Friday, May 27, 2005

On Negotiation

We've seen the past two weeks what patient negotiation achieves for the ULA: NOTHING. Maybe we'll eventually get careful correction to the false attack made on us. I wouldn't count on it. We should've instead made noise about the matter-- real noise-- ULA style.

Meanwhile, I was "negotiating" quietly to get ULA books into an indy bookstore. The managers set as a condition-- a condition!-- that we sign a "peace treaty" with McSweeney's. This was what's required to receive minimal treatment accorded other book people for doing nothing.

Most don't recall that the ULA's Slush Pile was kept out of indy bookstores like Atomic Books after our "Wet Firecracker" protest against McSweeney's. Some people in the lit-world have problems with free speech.

Our problem with McSweeney's, for those who are interested, is only that the whole phenomenon from the beginning was a lie, in the pose circulated by The New Yorker and themselves of their independence-- when the mag was already working tightly with congloms like Simon and Schuster; the congloms it's now totally in bed with. No matter! To clueless lit-folk all that matters is the lie-- to the extent that even publications like Punk Planet bought into the phony stance and lavishly profiled "The Dave" for his supposed DIY cred. A scam from beginning to end, which brainless acolytes continue to buy.

Let's negotiate!

There's a great scene in the movie "Viva Zapata" where Zapata (Brando) explains to a moderate politician the facts of life. He holds a rifle on the man and takes his watch. Then he hands his rifle to the man and gives him his watch back. "There!" he tells him. "Now you can have your watch back. But without that," he says, pointing to the rifle, "never!"

The moral is: have leverage before negotiating. We'll negotiate when we've captured "Mexico City" and the lit world is ours. Everything the ULA has achieved-- our press clippings and our profile in the lit world-- has been achieved through fighting for it. This is the only way we'll ever get a break. By making noise!

If the ULA is going to become a polite team of negotiators, I'll step off the train now, because I'll then know it'll never go anyplace.


frantic said...

how does an infant get its bottle? by making noise!

- Leopold said...

In a crazy world where we would even CONSIDER making a treaty with McSweeneys would they even take us up on it? That is a real laugh. At best they'd gloat about how spineless the ULA turned out to be (how like them we REALLY are). The idea is not only repugnant, but rediculous. They've proven themselves no less zealotish about the issue - Is anyone going to pull the plug on them unless they 'make a treaty' with us? What it comes down to here, perhaps, is the store is afraid McSweeneys will pull themselves from the shelves (and perhaps the profit stream), too afraid to trying competing with sincere competition.

Patrick @ LitVision said...

An infant gets his bottle by making noise, but also because the parent realizes that the baby represents the FUTURE. If the ULA movement can be equated to a baby, people like Wenclas, Potter, etc have been nurturing this "infant" (despite the hard thankless work and frustration involved) so it can continue to grow, mature, gain strength, shake things up and make even more noise! Literary fans who lack vision (like many of the McSweeney's group, many mainstream lit-bloggers) and ALL of the corrupt high-profile writers the ULA has spoken out against, are clutching mummified babies to their chests, feeding them from kool-aid and pepsi bottles. There's no future in it!

The ULA isn't perfect but we're really the only ones fighting to make the lit-world a better place. Look through our website's "Action" archives at all the ULA has accomplished in 4.5 years. More importantly, while anonymous detractors waste everyone's time sniping petty foolishness at us, we of the ULA are cooking up a dynamic literary campaign of production and excitement that will rock the 2nd half of this year, and beyond.

To Karl's post:
You're right that we should have made noise! GalleyCat has successfully played possum over the past two weeks, talking about trivial things on her blog, while deferring (if not putting off entirely) a much-deserved retraction of her laughable accusation against the ULA. However, her own inaction in this matter shoot straight at the heart of GC's credibility.

As to negotiating, seems like a lost cause with anyone even remotely in the McSweeney's set. Our two groups are built on entirely opposed foundations.

The ULA definitely needs to avoid becoming moderate. We can work with those groups and individuals who'll be true allies to us, but trying to work with poseurs will only dilute our energy and waste our time.

Thanks for your efforts w/ the bookstore, but we don't need them if they won't accept us as we are.

- Leopold said...

Great post, Pat. Amen 100% all the way.

frantic said...

upon reflection it seems that the noise may have less to do with needing a bottle (though i suspect the bottle is indeed a factor with some ula writing) than with soiling of the diapers (an image called to mind with each visit to the central ula website).

Emerson Dameron said...

I'm all for treating others as you wish to be treated, until they refuse to reciprocate.

What bookstore proposed this silly "peace treaty"? What could they possibly have to gain from it? Do rappers see a sales dip when they feud with one another? Please elucidate.

Jeff Potter said...

As Jack Saunders likes to tell it: When the Seminole chief Osceola gave himself up long after the rest of the Indian wars were over, after never having been defeated by the whites in battle, he was offered a treaty. He said "This is the only treaty I will make!" and stabbed the treaty with a dagger. True. Jack "the Wakulla Volcano" Saunders has the swamp spirit of the Seminole. And so does the ULA! Shortly after the treaty incident Osceola and his last fighters were put into prison. They hung out there awhile. Osceola I guess accepted the new way that was coming, but he never signed anything over. Wildcat, however, accepted no such shit. He was Osceola's righthand man. He busted outta prison and went back to the swamps to keep the fight alive. You can't keep em down, man!

I've layed in the last of the OYB Catazeen ads and will go to press on Friday. A lit-mag has never seen such a diversity of indy biz support. It's been a long, tough, cool experience, doing new things with businesses that they've never done before, I tell ya. But there's a psych in the air for this meshing of indy culture concerns. We've been divided too long. The Catazeen, along with a summer of phone sales and media hits, will comprise the national launch of the ULA PRESS. negotiate? They've never seen anything like what's coming their way! This summer could well burst into the craziest of the wild ones I've been thru. The tinder is comes the spark!