Sunday, April 10, 2005

Moody: Caught Red-Handed?

Legitimate Questions.

It's legitimate to ask how it was that out of 100 books considered by the National Book Awards panel Rick Moody chaired, the fiction award went to an upper-class author, Lily Tuck, from Moody's own social circle.

It's legitimate to question his essay in The Believer in which he claims not to have known anything about Ms. Tuck; that she was born in France and lives in New York City. Is this credible?

Where was Rick Moody when Lily Tuck won her PEN award in 2000? Moody is a key PEN member; attends most of their events; has sat on PEN grants panels. He seems never to have run into Ms. Tuck over the years, or even heard of her; not once.

Where was Rick Moody when the Paris Review published Lily Tuck? Past Paris Review editor George Plimpton is credited with having discovered Rick Moody. Moody has written for them often, been heavily involved with the journal, engaged in discussions with its editor over how it's run. He must've missed that issue.

It's legitimate to question a literary world that distributes its funds time and again "in-house"; a wealthy decision-maker handing the money to another wealthy Insider, at tax write-off events with $12,000 tables. Moody doesn't know why he's called on to chair such panels-- when it seems obvious that rich arts foundations are comfortable with one of their own.

For Rick Moody there's no context to his viewpoint. He can talk of thinking "outside the box," but in truth he lives inside a box. America with its various stratified hierarchies, its chasms of rich and poor, has no meaning to him. His box resides on a shelf in a closet, within the large house of America-- in the most comfortable room on the uppermost floor-- and within that box inside that closet everything is wonderful.

And so he's able to construct essays of absurdities which to him are completely logical. The essays make perfect sense within the box.

The vertically integrated monopolistic publishing industry, to his mind, though staffed with Ivy Leaguers, has suddenly become filled with populists. The elitist New York Times Book Review has suddenly also become radically populist, interested only in best-selling page turners. (Ignore last week's front-page article by Insider Walter Kirn about Insider darling Jonathan Safran Foer.)

Moody's complaints have no connection to reality. His attitude is reactionary; Thermidorean. If he wants the book conglomerates changed, it's to have revolution from above-- an aristocratic coup. He's retreating into his privileged "Three Thousand" of the Moody Doctrine; those who can appreciate the inscrutable narcissistic meanderings of Lily Tuck or himself. Even his friend Laura Miller isn't privileged or snobby enough. Condescendingly he dismisses her knowledge. She's not up to snuff! Not fit for Literature as he wants it, a postmodern priesthood equipped with special private knowledge. Moody seeks an elite above the elite. His prescription for what ails lit is to go in the wrong direction! The castle is burning yet he escapes inside it, raises the drawbridge and runs to the parapets as the structure of irrelevance begins crumbling. "Leave me my irrelevance!" his voice is heard to cry as the castle is obscured by dust and smoke.

The lit world has backed this clueless charlatan for five years while ignoring legitimate questions about what kind of literature and process Rick Moody represents. It had better start asking these questions, and more of them, if it hopes to save itself.

19 comments:

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Adam Hardin said...

We want people to come here and state their opinion and disagree, and argue with or against us, but when people interrupt discourse and do not want to participate in a discussion at all, then their post should be deleted because their behavior as in the above post is limiting the discussion.

In regards to Rick Moody, I think there is a real backlash growing against him, and the heart of it is here, but I have actually seen it elsewhere like Moby Lives and Rake's Progress. The blacklash is not only against his mawkish and pretenious pseudo-literary work, but also against his careerism in the literary world because both are killing American Literature.

The ULA is having a real effect on the Literary Culture, and you will see more and more attacks against the ULA in the future, and more pathetic attempts to silence or discredit us.

Tim Hall said...

Has anybody contacted cjb.net to pull down that phony ULA site that some racist psycho has put up?

Karl: more evidence that you should either ban anonymous posting or switch to livejournal, which can log IP identities (don't know if blogger has that feature).

It will be increasingly important in the coming months to investigate, uncover, and nail (prosecute, if possible) any of the fuckers who try to libel us.

Pat: are you on this?

Tim Hall said...

p.s. I'm fully ready, willing and able to sue the motherfucking nazi cunt psychopath responsible for libeling me by putting my name in a stolen, phony site that seeks to smear us as anti-semites.

I will find the dogfucker responsible and destroy that person if I can. You fucking coward, go jerk off to pictures of Terry Schiavo dying you hipster death cult zero.

Tim Hall said...

I've reported the issue to cjb.net, and am seeking information to uncover the perpetrator(s). I've also looped in my attorney, a brilliant young guy who's something like 42-0 in fighting all kinds of evil fuckers like this asswipe.

Tim Hall said...

karl:

it's not enough to have the posts deleted, though that's a start. The fucker must be FOUND and PUNISHED.

But to the point: Moody may not have "met" Tuck, which means that he thinks he can claim he didn't "know" her ("Hey, I never said I didn't know OF her," etc.)

Typical weaselly demi-justification. Of course he knew who she was, knew *of* her...but had he shared a Chardonnay with her? NO! a-HA! He wins again!

I'm also not surprised that he goes after Laura Miller. I've had my beefs with Miller's critiques (her screed against Chuck Palahniuk, and tepid takedown of Wood and Peck, were pretty awful), but she at least comes to the table with some teeth and fists, which I like, whatever her prejudices.

The issue here is that Moody is joining a long line of ULA targets who are whining that they are really, really, really *outside* the establishment.

Didn't you get the memo, Karl? Being in is the new out.

Or as Mugatu might say, "Underground. It's so hot right now. Underground."

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