Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Puppet Box

We've done the demi-puppets a favor the last couple days by allowing them to briefly escape the oppressive bourgeois phoniness of their own blogs.

Has anyone actually read Maud Newton, Galleycat, Sarvas, and the rest? Have you noticed the rigid conformity and sameness? Ritualistically sucking-up to such an extent; bowing and genuflecting on cue over every establishment-writer event; lavishing insincere praise on their aristocratic overlords; all while playing the role of "Writer" with a capital W and with constipated expressions, has to be exhausting.

They clearly enjoy hanging out in our neighborhood, where they can drop their plastered-on faces of literary importance and practice being human. Not with their own names of course. After all, when all is said and done they're still puppets!

Much has been made by them of their "cooperative" (blatant rip-off of the ULA without the edge or the fun). All they've done to date is write the word self-importantly on the side of the large toybox in which they dwell. At the end of the day the establishment caretakers who control their strings come to collect them. "Hmm. Curious," one of the caretakers ponders, rubbing his chin. "Several of the marionettes are scattered all over the room!"

He collects the toy-like things, formless and lifeless, without spines or substance, in his hands. Then carefully, before closing the lid, he arranges them back in their proper places in the puppet box.


Orlando Hotpockets said...

Aw, look, how cute. The pseudo-demi-puppets are all upset because other people are having a good time!

Nobody has any fun, here at Loserpalooza. They are too busy fretting about the Conspiracy.

King said...

You sure seem to spend enough time hanging out here. Don't you have your own clubhouse? Pretty stuffy and boring, I guess.
(Thanks again for the imitation blog. I'll mark you down on my list of fans. Care to join my fan club? Few have engaged in such sincere flattery as yourself.)

Orlando Hotpockets said...

Actually I am an incredibly successful and powerful writer, taking time out from adding up the HUGE advances that have come in for the Turkish, Aremenian, and Latvian translations of "The Heat of My Pockets" (by Orlando Hotpockets). And that's just for today!

So when I need distraction from endorsing the checks, this is my hangout. There is nothing like five minutes in Loserpalooza to fill me with renewed gusto for adding up my fortune!

King said...

Don't forget to send the translations to Mr. Birkerts. He gets off on unreadable junk. If it's in a foreign language he can't understand, it's an added bonus!

King said...

p.s. Let's be honest. You spent the entire day watching my blog to see when I might post something-- then got immediately on.
Keep watching. I may post something else!
I love my fans.

Orlando Hotpockets said...

Goodness, King, it sound like you are wetting yourself with excitement at the thought of anybody actually reading you!

On second thought, I can well believe that.

You are going to be so sad when I get bored with all of this and go away. And trust me, that moment is coming soon. A sad little pseudo-demi-puppet clown is entertaining, but for only just so long.

Emerson Dameron said...

The ULA is certainly ripe for satire - as KW mentioned, writer DB Pedlar made some hilarious comments about it on the alt.zines newsgroup. But you're pathetic, "Orlando." Whining at length about *someone else's irrelevance*... damn, that's good times. Go ahead and disappear.

Beowulf-Poet said...

On the boardwalk at Coney Island there's a vacant lot where an old carney impresario has set up a little amusement called "Shoot the Freak." "The Freak" is an out of work actor who runs around while people will paintball guns take turns shooting at him.

That's what this is, King, shoot the freak. We're shooting the freak. Not because we're scared of him. Not because we give a shit about what he's about. But because we're all a little sadistic, and in your case, we can allow ourselves to be cruel because you deserve it for all your bullshit and lying.

To be honest I don't even read your posts anymore, because they're the same old shit. "the Revolution is coming . . . " "The ULA has some of the best writing talent today . . ." "Noah Cicero is one of the dynamic voices of our time." Give me a break. Noah Cicero's writing is shit. Your writing is shit. FW's writing is acually kind of interesting, but he drank the kool-ade so he's probably already beyond hope.

There are a lot of self-delusional idiots in the world, and many of them have web sites. But you're the only one I know who goes out of his way to slander and attack individuals about whom you know fuck-all, all because your delicate wittle ego was bruised years ago when your whiney little "the world is not fair" expose came out. Grow up dude. Your heart's in the wrong place. It's 3 sizes too small. you don't really care about writing, you don't care about truth, you just care about self-aggrandizement and fulfilling some grand narcissistic destiny for yourself, and if that means getting attention not by creating, but by tearing down others, then so be it. Your world-view is based on petty jealousies and spite, no matter how much you try to dress it up in your laughable marxist utopian language. Actaulyl, with all your talk of "cleansing" and "cockroaches" you sound more like a fascist, purifying the world for Jack London and Bukowski. Do you even comprehend how ludicrious that is?

And think about it King, have you ever gotten one of those glorious bold-faced items on the gossip page for something *you* did? Or was it because you came into the orbit of another sphere, one of those undeserving successful people stealing your limelight and then threw one of your patented temper tamptrums. Do you think that was about you? Do you think any of us would give a shit about the crap you write on this site if you didn't slander and get attention about real people. If you weren't trying to hurt other people would you even exist?

These words are wasted on you. And I'm tired of this too. Save this page, and when you're still railling against Rick Moody ten years from now, remember that we were, in our mean little way, trying to help you.

I see you've turned off the anonymous option. No matter. Know that the man who has called you out is none other than

Your (former) servant,

Ezekiel Brutus

Adam Hardin said...

Some good things about the ULA:

We don't charge $30,000 to teach you how to imitate us and give you a Masters Degree that is useful to less than 1% of graduates in obtaining employment.

We don't charge $2,000 for an over-priced vacation at Breadloaf where you can partake in the drunken hayride with other hacks.

We don't bilk the public out of thousands of dollars through
"contests" that are often fixed where the winner and the judge have had prior relations, some in motel rooms.

We don't operate one the largest pyramid schemes in the history of Academia with some 300 M.F.A. programs catering to anyone who is willing to pay money for the priviledge of being knighted as a poet or novelist while their tuition goes to support their Professors who write garbage that the reading public is smart enough to ignore.

James said...

I've seen the Shoot the Freak attraction at Coney Island. A bunch of men take turns shooting paintballs at a poor young black guy who wears minimal protection. There is a carney barker shouting out to everyone, "Shoot the freak!" as if the 'freak' somehow deserves it. The kid probably doesn't get paid much.

How telling that King's detractors imagine themselves as Freak shooters. It's certainly a pathetic and cowardly shadow of the cruel spectacle, as their attacks are all done in cyberland, and either anonymously or pseudonymously. But psychologically, the same disposition towards cruelty is obvious. These people feel the need to hurt those who are of a perceived lower class, that they may remind themselves of their Nietzschean superiority.

Beowulf-Poet said...

I feel pretty confident that my "class" credentials are as blue-collar as any of yours, though I'll refrain from bragging about them, since I don't believe there's an innate dignity in poverty. Suffice to say that there are--believe it or not--a lot of people who prefer not to define themselves by "class," prefering instead to judge themselves, and others, as individuals, as souls. Writers outside of the propagandistic mold, say. Artists.

Want to know one thing people like this have in common?: They lack your remarkable capacity for self-pity and the sense that the world owes them something. Want to know something else: those people don't start literary "movements" because someone hurt their wittle feewings a long time ago. If they are poltically organized they do things that help *other* people, not with the goal of fuilfilling some personal fantasy of the writer's life--and boy do you guys have some great fantasies about the literary world!--

"Jeeves! My sherry please!"

Excuse me. that was my butler Jeeves. He's stringing my squash racquet for the match tomorrow with Rick. Anyway . . .

Another reason I don't wallow in class hatred?: I guess it's because I'm clearly a lot smarter and more talented than you guys--you're all sad mediocrities with delusions of grandeur and that's probably the main reason you're whining about how unfair the world is and why I'm here, mocking you guys for being big babies, drinking this delicious sherry--"thanks Jeeves"--and planning my bridge game with jonathan Foer and Sven.

But I wouldn't pick on you guys if you were just pathetic losers. I'd feel sorry for you. It's because you're pathetic losers who take out your patheticness on earnest folks who are merely trying to get by--not on heartless bankers or corrupt politicians, or any of the numerous other REAL targets a true "revolutionary" political and artistic movement would be going after--that I keep coming back. Would a serious movement stage sophomoric protests at the readings of novelists, make false and evil accusations speculating about the most irrelevant and ignoble gossip of published writers' lives? Are you trying to change things or draw attention to yourself? It's worse than the shit I saw at college (yes, I went to college--on scholarship. don't hate me because I'm smart.)

I bet if you guys had developed some adolescent romanticization of surfing, instead of writing, only to discover you sucked at it, you'd probably be picketing the ocean. Instead you make asses of yourself and crow about it when the tiniest attention comes your way. Wooooh. Here's a petition. Watch out world! It's Lenin at the Finland Station!!! We got our name on page six!!!

I'm shaking in my boots.

Oh. And James. I've never actually seen "Shoot the Freak." I just read about it in the paper. But it occurs to me that the freak at least gets paid for being the object of scorn and amusement--what do you guys get out of it? Noah? James? King?

Don't bother replying. I've wasted enough time with you guys. Good luck with the revolution!!!! It's been a blast!



Tim Hall said...


Sorry you've decided to plug your ears and declare yourself "winner," because I think you make some good points, and I for one enjoy the argument.

I was reading somewhere about the idea of "protest" -- I forget where, sorry -- and the writer said that people forget that protest is not merely a negative emotion (ie, protesting "against" something) but also a positive drive (ie, "for" something). I've always felt that Karl has protested both for and against - but that his critics only focus on the "against," which I agree can seem pretty tiresome if it's without balance (which Karl, I feel, provides).

>I feel pretty confident that my "class" credentials >are as blue-collar as any of yours, though I'll >refrain from bragging about them, since I don't >believe there's an innate dignity in poverty.

Well said. I also grew up in poverty with a mother who insisted that we all still had "class", and that dichotomy has always informed my writing, and I address it directly in my novel.

>Suffice to say that there are--believe it or not--a >lot of people who prefer not to define themselves >by "class," prefering instead to judge themselves, >and others, as individuals, as souls. Writers >outside of the propagandistic mold, say. Artists.

Yes. And I believe in the "aristocracy of the spirit" as much as anybody. But if you follow your somewhat Objectivist philosophy to its conclusion, what Karl is arguing against is "the politics of pull" - which elevates writers solely because of their class, and access to leisure time and influential people, while the avenues of discovery for new artists becomes increasingly closed and available only to those with credentials, pull, and/or money.

Right or wrong, that to me is the heart of the argument. And argument is the key here - open, honest, non-anonymous debate, about where things stand and where they're going. That's why I (and I'm sure Karl and the rest of the ULA) actually welcome your arguments and comments - but our attackers increasingly rely on the "crazy" card (ie, we're irrational, bitter beings, which we're not - at least I'm not).

>They lack your remarkable capacity for self-pity >and the sense that the world owes them >something.

I've never felt Karl believes the world "owes" him something. Maybe I'm wrong, but after 4 years of watching, debating, and arguing with him, I think Karl is a great independent voice that's sorely needed. And I have a publishing C.V. that most writers would kill for, and I'm not particularly hungry for fame or into axe-grinding. Fire at will.

>Want to know something else: those people don't >start literary "movements" because someone hurt >their wittle feewings a long time ago. If they are >poltically organized they do things that help >*other* people, not with the goal of fuilfilling some >personal fantasy of the writer's life--and boy do >you guys have some great fantasies about the >literary world!--

Well, this is kind of messy. I think a lot of the backlash against Karl and ULA has to do with the fact that writers are, almost genetically, addicted to "naming" - and by extension, control. For somebody (or bodies) to come along and name THEMSELVES, without the imprimatur and approval of other Namers, becomes a threat to certain people.

If you publish in the New Yorker or the Believer or Pindeldyboz (sp?) or Zoetrope, there's really no difference from saying you're "in the ULA." They're all organizations that espouse certain philosophies, ground rules, and criteria. To be rejected from one is literally not to be "in" that organization.

The ULA is unique in that it's a virtual marketing umbrella trying to bring attention and market viability to certain writers - exactly the same as any literary mag. You can disagree with the ULA's criteria, as you and many others to - but it's a brilliant and original approach that has really never been done before.

>Another reason I don't wallow in class hatred?: I >guess it's because I'm clearly a lot smarter and >more talented than you guys

Can you prove this, please, anonymous?

>you're all sad mediocrities with delusions of >grandeur and that's probably the main reason >you're whining about how unfair the world is and >why I'm here,

"...why I'm here": delusions of grandeur - check.

>you're pathetic losers who take out your >patheticness on earnest folks who are merely >trying to get by--not on heartless bankers or >corrupt politicians, or any of the numerous other >REAL targets a true "revolutionary" political and >artistic movement would be going after--

Mangled metaphor alert: millionaire writers giving taxpayer-funded, need-based grants to fellow millionaire writers is identical to a "heartless banker" or "corrupt politician"--how are they not "real" targets?

>(yes, I went to college--on scholarship. don't hate >me because I'm smart.)

Me too. U of Chicago. Loved it. Loved college. Most ULAers are college grads.

Okay, long enough. Sorry to see you go, Zeke, have a great life!


Patrick @ LitVision said...

Current Incarnation of Ezekiel Brutus::

Your extreme bile and petty nature are coming through loud and clear in the way your lamb's brain interprets the ULA. Self-pity, jealousy, and bitterness have nothing to do with us. We're angry, and parlaying that anger into healthy ACTION that has and will continue to shake some LIFE into the lit-world.

Those who dismiss us as delusional mediocrities might have trouble processing the stimuli they encounter in the world. Pick up a copy of the New Yorker lit mag and your local newspaper, then read a few ULA Monday Reports and our current Slush Pile zine. Does anything come together for you? Any clues about the world we live in and the state of literature today?

Enjoy foaming at the mouth over Karl's posts and Noah's comments. Any active ULA member expends more literary dynamism in a day than you'll ever smell in your lifetime. What are you doing then, once you click off the computer? What are you working toward, besides your next bitchy, anonymous, off-base blog post?

Orlando Hotpockets said...

Oooh, you are one tough hombre, Noah Cicero! We are all very scared of your manly manliness!

I bet the children at the playground are very impressed by you. At least until their parents say, "Stay away from that strange man."

King said...

It's kind of funny that those "calling me out" don't even exist! The word demi-puppets, as used in the Shakespeare play, applied to illusions-- ghosts-- which vanished with the light of day. The "sour green ringlets of night." It applies very well to the anony-mice.
Apparently, no writer is allowed to take a stand against misdeeds and corruption. The things we've pointed out are hardly slander, but in each case have been itemized and documented. Adam Hardin has given examples among these comments. Why do you not address them?
Tearing down? Tearing down what? Fakirs and posers who scam the system for all it's worth? No, in fact, along with other ULAers, I'm helping to build an alternative-- which is what the ULA is really about, and which really bothers people.
The ULA empowers those who belong to it. We're not begging supplicants fighting for establishment crumbs. Ours is a very positive message-- one which should attract all writers who comprehend it.
Much is made about the press coverage we've received. This seems to bother people. For us-- writers with no standing, connections, or resources-- it was merely a necessity. The coverage gave us a name and a foundation, upon which we are now building.

MDG said...

Someone said they think that I am the Brutis guy. I am me and that's all I am. After reading Brutis's comments I can see why you would think that of me. It is someone that has gotten close enough to the king to see what a fraud he is. That does not mean that it was me. Better keep checking your list of formerly disgruntaled customers. I am sure it is long. I don't have time for this petty crap or to worry about the many philadelphians that worry about their own petty crap agendas instead of the whole. Believe me King is one of those. Peace-michael grover

King said...

Noah-- why I deleted your comments.
1.) I think you have the wrong ex-ULAer.
2.) It's not our policy to war with other undergrounders. The person in question, whatever his faults, is an authentic underground writer. We have enough other targets to go after.
To others who might be reading this:
There are only six ex-ULAers, four of whom, as far as I know, hold no grudge against me or the team, have simply moved on to other endeavors. (I saw fellow founder Doug Bassett a couple months ago. We had a friendly conversation.)
The fifth did post something on this blog. Since, we've come to a tentative agreement-- I hope-- that he would stay off as long as I didn't mention him in my posts. His request. As far as I know, this agreement holds.
Yes, it's true, a few former ULAers were praised to the hilt by me, ironically enough, including the two with mysterious grievances. To a couple applies the saying, "A gigantic ego wrapped around a core of insecurity"-- they rely on the tried and the safe, hate to be upstaged, trust no one, cling to old grudges like security blankets, and are incapable by nature of taking risks, and so have deprived themselves, by choice, of the ULA adventure that will expand over the next months in front of their eyes. Regretfully, they've chosen not to participate.
About the one who likely HAS been posting on this blog: If the person had spent one-tenth the energy on working for our Alliance, instead of continually attacking it (including sending me crank mail), our progress would've been swifter. We'll get to the destination regardless. What most worries this person is the possibility that the seemingly insane ULA plan will actually succeed.

King said...

To Orlando:
You're a good example of the contemporary System writer. You remind me of "Evil Journalista." Remember that poster?
Like you, E.J. was full of fake bravado. He was going to do this and do that; sent me e-mails, as you have; wanted to "interview" me in fact via e-mail. The noise, despite the apparent hostility, was all about impressing me and the ULA. Like the character who tags along in "The Magnificent Seven"; like YOU; E.J.'s secret goal was to be a member of our team.
Like you, "Orlando," E.J. lacked the first requirement to be a ULAer: Having a backbone! (No ghosts allowed or desired.) As such, he and you are less than the humblest of the writers who've gathered into the ULA.

King said...

Regarding our targets: Okay, Moody and Lewis Lapham are the sons of heartless bankers-- the beneficiaries of the inequities of this society. Is that good enough?
The fact is that we take things one step at a time. Our first step-- a huge one-- is to capture literature, to make it relevant to people. Then-- the culture. We'll worry about corrupt politicians and bankers when we've greatly improved our standing.
The stupidity of our opponents: I've said again and again we're playing this like a chess game. The first third of the game is creating an unassailable position on the game board. Doing this will give us endless possibilities.
Reagrding my own motivation: Believe all you wish that it's my own personal aggrandizement. Ignore the possibilities I've passed up in order to help create the ULA. You of course, have to believe that I'm just out for myself. This makes me more understandable. Someone who actually believes what he says is a far more threatening idea.
Over time, we'll see.

King said...

Well, I see "MDG" has chosen to drop on this blog anyway. Good to see he still keeps up with the ULA!
One additional remark: the only problems in Philadelphia are the Dividers who think all forms of lit-- poetry, prose, plays-- should be ruthlessly segregated. It's a defeatist policy.
The ULA's strength comes from UNITING good undergrounders, of all kinds.

MDG said...

Karl I have not been here in a bit. Why waste time? You guys are talking about nothing and trying to make it seem all important. My ROOMMATE just told me someone accused me of being this Brutis guy so I dropped by to check it out. Actually my roommate asked me if I was this brutis guy. Just for shits and giggles I would like to see that original post that was put up accusing me of being Brutis. I hear he had kind and unkind words for me. Too bad it was deleted when I got here. You should have let me read it. Can you put it back up? I urge you to do so. I see there were two posts deleted.

MDG said...

Oh yeah and one more thing. I don't hate. I just defend myself when people attack me.

Orlando Hotpockets said...

Nope, never heard of Evil Journalista. Sounds like he must have been bored. Maybe he was, like, waiting around for some really big news, and had absolutely nothing better to do than look at your site. Can you imagine that being the case? Because I sure can!

Emerson Dameron said...

I'll also be sorry to see you go. You're the only one here from the anti-ULA contingent that's flirted with logic or sincerity, beneath all the psychological projection. I agree with you completely on class-based hostility. I'm straight rural middle-class. I went to college, though I don't think it made me more or less "smart" than anyone else. I do have an aesthetic beef with the awards committees and the lit-blog co-op, which I see as akin to the late-'70s schism between punk and prog rock. Although I don't see eye-to-eye with Wenclas on everything, I've witnessed his commitment to Cullen Carter and other deserving writers, and I think he's a passionate, stand-up guy who shares a lot of my ideas.
There's a screaming lack of respect on both sides of this debate. You speak of Karl's swipes against "real people," but most of his targets have refused to engage him directly. (Dave Eggers, for inst, seems fearful of Karl's germs.) If you think dealing with KW is a waste of your time, it's a waste of your time - your protracted jeremiad indicates otherwise. Almost everyone who does argue with him (the smart and the stupid alike) unwisely opts for anonymity. If you argue clearly and sincerely, I don't see what you have to fear from a Google search. And I think a little respectful self-revelation would shift everyone's tenor. If ten years online has taught me anything, it's that it's all too easy to spit on someone wearing a sheet (particularly when, as in Orlando's case, they seem desperate for it).

Orlando Hotpockets said...

I'll never "wear a sheet." I will, however, "eat a sheep." Perhaps that is what you meant.

MDG said...

Karl does not have the balls to tell me what was said about me. Unfortunately I was told about it and got here after the statement was deleted. Can anyone tell me what Noah said about me thinking I was the evil Brutis? Peace-Michael

King said...

Mike, why don't you try being an adult for once in your life. Allow for mistakes and human error. Noah apologized like a man on his own initiative. Accept it like a man and move on.
You've been insulting me on this blog and trashing me behind my back around town. I've ignored it, because I know you're not our real opponent. With the demi-puppets put back in their puppet box, I may actually have some spare time on my hands. Do we go to war? Is that what you want? As you can see, I thrive on confrontation, while your delicate ego can't handle any criticism at all.
I suggest we save things instead for the next time we read on the same card together (if you don't threaten to beg off). Otherwise, let's drop it. We both have better things to do.

MDG said...

Why would I back off? Why would be reading on the same card unless that was "arranged" by one of your puppets? Bring your best. You know I'll bring mine. He never appologized to me.

King said...

You'd better check the comments on the other threads.
The posts have now been permanently removed.
The matter is closed.
Best wishes to all concerned.

frantic said...

what a wussy thing to do, "king"