Saturday, May 28, 2005

A ULA Problem

And it's been one for a long time-- the eagerness for opponents and even some members to identify the Underground Literary Alliance with one person-- myself-- which is an inaccurate way of looking at things. (They're obviously stuck in McSweeney's-type thinking.)

The last two or three years, Steve Kostecke and Jeff Potter have been every bit as important in developing the ULA. They've had as much say as myself in decisions that have been made. Yet, because I'm more public, because I'm noisier, people still want to think I call the shots for the thing-- to the extent that some think all they have to do is get me on their side-- by catering to my supposed ego-- and they'll be able to derail the ULA! I have to tell them that I can't do anything without the consent of the team.

That I've somehow "conned" people into joining the ULA for my own benefit is the most ridiculous idea. In truth, over the last five years the ULA has often felt like a weight around my neck preventing me from getting on with my life and doing other things. I've stayed interested in it because I KNOW its potential-- have known it from the very beginning before we'd done anything. The huge void in the literary scene waiting to be filled seemed obvious to me. Now that we've begun filling that void; now that we've established a strong team and are on our way to greater things, I'm able to maintain my enthusiasm.

Believe me, I've tried to develop other personalities, to push others out front, beginning with our first "Zeen Elvis" candidate. At one point Michael Jackman was as out front as myself, as much a spokesman (he's more personable and at least as articulate about ULA ideas), but at the moment he prefers to take a back seat and allow others to do the pulling.

My hope is that by the end of the year we'll have developed an array of noteworthy ULA leaders, so that I can step back and vanish amid the team, to busy myself with behind-the-scenes membership recruiting-- and maybe even do some serious writing for a change, instead of just making blog noise!


Patrick @ LitVision said...

ULA leadership is very fluid.

One of our quiet leaders gets my vote for president...of Mars!

Beau Blue said...

As someone who stops by every now and then to see if you're as interested in promoting ULA writers as loudly and as often as you shout your 'anti-everybody else' message, I remain disappointed. I realize the name of the blog is ' AttackingtheDemi-Puppets' but to what end? I'm still looking for more positive messages about YOUR ranks and less crying about the 'injustices' we all suffer from the ranks of the untalented 'chosen'.

I imagine you probably think this makes me an opponent to your cause. It really doesn't. But I tell you truthfully I think this approach, this column and its monotonous tone, needs a few more positive examples of the strength of the ULA's talent. More of that and less 'King tirades' and I would be more inclined to embrace the ULA as a viable alternative to the people you rail against constantly.

Maybe if there were more presentations of different ULA artists there'd be less people thinking you alone were the ULA. Just a thought.

-Beau Blue

- Leopold said...

If I can speak for the rest of the ULA, I don't think anybody who comes here and takes the time to post constructive criticism about what we're doing, and is generally sympathetic to our cause would be considered and enemy of the ULA. A lot of our opponents like to paint us as crazy zealot radicals. I assure you that I would not have joined such a group. I find the ULA full of intelligent REAL Believers in literature who are sickened by what the industry has done to it not only from a writer standpoint, but also from reader standpoint.

This blog seems to have become the nexus of 'everything ULA' in people's minds for some reason - perhaps its because it's frequently updated or in-your-face. I think there are an incredible number of excellent, positive things going on in the ULA and I agree we could be doing more to promote that side of it. I am currently working on some promotional projects for the ULA and I think they will be very fresh, exciting and positive. There is going to be a LOT of new ULA work in the coming months and we're gearing up now to get that info out there. If you want to see positive examples of what the ULA is about, check out the Underground Literary Adventures blog, which highlights great writing (particularly this week!) from the underground. ULAers, together, have blogs, publications, books...a lot of great stuff coming out that promotes our vision - try a Slushpile, which is more the face of the ULA than this blog is. Besides making clear arguments about the corruption of the current system, Slushpile & the ULadventures blog offers up excellent, ignored underground writing from the ULA.

We, as a group, put out a lot of stuff that is an alternative to what we rally against. We're working on a publication tracker that will hopefully amend this situation of ULA work coming out and nobody (including other ULAers) knowing about it. I'm not sure if King is ammenable to doing posts in this blog about new work being published - it could be a good idea - but it is his blog and he will talk about what he wants to talk about. And, to be frank, there's more than enough corruption, falsehood, sycophantia and demi-puppetry out there to fill it. The ULA is also about making noise, trying to wake up a somnambulic audience that has been put to sleep by the grey pastiche of literature out there. Complacency has dominated the lit world for a long time and looks what it's done. We're the only group out there shouting and making noise and having fun. We can be a bit crazy, but the world is crazy. We've all got short lives and we're eagre to see excitement return to the literary world. We're not going to make it easy on the established and accepted, either through our critical arguments or our fictional writing. We're throwing a crazy party and the neighbours want to shut us up before 8pm. Well, you gotta fight for your right to party.

If you want to see what the ULA alternative has to offer, pick up a Slushpile, one of the books from the ULA website zine store, read the Underground Adventures blog, come to one of our readings, follow one of our member's blogs or publications (,, are good starts, publihshing great underground fiction.) A lot of ULA members are actively promoting oppositional work, bouying up the underground: Undie Press,

The ULA is doing an amazing amount of stuff when you compile it. Perhaps we could be better at getting it out there. However, this blog is just one part. A look through the will show an incredible amount of positive alternatives. King is a great literary activist and what he discusses here is needed. But if people think this is all the ULA is, they are sorely mistaken.

beau blue, I wish more of the non-ULA posters on this site would follow your lead in having a real dialogue with us. Thanks for stopping by our party.

Tim Hall said...

beau blue:

Since this is Karl's blog and he's entitled to post whatever he feels is worthy, let me tell you about two ULA-member books that I feel are worthy of promotion that you might find interesting:

First, my own: HALF EMPTY:

(this review is from and is from someone who is not involved in the ULA in any way; she is someone who I only met briefly at a book fair when my book was released--I was blown away by the accuracy and passion of her review):

"The hardships of sobriety...and true transformation. Reviewer: Karen Moulding (New York, NY)

"Half Empty is not only an engrossing read --compelling plot, witty voice, believable characters, in a vivid urban setting-- but it's an important novel. So much literature has either romanticized drunks and addicts as "hip" heroes, or demonized them as evil villains. At last, with Half Empty we get a novel that portrays the nitty gritty and hardships of maintaining early sobriety in a world that clings stubbornly to its myths and ignorance about addiction. More than that, this is a novel about resistance to change, about a struggle for human transformation just when it's needed most."

[end review]

And this is what I wrote about Noah Cicero's THE HUMAN WAR: (Please note that at the time I read Noah's book and formed these opinions I had no connection with him, he was not part of the ULA, and I had never communicated with him--but since then I am now proud to call him a friend):

"White Trash Existentialism -- BRILLIANT

"Reviewer: Undie Press (Jersey City, NJ)

"Imagine if Sartre and de Beauvoir battled it out on The Jerry Springer Show, and you get an idea what reading this book is like. Noah Cicero is one of the most amazing voices in fiction I've ever discovered. Remember the first time you read Bukowski, Miller, or Ginsberg's HOWL? Reading this book was like that for me: it just riveted me to the back of my seat and made me shake my head in wonder.

"Noah's great innovation is the "sentegraph": prose so clipped that each line becomes poetry; the perfect obverse of "vers libre" poets who simply write prose with irregular line breaks. Noah comes screaming from the rust belt hell of Youngstown, Ohio, but don't expect just another sad-sack, Harvey Pekar type of artist: Cicero is young, brilliant, fearless, and completely original. He hangs out in Denny's and goes to strip bars and, in this book--written on the eve of the Gulf War II--rages against war and politics and the horror and emptiness the eve of war has caused him.

"I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I hope this has helped."

Okay, beau blue, there are some positive recommendations for you. Hope that helps.


Patrick @ LitVision said...


I think you're mistaken. Karl lives and breathes promotion, and the ULA in general is a publicity campaign! If you're talking about this blog in particular, regular readers may have noticed he trumpets ULAers and other underground writers quite often. In fact sometimes i think he goes overboard, but that's his genuine opinion being shared w/ readers here.

Noah Cicero said...

This concerns the Monday Report:

is that Cummings guy saying that the Paris Review is a propaganda machine for the American Government to keep down the lower classes and for america to peacefully fuck with third nations.

That Plimpton and the american government created academic literature so future writers wouldn't be communist.

That the writers who have been published in the Paris Review are participating in a propaganda machine that is only an extension of the absurd mass bureaucracy
that is the American government that's only purpose is to serve 1% of the population by any means necessary.

That The Paris Review is Fox News and religion. Just propaganda to keep the people down.

"The Paris Review is the opiate of the academia."

Some demi-puppets have accused the ULA of saying there is a conspiracy, well there it is. It wasn't against the ULA, it was against YOU demi-puppet.

Here are two quotes I felt inspired to write.

"History has developed, through the differentiation of functions and sub-groups, within a humanity in which even today millions of men literally die of hnger. So it is immediately obvious that administrative , managing and ruling groups are both the same as those they administer(in so far as the latter accept them) and other than them. For not only are they responsible for determining the others in the group, that is, for choosing the new victims of the new system of distribution. but also, they are themselves the Others in the sense that they are completely dispensable, consuming without producing and constituting a pure threat for everybody. In the context of scarcity , the differentation of function, necessarily implies the constitution of a dispensable(but accepted) group and the formation, by this group, with the complicity of many others, of a group of undernourished producers. Conversely, the unproductive groups, which are perpetually in danger of liquidation because they are the absolute Other(living off the labor of Others)interiorise this abivalent alterity and behave towards individuals either as if they were Other than men (positively, as gods) or as if they alone were men in the midst of a different, sub-human species. As for the sacraficial group, its relation with Others can truly be described as struggle. For even if violence is not used, such a group will be negated by everyone, that is, by scarcity in everyone and it will reply by negating this negation - not, however, at the level of praxis, but simply through that negation of negation which is need." Sartre, CDR.

"I tell thee, that although it is a long time on the road, it is on the road and coming. I tell thee it never retreats, and never stops. I tell thee it is always advancing. Lok around and consider the lives of all the world that we know, consider the faces of all the world we know, consider the rage and discontent to which the Jacuerie addresses itself with more and more of certainity every hour. Can such things last? Bah, I mock you." Dickens, TOTC.

King said...

The simple fact is that the ULA has not been attacking ENOUGH.
Are we to be like all other writers and lit groups?
The ULA was designed to be in-your-face-- to add truth and controversy to an arena where it was VERY BADLY needed.
I'm not interested in watering down this movement-- our first requirement is to stand out. There are enough other mild moderate wimpy useless irrelevant properly polite and quiet lit-blogs can go to.
(Re the positive: Has been said, check out the ULA site! This is merely a supplement to it. And regarding our works and writers, one can start on my two-part "History of Roots Writing" right on this blog.
The fact is, I think my positive comments about what the ULA is accomplishing sometimes bothers folks more than the evidences of lit-world corruption I've given and will continue to give, though some prefer shoving their heads in the sand and not knowing about it.)

frantic said...

nobody "attacks" you.

everybody laughs at you.

big difference.

chilly charlie said...

Dean Haspiel is Tim Hall's best friend. Tim Hall is stalking you.

You do the math.