning Channel, Discovery, PBS, Travel channel, news channels, CSPAN, and Court TV, and a lot of channels now have educational programming, and a lot of shows have shown through images how different cultures live etc. Shows for example: Ten o'clock law shows have taught people about laws and how court systems work, SVU is very existential in nature, ER or hospital shows have taught people about what heart surgery looks like, what are the names of things doctor's use etc, shows like West Wing and the news show how the government works, The John Stewart presents politics is an easy manner for the youth to understand, South Park says many social things, John Stossel, Forty Eight Hours, CSI and Forensic Files supplies information on science, the list goes on and on Bam Bam. The fact that CSI is popular, such a scientific and technical show appeals to working class people is unheard of in history. The fact that Frasier, a person who used big words constantly and somewhat complex ideas appealed to so many normal everyday people also symbolizes something. You can also say there are shows like Dead Zone with psychics also mean something, but there are two points to make concerning that, first it is not a Christian psychic using Jesus to catch the criminals, second France had the same problem in 1848, there country was divided over mystical conservatism and nationalism verses a better future involving more empirical data to make choices, we know what happened there, they chose a better future.

2. "Isn't it condescending for writers to limit their vocabularies in order to be understood by 'everyday people'? Are these people really as idiotic as you assume they are?"

You have shown your true demi-puppet colors again. I think that was the most classist line I've read on this blog.

So by your thinking Bam Bam, all you need to be an idiot is to not know big words? Which implies all you need to be intelligent is knowing big words.

First knowing what a word means is memorization. That is it. You read the word and memorize the definition like you would remember where the bathroom is at your work place. That is all the intelligence it takes to know what a big word means.

Second knowing a lot of big words comes from having liesure time. by sitting around looking up words and memorizing them, by having the time to go to college and getting told the words by professors and then memorizing them. The bulk of working people don't have that much liesure time and don't care, because in reality there is no need to know what "salient" means, how can that help you with your job, paying the bills, getting laid, or being a happier person?

Third: Why would I use a word that was not needed. There is no need to use the word "salient." Nobody talks with those words except for people who are not confident of their own intelligence. There are thousands of words in the dictionary, a lot aren't needed anymore, they are words from eras gone and dead. It is only the academic liberals that aren't confident in their intelligences that keep them around.

For example, true story: I know these two guys, I'll give them pseudonyms. George is more intelligent than Bob. George solves his problems better, he has an all around better life, and when shown facts he accepts them as possible proof and what he thought before might be wrong, and he is also very interested in learning new things. Bob on the other hand has a shitty life, no romance, bankrupt, shitty car, shitty job, but Bob listens to NPR and has memorized some big words and skims through books every once in a while just to talk about them. But George still believes Bob is more intelligent than him because in America people are told that if someone knows big words and talks about NPR they are mystically intelligent.

Forth: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Bukowski, Richard Wright, Stein, Beckett, Ibsen, Twain, Salinger and Orwell most of the great writers in literary history have all written in plain simple language. The philosopher Ludwig Wittenstein who is considered to be have the highest I.Q. of the 20th century wrote his philosophy in a simple "See spot run" language. He did use words from philosophy like tautology or a priori but that is the lexicon of philosophy, as gas pump or air-compression is of car machanics. There are probably a good amount of educated liberals who don't know what a gas pump does or what they mean by air-compression are they now idiots?

What that shows is not that they were so much trying to appeal to a certain audience, but that they noticed that big words did nothing, big ideas could be expressed through simple language and better.

"Of what we cannot speak we must be silent." Wittgenstein
That is perhaps the most complex philosophical sentence and idea to understand in the history of mankind and not one big word is contained in it.

3. To the closest tenth of a percent, what portion of the people you slag do you think give a fuck?

I would say 100%.
First: If they didn't care they would give their names

Second: They wouldn't have posted if they didn't care.

Third: They call us assholes, and mock us. You only try to torture people that you care exist. For example when I am driving down the street I don't call random drivers assholes. No I call a certain driver an asshole when they pull out in front of me. Because they have made me conscious of them because I have a problem with what they did.

It is obvious they consider The ULA a problem. We are pulling out in front of them, we just backed into their brand new car.

The two things that brought on that mass of words by them is Wenclas' comment that The ULA is growing, that street poetry is better, and the Monday Report. It was all positive news.

The ULA is growing like a mother fucker and it is pissing them off. We have three book presses now that are going to be putting out books soon. The ULA book from Undie Press is going to be big. There are three literary ezines connected to The ULA. We have a good amount of professors for that title thing the liberals love. We have a journalist that was published in The Wall Street journal. Urban Hermitt is the top zeenster right now at Microcosm. The ULA fan site is becoming more focused, easier to handle, and engaging every week. The ULAers are working their asses off, doing a great job for no money at all, which must really scare the overdog because they don't do shit unless money is involved. ULAers do it because they love literature, because it is important to them that books get out to the public that are fun, informative, and readable.

Other facts that scare the demi-puppets and overdogs: Literary ezines are taking anybody that sends something in that is good without any awards or anything. Hell, I got published at Identity Theory, Retort, Nth Position, and Black Ice without ever getting an award or graduating from college. The ULA is invading their turf. There are too many paper zeens and literary ezines to control them, they are losing ground as we speak. Every time some kid says, "Fuck mainstream academic writing, I'm gonna start a zeen or literary ezine." They lose ground. I've read one of the overdogs say, "There are many ezines, anybody can do it." But that's my point, why are there so many ezines started by people who don't care if you graduated from a certain college or got any awards, because they are tired of mainstream academic writing.

4. What do a raven and a writing desk have in common?

They are words.

5. What are the Cubbies' chances this year?

Not good.

6. What's with these windshield wipers on headlights?

The Bourgeoisie exhibiting their wealth.

7. If a train leaves Albany for Pittsburg going 45 mph and another train leaves Albany 20 minutes later, also heading for Pittsburg but going 60 mph, where will the second train overtake the first?

In a jar.

8. What has happened to the Snowdens of yesteryear?

I don't know man.

Bam Bam: You have shown perfectly the classism of the demi-puppets. Their tactics of slander, propaganda, and fear of The ULA. How one demi-puppets tells another demi-puppet something and they believe it only because that person is a demi-puppet. And demi-puppets are always right because they Gods of intelligence, even though intelligence in their terms is knowing big words mean and titles.

Wenclas with the Robert Greene comment debunked your argument, but you did not concede. That must mean before you ever entered a comment into the blog you knew it was impossible that a ULAer was more informed about what you were talking about than you. Which implies you view yourself as a God, because Gods don't have to respond to criticism.

Your empirical evidence: I don't respond to it, because I seriously doubt it was ever done. It took me took two months to complete that Monday Report because people wouldn't give me the damn experiment back, and somebody put in their kid's school back pack by mistake and took two weeks to find it again. But besides that experiment there are facts that can be found on the internet concerning Bukowski sells, and how many people visit certain literary ezines and underground literary sites, and if you email certain people they will give the facts i put down.

"threats of imagined sexual assault,"
I said, "Fuck." But you are doing that thing republicans do on Fox News, fucking with the facts, hoping nobody checks them. You lying is obvious and not one demi-puppet tells you, you are an "Evil Mother Fucker." That says a lot doesn't it?

Noah Cicero said...

Also Bam Bam:

Tom Bellers attacked a small female for a camera.

An editor of a magazine, I cannot remember the name told Wenclas to go to his office "to tell it to his face," which is a common phrase of violent activity.

Where were the demi-puppets then? Bellers actually committed violence in concrete reality and not on a blog. Where you then Bam Bam?

King said...

Keep in mind, Noah, that "Bam Bam" is simply just another anonymous fake. I've encountered scores of them the last few years.
BB pretends to be objective, just keeping us honest, he says.
I wonder why he's not keeping authors like Jonathan Franzen honest! Has he asked Franzen what happened to the taxpayer money when J.F.'s pal Moody awarded him his NEA grant-- why he gave none of it back?
Has B.B. wondered why Franzen et.al. don't make themselves available, answering questions from all comers, as we do?
A double standard?
Objectivity?
This character has his own agenda, is maybe one of the folks we've contended with-- or one of their flunkies, most likely-- which is why the person, like all of his disreputable type, has to hide.

Bam-Bam said...

Goodness have you guys gotten earnest all of a sudden. You sound like a couple of small-town lawyers. "Keep in mind, Noah..." And I'm the one who's accused of treating him like a child?

Where's the rock 'n' roll, King? It's starting to feel like a poetry workshop around here.

Less talk, more rock,
Bam-Bam

King said...

I'm simply pointing out that you have no substance-- and that truth is a concept without meaning to you.
(Funny, just a few posts ago you were complaining that we rocked too much for you-- daring to add noise to tepid lit events! We're always available to do it again if you want-- and likely will. Keep your eyes open!)