Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Next Monday Report. . . .

. . . .may be the most controversial of the many we've posted, addressing the long-time question of whether the Paris Review has had ties to the CIA. This isn't a new controversy. George Plimpton had long-term friendships with CIA types like Jock Whitney. (His father Francis T. Plimpton's record working for the government during the days of the Bay of Pigs is undeniable.) George himself acknowledged the rumors about Paris Review, without confirming or denying them, in an anniversary issue of the magazine. George and his friend Peter Matthiessen were raised at a time, in a class and milieu, when being adventurous in CIA fashion was expected and appropriate.

The essay we're presenting contains much personal testimony. The question is whether one believes the sincerity of the writer, Richard Cummings. WE DO, and present the essay for consideration by our readers in that light.

Cummings's two-part Report is noteworthy not only for its credible revelations, but also for the window it provides on the mentality of those at the highest levels of this society who believe literature is their private playground.

We made attempts to contact principals named in the article for on-the-record comments. From Paris Review we received no reply. Former Editor James Linville stated, "I don't think Richard Cummings is a fully competent journalist"-- but would say nothing else on the record. As for Peter Matthiessen, no phone numbers or web addresses for himself or his zen center in Sagaponack, New York, are listed.

(The ULA's Monday Report is at


Jeff Potter said...

Speaking of real and goofy conspiracies, I have some news ...

Edrants told Galley Cat awhile back that he had done some "detective work" on the scatalogic parody launched at the ULA. Galley broke their "gotcha!" in a hyper-complex, scarcely-readable newsflash on her blog:

"What makes this exchange especially heady, though, is the fact that -- according to Pockets' IP address -- ULA spokesman and Orlando Hotpockets (a psuedonym? Never would have guessed!) are one and the same. Which brings to mind (again) my long-held theory that the ULA is not a literary rebellion, but a very long, intricate piece of Andy Kaufman-inspired/Dadaist/Duchamp-ian performance art, albeit with intententions no more lofty than your kid brother's on a long family car trip..."

This seemed VERY unlikely to everyone involved. --Except to the two Litbloggers. However, Galley said she was willing to apologize if proved wrong. She then told me the further details of what she was trying to allege.

To wit, Edrants' detective work was that he discovered that *King Wenclas* and O.H. both have *blogs* with the same IP address.

Since Galley had been impugning me earlier we didn't know they were talking about King, so at least that was cleared up. The rest was just plain funny.

Edrants' "detective work" was a real knee-slapper but I asked my ISP tech people just to be sure. And sure enough, it was as obvious of a moronic allegation as it seemed. Only more so!

Obviously freeware bloggers have no say about their IP's. But the more hilarious thing was that King and O.H. have the same IP's because they both use as anyone can see! -- Edrants himself has a Blogger blog (an old one) with the same IP as theirs! I do, too! Everyone with a Blogger blog has the same IP. --Doh!

I confirmed the dopiness of their sleuthing several days ago and expected a quick apology from both of them. No such luck. And Galley just posted, so she's around.

C'mon, fess up!

Orlando is a trite workshopper and King is a hardfighting advocate for the underground. Nowhere do they meet.

And even if things were crazier than the crazy they already are and they *were* the same, the ULA would still be the ULA and we've already boosted the literary climate beyond what MFAers have done lately---and way beyond kid brother annoyance.

There's no going back, Galley and Edrants, you might as well join our dialog, or at least start trying to break the underground out yourself and join the fun however you can. It's where the talent is.

And if you want to read some REAL sleuthing, check out the ULA's Monday Reports!

Tim Hall said...


A rare website devoted to ULA critics!

WARNING: Disturbing images!

Patrick @ LitVision said...

Jeff and Tim, your posts above reinforce the urge to retire to the mountains for a life of spiritual contemplation.

The Gambino Crime Family said...


Cool report. I can't wait for the second part. It's amazing how the CIA set up all these false flag organizations during the cold war to co-opt a lot of the cultural opposition. I mean, what's the point of fleeing to Paris if you're still going to be bought and paid for by The Man?

Another good book on this subject (though with not a lot on The Paris Review) is Who Paid The Piper, by Frances Stonor Saunders.

Jeff Potter said...

Man, that Cummings guy sure comes from a scene that I wouldn't want to be part of. Seems pretty snaky. Serial-wives, pedigrees and "he gave me a look"---ha!

But I like the fact that we're running his MR. It shows we don't cut ourselves off from the rich, no matter how unpalatable they are.

No, I'm sure they're wonderful---it's just true that the ULA is not really ready for the diplomatic corps.

---But the dandies of the MR writer's rarified world sure wouldn't survive in the real world for long either.

One angle is: I wonder how much of this CIA stuff was just fluff. Who cares how the rich play. These jet-set rich kids just got to put it on their secret resumes as a cool thing---as King says, it was something of those times, that class. I can't imagine any of them helped or hindered anything. They're fops, fer crying out loud. And I suppose the CIA still sucks just as bad. Anything connected to spoiled rich kids does, eh?

However, there's the fact reported in the MR that the CIA wrecked the publication of a buncha antiwar mags---so that's bad news, there's some people who got their nefarious work done. I bet it wasn't the fops that got those evil jobs done, though.

I suppose Peter and George reported on the elite social climate when they went to fancy faraway places.

Of much more relevance to the American reading public was the false elevation of their darling writers. Friends of friends of the CIA get a hand up the ladder despite being lousy. So add that to the academic fluffing we know so well. And don't forget that those who support rights and freedom, like Cummings, got on their shitlist and got their stories pulled.

There's also the split personality of lefty elites like George that's worth noting. It's obvious that no progressives are ever going to look to such people, but what a sad derailing of resources: the rich hog the resources of the progressives/left and pretend to speak for them, but can't! They're an albatross. No one would want them on their side. Wastrels! (I'm sure they know their manners, though---their paralyzing manners.)

I remember also not being able to read a thing that Matthiesen wrote! It had this tough/exotic/authentic reputation, but was just unreadable. I tried Tortuga and Leopard.

- Leopold said...

I agree with Jeff here. Pseudo man-boys playing spy-spy games at their tea-parties. I laughed when M send the woman over to tell him 'you're lucky I let you hang around or I'd take you down'. Puhlease! too bad the fiction in these guys' heads was so much more interesting than the fiction they put to paper.

The article does, however, provide interesting insite into the inner workings of upper-class literary culture - I like how nearly everybody he runs into in this article goes on to run some major organization or publication. Is it just their obvious talent? Or their connections & financial backing, most likely.

I also liked the way in which sensual-socialism came out. They like to spout support for the common man at their wine & cheese dinners, which is commendable, however the thing is it's just a fashionable opinion when they clearly don't understand the real life ramifications of actually BEING poor or working class and are, in a lot of ways, despite their supposedly good intentions, in a bad position to change it because of their deep rooting within the problem itself. They speak of freedom of speech and the struggle of humankind for peace, etc... in the same breath they are pulling down articles, shutting down magazines that stand in the way of democratic goals and exposing corruption.

I look forward to the next installment for several reasons.

King said...

Regarding the IP matter: We see that lit-bloggers discredit themselves, proving (the ones I can observe) that they're without character. Put them on the spot and they'll make vague noises against the lit-establishment-- but in their behavior they're cut from the same cloth.
What does one do about GalleyCat? One always hopes that people ON THEIR OWN will do the right thing, without us having to make noise about it. After all, she was misled by Ed Rants, whose information was wrong, as Jeff Potter pointed out. But GC still ran with it. The idea of doing what's right is to benefit ONESELF as much as anyone else.
All the ULA asks for, really, is fair play-- and never gets it.
Will any of the bloggers who pose as logical and objective-- Daniel Green, Robert Birnbaum, and their like-- make one comment about this matter? Of course not!
IF the false statement posted about the ULA had been true, we would have acknowledged it and corrected it. If I ever do something as ridiculous as creating phony identities to use to attack myself, that'll be the day I resign from this outfit-- or should be kicked out.
Our opponents have no standards at all, because they really don't care about literature and how they besmirch the lit-world-- all that matters to them is themselves.
We're still waiting for apologies from Dave Eggers and Jonathan Franzen for falsely claiming we posted anonymously on Amazon-- (which at least one of them was doing). Will we ever hear from them? From Phony-of-Phonies "Ed Rants." I don't count on them ever gaining integrity and conscience.

frantic said...

that ed rants guy really has some nerve. he devotes his blog to what is happening in literature, criticizes the new york times book review, and is often really funny. (i say that without necessarily agreeing with much that he says.)

instead, he ought to be talking about eggers, franzen, and the conspiracy! all the time! all the fucking time! he should not write about anything else!

and because he does not do that, he is part of the evil franzen-eggers conspiracy! let us send jeff potter after ed rants, to strike terror into his heart through jeff's rather seedy looking photograph!

that'll learn him.

- Leopold said...

Congratulations fran, this post is as close as you've actually come to making any sort of substantiated argument or opinion.

Good job. Keep trying. You can do it.

I'll tell you what is insane though, how obsessed you are with this blog that you'll go through every entry, read it and post the most empty comment imaginable. Do you understand how your actions make you look like the one who is irrational and insane? We're just trying to help, but keep digging that hole if you want to.

And the fact of the matter is, our criticizism against Ed Rants is that he did some shitty 'detective work' (Actually, laughable) and then reported his 'findings' (incorrect) to another blogger. When we pointed out his very obvious (and surely embarassing) error, he refused to retract or even apologize for making his outlandish claims. The ULA, at least, checks its research and is not above apologizing and correcting ourselves when we err.

frantic said...

aw, it is just SO CUTE when you guys try to act all grown up and reasonable! it is just adorable.

as i recall, orlando hotpockets was pretty quick to express his frustration at being identified as a crypto-ula member. so i think ed rants was totally full of shit on that one. but aside from that, his site is a lot smarter than anything you guys do.

he made a mistake. big deal. if he apologizes and kisses the boo boo, will you kids stop whining?

MoviesAreDecoys said...

What this article shows is that the CIA has tried to co-opt the people in society who other people look to for amusement or advice.

And because this culture war tactic is illustrated by the CIA's promotion of Jackson Pollock through their front group called the Congress for Cultural Freedom there are now two decoy movies on video store shelves right next to each other as a binary agent of misdirection.

I've written recently that all the CIA dirty laundry we can learn on the internet is getting the movie misdirection treatment to exploit the brain's *mutual exclusivity* phenomenon of strong first-impressions to innoculate or pre-bias American kids against knowing how dirty Uncle Sam really is. If you watched 'The Good Shepard' you were told that a black woman was the reason for the CIA's failure at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. Hope that doesn't affect young voters when 9/11 whistleblower Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney runs for office again.

The resettling of hundreds of Nazi war criminals in the US called Project Paperclip just got a decoy movie made about some school kids doing a Holocaust memorial called The Paperclip Project. A CIA front film company who works for the White House called the Johnson Group made it and is marketing it to US public schools as a history lesson just to innoculate them against the real Project Paperclip. Mirrors and more mirrors.
"Lather, rinse, repeat" should be the motto carved over the door at Langley.

My local chain video story has TWO movies on the same shelf that are a binary-agent (pun intended) weapon of misdirection away from the CIA's front called the Congress for Cultural Freedom using artist Jackson Pollock as the keyword that was hijacked.
(Keyword hijacking is used to manipulate search engines and create cultural decoys by pre-defining scandals in a benign way.)

One Pollock decoy movie is high-brow for art lovers and the other is the opposite. Hegel would be proud.

Both movie titles begin with "Who" so they end up near each other alphabetically.
The same locational filing system is used with new or recent releases and they end up on the higher eye-level shelves, right? Right.

The two 'Pollock' misdirection decoy movies are:
'Who Gets to Call it Art?' which is a high-brow documentary about the modern art movement of the 1960s courtesy of a real museum curator. Here's your wine-
>Who Gets to Call It Art? (2006)<

Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler reflects on the 1960s pop art scene in New York.<

The other low-brow 'Jackson Pollock' movie is right next to it on the video store shelf and is
an obscenity-laced production really about a wacky old woman. Here's your beer-
>Who the Fuck Is Jackson Pollock? (2006)<

This is a documentary about a woman truck driver buying a tag sale painting for $5 that might be a Pollock worth millions.

A reviewer's commentary on the website tells us all we need to know about this misdirection project:

A moderately charming documentary investigates the odd stroke of luck one old lady came across when haphazardly buying this dirt cheap painting in a thrift store which turned out to have serious potential in belonging to famed drip-artist Pollock. The main subject of this small work, a 73 year old truck-driving Teri Horton, could have been a subject unto herself. Appearing greedy and ignorant despite her likability and down-to-earth qualities, her character had such potential when squared off against the art world elite, though the promise the premise seems to be banking on hardly seems to deliver. While a few humorous scenes help flesh out this gaping cultural rift between a grandmother who wanted to use her canvased splatter as a dartboard and the pompous scholarly critics who scoff at her every thought, most of the time is dedicated to the actual process she went through in seeking some sort of vindication, no matter physical or mental in her growing obsession.<

Thus the CIA uses its film assets to cover its historical tracks in culture war.

There are many many decoy films like this linked directly to CIA history.
Like Robert Redford in the 1975 movie 'Three Days of the Condor' and Operation Condor. Or 'Tucker' which was a decoy away from the torture device the CIA trained its South American assets to use called 'the Tucker telephone' after the Arkansas Tucker Prison Farm where it was used in the 1960s.

You get...the picture.

Funny that Chevy Chase's father is mentioned in Cummings' expose because Chevy Chase had a role in the IranContra scandal. He was put in two movies, one in 1983 and one in 1985, that were mirrors of CIA cocaine smuggling ('Fletch') and CIA gun-running ('Deal of the Century').

Most movies since the 1970s have been either social engineering/recruiting narratives or misdirection away from scandals.

And lots of novels have been, too. Robin Moore, James Grady, etc.