Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fashion

First, I'll concede that we're the most unhip, out-of-fashion writers who've ever been-- especially myself, Crazy Carl, and Wred Fright!

I'm struck by the way our critics get their cues from big media trendoids and fashionistas. This causes them to misread my arguments and my motivations. For instance, when I've mentioned garage band rock, it's not to jump on any bandwagon. The ULA is about jumping on no one's bandwagon-- instead creating our own. I've discussed garage band rock because it's an apt historical analogy for what we're doing, in that the participants had few resources, were mainly low-tech, DIY, used independent labels, and so on. Their music was crude but had energy.

I look for analogies to our DIY lit movement wherever I can find them; from the movie "Jailhouse Rock" to "Twenty-Four Hour Party People." At some point, we have to be our own analogy. We have to realize we're living in history. By our difference, by our agitation, we're creating literary history. The most exciting period of any movement is at the beginning. That's why I don't worry if we don't have instant overflow crowds at our readings. William Blake gave an art exhibition once, put out flyers, and nobody came. Those who are at our events are the hard-core, the pioneers, and the curious-- who'll be able to say, "I was there, at the beginning, when they were putting on amazing shows for 40 or 50 people."

When the trendoids and fashionistas jump on board will mean it's time to move on to other things.

46 comments:

Bryan Guski said...

You really are completely out of touch with reality. If you can look at the raised eyebrows to your wrestling mask "bit" and see it as inspired by some fashionista superiority, you really are nuts, Wenclas.

Wrestling mask humor is petty, stupid pop-culture referencing that is about 3 DECADES too late. It's Andy Kaufman territory, and he wasn't funny when he did it either, in 1978! You're clinging to a cultural moment that elapsed when Karl was still in his, I dunno, mid-50s. It's no different than those VH1 uber-irony TV shows, other than the fact it's trapped in a time warp. It's cheap and it's not funny. "Revolution" and a breath of literary fresh air aren't trapped referencing shlocky wrestling, pet rocks and 8 tracks: morons without ideas do that.

And Wenclas, anyone who in 2005 dresses like an alcoholic 1930s boxing promoter cares about fashion a hell of a lot more than most of your critics. You don't fall into that look, you put it together.

By the way, speaking of "24 Hour Party People", Ian Curtis made an impact because he was a brilliant, fresh, and new songwriter. A great number of people looking for something new heard that music and were drawn to it.

Contrast that to people who hear, oh, I dunno, this brilliant moment in "Spring in America": "Suddenly no one cared about information./They all just wanted to be entertained./Should have mixed a song with it./Then you might have scored a ten./You could have been the next american spoken word idol!" People treated to that look around and wonder aloud "what high school freshman English project is this? I'd give it C+, for EFFORT!!!!!"

The ULA doesn't provide great writing. People who are looking for it, when they find a Grover or a Wenclas or a Robinson or Jeff Potter's brilliant treatise on the essence of loser-y, they keep on looking. The writing isn't good.

Spend your time attacking Moody, Franken, Eggers, The New Yorker, McSweeney's, etc. And undoubtedly, some will agree with you, and some won't. But once that battle is put aside for a moment, and it's time to examine your own writing, there's really nothing to get excited about. Sorry.

Trust me, Wenclas, you're going to have to get your kicks rallying around the flag on a Blogspot account, when people accidently arrive here and, despite their different backgrounds, views, and tastes, can all at least agree they don't like you. Sure, you can dislike a good writer, but always remember, Karl, you can dislike an awful one too. So don't tape the Bukowski cut-out mask over your boxing promoter hat, look in the mirror and masturbate too much, because that's not the kind of dislike I'm talking about. I'm talking about someone who so delicately balances a repugnant personality with absolutely nothing to offer. You've got that racket pegged.

As far as worrying about what the "revolution" will be like once you're playing in front of packed houses instead of a handful of friends, I don't think it's gonna come up. So please, put on your wrestling masks, make some "Cowboy" Bob Orton jokes, throw a chair, enjoy your audience of 25 at the "biggest event in literary history", and relax. It'll all be alright.

PS: I forgot that bartender. Make it 26.

The Failed And Tired Past said...

So when someone points out that ULA "theater" is really just warmed-over kitsch, that's simply following fashion. But when Wenclas declares the Believer forty years out of date, that's what, insight?

(See The Believer: Forty Years Out Of Date, in which Jeff Potter begins his comment with, "Ha. That's rich. Sure, the 60's were cool. They did their thing, brought us as far as they could. But the game has kept playing!" More insight follows, presumably. And games don't play, they are played.)

Today's post is just more intellectual dishonesty from a proven liar, but worth pointing out because it demonstrates that there is no substance to the ULA's growling howling. No positions, no values, obviously no love of literature, just empty rhetoric. If one day you think you can score points by suggesting those you obsess over haven't kept up with the latest styles, go for it. If the next day you think you can get a leg up by criticizing those you hate for being slaves to the latest styles, hey, who cares about coherence or clarity anyway? Who's even paying attention?

Never mind the fact that Wenclas here sinks to new lows in not only confessing to the lesser crime, but to one he's not really been accused of. Un-hipness wouldn't even scratch the top-100 problems of this idiot's revolution. If anything, Wenclas isn't out of date enough: his ignorance of the history of literature, writing it off as all failure with the possible exception of Frank Norris (?) and Charles Lindberg (!), the presumption that Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and Blake were resentful, opportunistic, universally despised bottomfeeders like himself is just laughable.

The points are related. Without a sense of what literature has done and can do, Wenclas is left adrift with nothing to do but make noise whatever way he can. The fact that these noises are contradictory and incoherent might not bother him, but it should bother the people whose publicity he claims to be directing.

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Jeff Potter's bruised prostate said...

Bryan Guski, failed and tired past-

I really appreciate you guys coming in here and trying to talk some sense to these guys, but I'm afraid it's all for naught. They won't listen to you. And tomorrow they'll put up a super-long post ignoring everything you've said and repeating everything they've already said, which is already an imitation of bad, jargon-heavy BS revolutionary speech. Believe me, I've heard it all. So you should just go. For your sake. Think not of me and the pounding I receive daily from the likes of Wenclas and Cicero--there's nothing I can do about it. I'm a prisoner. Trapped. Marooned. Unless I can be separated from Jeff Potter's rectum (and that dear boy is in as sad shape as I am, and needs me) I'm afraid I'm stuck here. Now go. No tears. Go.

Tell the world my story.

Noah Cicero said...

I left the ULA a month ago. Leave me out of this.

I just wanna eat twizzlers and live my life. All right.

The Failed And Tired Past said...

Dear Jeff Potter's bruised prostate,

You are a kind and wise prostate, generous and true, and I shall not forget you. I'm sure you're right, that there will be some nonsense on here soon about why it's okay for the ULA to follow the dictates of fashion but not okay for them to be held to the same standards.

If only Jeff Potter and his masters could think and write as well as his poor, abused prostate.

Farewell, bruised prostate. May your growling howling cease; may you someday be at peace.

Bam-Bam said...

I'm sorry to hear that, Noah. Glad for your sake that you've left these posers, but sad you won't be around anymore. You were a worthy adversary and the only true revolutionary among a bunch of greedy fakers.

I'd be curious to know what happened, why you left, but if you just want to be out of this swamp of nihilism, I'll respect that.

Enjoy the twizzlers, and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Failed and Tired Ezekiel,

Always a pleasure. Please keep in mind that Wred Fright (and, by extension, wrestling masks) only got dragged into this because Bryan "I'm Not a Writer" Guski (who obviously knows *a lot* about the ULA) was dense enough to get WF mixed up with Frank Walsh.

And now, back to the companions-in-guilt flamewar, already in progress...

Bryan Guski said...

I know that incorrectly identifying a Blogspot posting alias is a crime without parallel, but try to get over it. So FDW is NOT Wred Fright, but is Frank Walsh. And although the world is now on its head, 70's wrestling mask references are STILL complete shit. Go figure.

I know *a lot* about the ULA because after reading this sad spectacle that Wenclas believes to be some kind of rational argument, I decided to find out how good this writing that was going to change my fucking life really was. I've used enough New Yorker magazines for wall insulation to be up for something new and exciting. Besides, I thought it was only fair if I was going to form an opinion on the quality of ULA-member writing, and not base everything on what sort of petty, deluded dictator Karl is, I might as well read some of it. Hell, a "petty, deluded dictator" could just as easily be speaking for genuine talent as some cuddly teddy bear. So I read a little Grover, Wenclas, Fright, Saunders, Potter, Robinson, d'Andrea, and more than likely one or two others, and after that, I give up already.

It's often awful, or, in the cases when not truthfully "awful", mediocre, unexceptional, and entirely forgettable. You don't have to be a writer to figure that out, Frank "Writer" Walsh (snappy insult, by the way, it took me a long time to think of a proper counter jab).

Unless, of course, you're nothing more than essentially (failed) mirrors of the establishment hacks you hate so much. Is valid opinion of fiction only the dominion of fiction writers, or does the reading public get a vote? Perhaps we should just mind our P's & Q's.

Looks like you might be a junkyard elitist, but an elitist all the same. Perhaps, in your bizarro world, you can found a bizarro New Criterion...who knows, "The Timeless Wrestling Masks Criterion"? How how about, and use your imagination for a moment, "McZeenElvisy's"? May I suggest for your first cover, a photograph of Wenclas lying in bed, looking at his Eggers poster on his ceiling and gently weeping.

By the way, after crafting the Bryan "Not A Writer" Guski retort with your magnificent prose gifts, I nominate you for Zeen Elvis. Get crackin', Wenclas!

Bryan Guski said...

And, of course, I know I brought up the "issue" of one particular bit employed by the more hilarious wing of the ULA, those peices of apparel that dare not be named: W.M.'s.

Even so, after the broader nature of my comments, or forgetting about me specifically, the broader nature of the complaints about the ULA in general, you always either address the minor points, or nothing at all.

An examination of the quality of ULA writing and the bonehead, bullying tactics used to publicize it are greeted the same way, every time: (a.) angry rants about Rick Moody, Dave Eggers, or Jon Franken, which has NOTHING TO DO with the quality of your alternative, (b.) demands for laundry lists of which authors the critics prefer, followed by self-pitying whimpering about how "you're...sniffle....TRYING!", or (c.) an unending and ceaseless discussion of one small portion of a critic's posts that has nothing at all to do with the fundamental point. Here's a short play. Maybe I AM a writer!

CRITIC: Wenclas is a bitter, obsessed bully who spends more time focused on Rick Moody than improving his own forgettable writing, will sing the praises of the timeless talent of anyone who goes along with him, ceaselessly namedrops and references debates with Plimpton, passing mentions in the NYT or Gawker, Saunders's Bukowski connection and his brief stint as a fiction-writing-bottomfeeder in "real" lit journals in the 90s. He has no ideas, no vision, and nothing to offer but bile, anger, and stupidity. And he wears brown shoes.

WENCLAS: Brown shoes, he says! You poor fool, the shoes are BLACK!

CRITIC: OK. Anything to say about the rest of it?

WENCLAS POSTS FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS: "Notes from the Brown Shoed One"; "The ULA & Shoe Color"; "Rick Moody Wears Brown Shoes"; "The Critics & Their Shoe Fetishes"; "We Are The Future, They Are Shoe Salesmen: A Brief Manifesto".

FDW: WRED FRIGHT?!?!?!? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

MDG said...

Dear Mr Guski, you are an idiot sir. If you focused as much attention on writing as you did insulting others writing you would have something sir. (Notice the "sirs" I mean no disrespect.)And what do you mean you don't get the wrestling masks? Didn't your dad take to to see Mil Masceres when you were a kid? Mine did. I guess you just feel left out.

Bryan Guski said...

Sort of a funny complaint, from an organization built on insulting other writers. That's the whole point of this, sweetheart.

I understand you don't appreciate the same treatment and the same manner of criticism that you dish out, which is exactly why I'm doing it. Sort of like an Aesop Fable, except replace the animals with Philadelphian cult members.

Otherwise, as I've said in the past, I'd politely withold my opinion on what you produce, and let you dream-a-lil'-dream, unperturbed. It's not the attempt to express yourself that bothers me, that's the right and gift of all people regardlesss of talent or lack thereof, but rather it's the behavior of your fearless dictator. If you don't like the fallout of what he brings on you, don't defend him all the time.

Maybe, with the time you'll save, you'd actually get some *quality* writing done.

MDG said...

Mr Gusky my friend you forget one thing. I am not a ULA member. I do not critisize other writers. I could care less what Rick Moody or anyone else is doing right now. Before I do any quality writing you have to just write Gusky.

Jeff Potter said...

Hey Beavis, he said "pull my finger," heh heh.

So what does your liking anything have to do with it? Why would we care? Talk about a fashion slave. You think we care about you? Ha! Some like it, some don't. There are a lot more important things to do between here and there.

One tiny thing would be to goad you into doing something once. As in stating something that could matter.

Like, not that it matters who you do like, but it would be SOMETHING to go on if ANY of you dingdongs would just say what writing does work for you and where you might see good work going. Otherwise you're zeroes on top of a ciphers. Finger-pulling aside.

And what does SAYING that King is a bully mean to anyone? Nothing. What's up with you anyway? Give a complaint if you like, the rest is bla-bla-bla. You and all your alter-egos. You know what a complaint is, don't you? JD the Ombudsman can help you there. You say what happened that you didn't like. You have to be specific. Get it? Are you sad about his heckling? About his persistent hammering away at the lame SPECIFIC ACTIONS of his enemies?

C'mon, if you think you can even BEGIN to throw fire back, ya gotta do something. Your nothing is tiresome. It's, well, nothing.

the MP said...

Hey Gunscab, you're one of the reasons Ian Curtis hung himself the day before coming to this country to tour with Joy Division-- some preppie wannabe who jumps on the bandwagon after the fact who wasn't down in the trenches pre -Reagan era with US having our alloys electroplated turning us into the future happy monsters that chew crank freaks like you up like we chew the fat. No has addressed, as you are complaining, you main points in the comments because evidently unbeknownst to you until now. You haven't made any points at and therefore haven't scored any. As you can see from the ULA homepage banners there's a plethora of new turf rolling off the presses and that beside your habitual glue huffing 'neath your mama's mumu must have really got your goat or chicken or whatever your parents let you play with in their basement.
As for Masks I've heard it through the grapevine that the Masked Perfesser still flying high from his infamous victory at the HISTORIC Medusa read- off event only a few short weeks ago has gotten wind of your disrespect(s) ( as oppossed to his usual letting wind) and he's not too happy. Surely you'll be hearing from that psychotic syncophant when you least expect it but then you shouldn't be expecting anything anyway being tat you're a bombast and a blackguard (Ambrose Bierce's parlance, not mine!)
Otherwise here's a little fourteener (a "double caudet" at that) dedicated to you at least until you crawl back under your rock:








I’ll tell you what’s nuts
that you can condemn the actors
call their deliveries muddled
in passages where you say they aren’t
meant to be, then you attribute
the director’s scruples
to an entropy of structure on the face

of the production, even the sets
illicit deconstruction from your mouth
or at least out of a side of it.
Did you ever for one second consider
in the cushy windowlessness of your opera box
that your play itself stinks
from beginning to end and what’s in the middle
is simply a bouquet of punch-lines thrown out
to the captive audience.


11.8.03

JDF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Potter's bruised prostate said...

That last suggestion, from the Ombudsman, is the first thing anyone from the ULA has said that makes any sense. This machine really does kill assholes. I could tell you some stories.

Bryan Guski said...

JD:

After having waited a long time to post anything here at all, first gathering in both on this blog and in other forums and sources the way Wenclas behaves towards those he disagrees with and dislikes, I think it's YOU who act heinously in now painting him as a poor victim of monstrous insensitivity. All this from a group, so tactless and feelingness, that on the front page of its banner website equates itself with a poor Chinese student in Tianamen Square blocking a tank with nothing but his body, most likely executed in the aftermath of a stunningly brave act, with your "struggle" against mainstream publishing. And you want others to feel ashamed? You want to talk about having no feeling, no sense of perpsective, and no right to come after someone else's insensitivity, you can start a lot closer to home. If you had any human feeling you wouldn't equate your inability to be published in the New Yorker with something that actually DID take courage, and almost certainly led to the most permanent of consequences. It's a disgrace. True, not as disgraceful as saying Wenclas's hat is another piece of his posturing self, but still pretty bad.

But none of this means anything to you, JD, because you're the same as the other ULA "big wigs" (whatever that means, at least that's one term we can mutually laugh at, though maybe for different reasons). You're classic faux-underdogs. You switch masks between mean-spirited, nasty attackers and bullied, whimpering, victims at your whim. You'll never understand that if you did less of the former, you wouldn't have to paly the latter very often, because no one would bother you. I wouldn't.

And not that you care, but I never mentioned anything about how rich or poor you were. I'm not rich, believe it or not. I responded to Wenclas's accusations of being attacked by a fashionista with the fact that he has a cultivated oh-so-Bukowski-esque-writerly look and is therefore far more concerned with fashion than I.

But go on, JD. On one hand insult, embarrass, attempt to humiliate, pester, and cajole those whom you have a friggin' LITERARY difference of opinion with, and then say, in your most practiced whimper, that we're all "so much poorer" for the fact you received the exact same.

By the way, I am not anonymous. I don't have a Blogger account. There's a difference. My name is my name. I speak for myself alone, and do not and have not posed as anyone else.

Frank "Writer" Walsh:

Personally, I had always believed Ian Curtis killed himself because of the epilepsy, impending divorce & crippling depression. But I'm sorry to hear that I, as an infant, contributed to his demise by not being in the trenches fighting Reagan. Carter was still president in May of 1980, but, y'know, I sure woulda liked to have helped out.

If only I'd known it was my "preppieness" that did in Curtis and all artists of his generation and mine, I never would have added so much starch to the collar of my J. Crew dress shirt. That might have saved them.

Or perhaps, if only Curtis had known of Frank "The Writer" Walsh, he would have put down that noose, ordered one of your works (...put it on the fire, and make smores). I'm sure he'd have been happy to hear you were down there in the trenches, fighting the eloctropation of alloys and composing fourteeners.

But, all of this is irrelevant, as, being the preppie that I am--were you able to smell my Tanqueray and Brut through the keyboard, Frankie ol' boy?--have an appointment with a major publishing cabal to keep you talented lot off our golf course. What would all of my establishment friends think, how ever would they keep their monocles in place, if they had to set eyes on the "Bloggin' Revolutionareez!"(tm)

By the way Frank, I'll have you know you were correct the first time. It's a GOAT I play with in my parents' basement, although I huff my gas under my mother's hoop dress, not her mumu. Man, you've got me pegged.

Thanks for the poem, though. Read, processed, and forgotten. Another happy customer.

Jeff:

I have to say, I can't help but find it a little amusing how quickly you guys oscillate on these things.

ULA: The vast masses who are not engaged with the product of mainstream publishing houses will embrace our swagger and our nasty tactics, and more importantly, embrace our product!

ONE MEMBER OF THE VAST MASSES WHO IS NOT ENGAGED WITH THE PRODUCT OF MAINSTREAM PUBLISHING HOUSES: Actually, I think your bullying tactics make you totally unlikeable, and your product is not worth remembering. The fact that your tactics have set so many people off on the wrong foot before reading you can't help anything either, by the way.

ULA: Who cares what YOU think?!?!? You're just one person!

OTHER CRITICS: Actually, we don't like you either.

ULA: But you're just a small group of jackasses commenting on a blog, like YOUR opinion matters! Believe me, none of the writers here care about your noisey distate!

CRITICS: Uh, isn't that also a pretty dead-on description of the ULA? And isn't that exactly what the people you don't like would say to you?

ULA: Uh...no! They're effected by us, they're scared, their "lit castle" is crumbling, even if they pretend that's not the case (or don't say anything at all, more often). But WE are not effected by YOU. See how it works?
Anyway, we have SPECIFIC complaints about the writers we don't like! The New Criterion is ELITIST! McSweeney's is PRECIOUS! The New Yorker is OUT OF TOUCH!

CRITICS: Saunders is DULL! Wenclas is DELUDED! Potter thinks the only reason he's not published is because LOSER WRITING SCARES WINNERS (or something)!

ULA: WHY are you doing this to the UNDERDOG?!?!? Aren't we SYMPATHETIC?!?!?

There's a reason I won't give you the laundry list of who I read. It's because that's a diversion from the issue. That has nothing to do with YOU.

The issue is, simply put, you bring attention to yourself through negative means, that your fearless leader tells you will pay off in the end. He tells you McSweeney's is "competition" that needs to be discredited and destroyed (perhaps not understanding that it isn't a zero sum game: If Suzy Q. Undergrad loves McS's little, pop-culture-referencing, ironic diddies, why the fuck would she want Wild Bill Blackolive in the parallel universe where you, uh, "destroy" McSweeney's? Readers aren't army pieces in the boardgame Risk, they won't come to you when you attack what they like. And other people, who DON'T like McS's or MFA writing, despite what you think with your tactics, as my grandfather used to say, "don't want nothin' from a motherfucker"). Wenclas tells you that showing up at some mousey author's reading and trying to humiliate him or her will awaken the sleeping world to your genius, instead of just embarrassing some guy who didn't do anything to you.

So, this is how you bring attention to yourselves. Through anger, bile, and the insane preposition that taste and reading has to be all of one or all of the other...it's US or THEM! The lit world can't exist with both Wenclas & Moody, with Dostoevsky and Franzen, with Eggers and Blake...the world has to choose!

Once you bring attention to yourself, you hold up your little photocopied or ULA Press pressed offerings and say: all you who have come forth due to our publicity campaign! All who have seen Wenclas vanquish his opponents (translation: show up, make people uncomfortable for 3 minutes, leave, get mentioned by Gawker, write a blog entry, get forgotten about)...I hold in these pages your SALVATION!

And then you open "your salvation." You hope to yourself, "these nasty bastards better be good, or else they're doubly cursed...mean AND untalented." So you open it up. And you hope. And you read: "Living in the Real America," by Karl "King" Wenclas, and think to yourself, "I wonder what's on TV?"

I don't have to post here again. Tell me that the ULA is a "writer's circle", a place for zinesters to share and support, to help each other distribute and share ideas, to get the word out and try to start a legit buzz, and I'll let you be. If that's what kind of group you are.

But if you're a group that attacks those who have different opinions on literature than you, if you're a group that harasses and cajoles other writers who are simply doing what they do much like you do, if you're a group that thinks only one kind of literature or one opinion about the role and usage of literature is acceptable, then I have very little guilt about giving you a hard time. You reap what you sew.

Tell me if the ULA does not like ULA-like tactics: they can be free of them. From me, at least. I know part of the reason you crash, disrupt, and try to ruin readings is to add "angry, passionate debate" to literature. But hey, I don't have to do it, if you tell me you're not REALLY the kind of place that wants such things on YOUR doorstep.

You tell me, if you prefer to exist in a literary world where people who act like the mean-spirited, sanctimonious ULA fuck around with you. But if you would prefer to write what you write, support what you support, believe what you believe, enjoy what you enjoy without being screeched at by some stranger, you can just let me know. Maybe, when you're putting in the request, you'll give a little thought to the mission statement of your organization as well.

Do you see what I mean?

If you tell me that, I'll just head on down the road. But, as usual with you guys, you'll be incapable of connecting what you do--what brought me here, what led me to comment in the first place--with what I did in response. You're just the...sniffle..."underdogs," right?

JDF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan Guski said...

I know, JD, and I'm sorry. I can get a little long-winded when replying to three totally different assholes saying different things. Let me boil it down for you, very briefly:

Petty Bullies + Bad Writing = Waste of time.

And by the way, I've seen your picture, JD. You don't really think you still have enough time to grow up into a "big fish", the kind that's :missed at the fish fry," do you?

By the way, I am indeed terrified of Wenclas's blogging prowess, you do have me there. I tried reinforcing the ramparts to my "lit castle" and everything to keep him out, but you telling me to unclog pipes and serve fries was the rhetorical deathblow. One minute I'm a heartless preppie, next an uneducated joe blow who doesn't "understand" what you're doing...hell, soon I'll start thinking I really am more than one person.

Jeff Potter said...

Guski, I didn't get thru your windy reply, but all along I've been telling you how you might make your views as "one person" relevant via the simple basics of social contribution.

You can't just SAY "petty bullying" or "nasty tactics," you need to give examples. Again, do you mean our barroom heckling? Our candid questions at readings? Our online persistence and civility? Or are you mixed up and referring to the anonymous obscene threats and slanders that WE get from the likes of Dave Eggers a la the Amazon/NYT triumph?

Also, it's meaningless to just say "bad writing." The "can't please everyone" clause is obviously going to pop up, as is "So what's good?" and "Where to instead?"

See?

Jeff Potter said...

PS: Hold on, I just googled "Bryan Guski" and came up empty. Whoa, speaking of contribution... I have homeless friends who've participated more online.

One of our last detractors here at least staked his views online. He wouldn't mention them to us, but they were easy to find and we could see where he was coming from and his insecurity about us made sense. It was just and meet that he not like us, so we were not sad.

See, there is an important "set and setting" to these things. It's not enough to just show up and say "See, here I am, another complainer, you shouldn't just dismiss me because, like, there've been other complainers, too!" It's socially helpful to know where you're coming from. Eh? And you, whew, it looks like a big nowhere. An usually big one. What gives? Nothing to offer? Is there another venue you contribute in? I mean, the Net isn't everything. C'mon, "Bryan"...

Jeff Potter's bruised prostate said...

See what I mean, Mr. Guski? It's completely pointless arguing with these guys. Best to let them live in their little La La Land and not dignify their delusions with actual sense. In fact, the only thing I can think of that is a bigger waste of time is being the "publicist" for the ULA. That and trying to convince Wenclas to use lube every once and a while.

Of course that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the spectacle of this gloriously insane site. And poke these jackasses with a stick every once and a while.

Viva la Revolucion!!!!!

OWWW!!!! King! Not again!!!

Jeff Potter said...

Dude, if you think the wrestling mask is lame, check out our "finger" photo! Whoa...outta touch bigtime! Passe', clueless---oh yeah! And Jack has a pic with a naked girl in his lap---ouch! What's next? A hat with a flapping eagle on it?

King said...

It's curious how upset "Bryan Guski" is over us, isn't it?
The thing to know about him is that HE'S a complete fraud; a total phony. (He assumes everyone else is also.)
Still railing about trends, Bryan? Can't find one out of 100 underground writers you can warm to?
You made a slip-up in one of your posts on the other thread you were on, but are too stupid to notice it.
Just a fraud filled with deflated self-loathing, self-pity and egomania, male narcissim and modern psychosis, that's all.
"Bryan Guski" indeed!

King said...

Re my "bullying":
The interesting thing about "Guski" is that for him, all writers exist without context. We're just all floating along in outerspace like the space shuttle, conducting our disputes and promoting our works on equal terms.
One would never know that the System we attack, and its writers, are part of a many-billion-dollar process whose purpose is to create literature. Think of the many sprawling universities, hundreds of them, each with their own writing program. Think of billion-dollar agencies like ICM. Billion-dollar book conglomerates. Billion dollar newspaper and magazine monopolies which exist to give writers like, yes, Rick Moody print. Huge resources. Yet the problem in the lit world is the lone voice of rebellion against this, the Underground Literary Alliance.
ONE company alone, Simon & Schuster, has about 10,000 times the resources of the entire ULA.
The lit world is a reflection of the society, where the top few percent own or control more than the bottom 50% of the population combined. The reality is similar in the lit-world. This is the reality we try to address. When I look at the gigantic but conformist and monolithic system which produces literature in this country, I look up at a giant several hundred times my size. I dare to raise my voice to this giant, and am branded a "bully" for the effort.
Context. Context!
Rick Moody is a scion of extreme wealth, son of one of the most powerful bankers on the planet. His every utterance is covered in places like the New York Times and the New Yorker. When he reads publicly he's surrounded by sycophants and security guards. Behind him stands the full power of the cultural establishment, as shown by his position in numerous arts foundations and organizations like PEN. Yet somehow I, an ordinary guy with an out-of-style hat, am bullying poor Rick, and the entire rest of the System. As I've said, the literary establishment must be very shaky indeed if this is the case.
(Why is this character bothered by the way I or other ULAers dress? By wrestling masks? That we engage in ballyhoo and make noise-- a necessity for writers like us of marginalized status? It's the ULA's very existence that upsets such clowns.)

JD Finch's High-Fiber Santorum Shake said...

Dear King-

[to be sung to The William Tell Overture]

"You're an ass, you're an ass, you're an ass, ass, ass
You're an ass, you're an ass, you're an ass, ass, ass
You're an ass, you're an ass, you're an ass, ass, ass
You're an ass, you're an ass, ass, ass"

Really, King. You are.

King said...

Re zero-sum game. We've never said it's "us or them." We're saying instead that it's "us AND them." A crucial difference. We're trying to have our place in the world of literature, that's all-- and yes, have had to be very vocal in order to carve that place out.
Our point is that literature NEEDS contention, debate, conflict; even occasional reading crashes and heckling, if you will. The lit world existed with no turmoil before the ULA came along, and as a result, literature's place in the culture dwindled, becoming as safe and noticed as string quartet music; confined to the world of the refined, the gentry, the placid, the safe; the world of the first reading we crashed, where we dared to make noise-- to respond to the reader-- who could have smiled or waved or added a rejoinder but instead stopped and gave the look of a three-year-old who'd just dropped her ice cream cone-- "Please help me!"
I won't deny that in attitude the ULA DOES represent a stark difference to things-as-they-are. We do want to upset the lit world, to shake people up. The posts on this blog show that we're doing it. Mission accomplished.
If we continue on we might actually get the general society to notice, and the pie of literature "Guski" wishes to grow actually will.
(Can you imagine if we had such debates and contention in public forums? We actually did, once, at CBGB's in 2001 when we debated the Paris Review.)

Anonymous said...

Psssssst. I heard that Simon and Schuster, which is owned by Viacom, has a secret slush-fund of billions kept solely for the purpose of keeping down the ULA's cadre of daring, revolutionary, underground writers.

Some people might tell you that book publishing is actually a barely profitible endeavor engaged in by people who do it for love, not money, it is actually a trillion-dollar industry. That's why the red wine at pub parties is so good.

You didn't hear any of this from me.

King said...

The people who work inside the industry might believe they do it for love, though I think they actually do it out of notions of success and career. Those who OWN publishing, the Viacoms you refer to, do so only for money.
It's a fact that our culture is 99% controlled by a handful of conglomerates. No conspiracy about it-- it's right out in the open, apparently approved by people like you. We're trying to make noise against this powerful hurricane of nonstop media. Why does this bother you so?

King said...

(I wish our opponents would sometimes respond with more than cheap insults, bon mots, and smarminess.)

Anonymous said...

What kind of discourse do you want, exactly? The kind where someone like Brian Guski demolishes the self-contradictions and aesthetic claims of this ridiculous vanity site, only to be ignored? So we can read another interminable and logically incoherent post?

Why should we waste our time arguing with you when your transparent hypocrisy, penchant for lying, and tawdry motives have already been demonstrated?

No one takes you seriously, King, except for the gang of losers who occasionally post here. And I seriously doubt many other people read the site, except for the people that come to gawk and point at you circus freaks. An interesting question: do more people come here to laugh at you than to listen to you?

And one more thing: The people who work for the publishing industries don't "own" them. Sumner Redstone and SI Newhouse and Rupert Murdoch own these companies. And they are not *that* profitible. Your average editor from a swanky school could have gone to law school and quadrupled her publishing salary. But she didn't, probably because she loved to read, or wanted to be a writer, or is interested in publishing. You don't know her motives, and your contention that you do reveals more about your vain, shriveled soul--not to mention the anti-literary impulse of your thought-- than maybe anything else I've ever read here.

When you shout down a writer who is not Rick Moody (and who's not making that much money either) do you do that for love? Is that in the disinterested service of literature?

By the way, please don't answer these questions. They're rhetorical. Because you're not worth the energy of a single synapse firing in reading your response.

Anonymous said...

Hey King. Can you post a poll?

I suggest a question like this:

I come to "Attacking the Demi Puppets" to

1. Read about the latest developments in the exciting world of the ULA.

2. Laugh at the ULA and their ridiculous, vainglorious posts.

3. Follow the tragic saga of Jeff Potter's poor, battered prostate.


Anybody else out there? If you are, why don't YOU post, to tell us why you read "Attacking the Demi-Puppets."

King said...

Some read this blog because it challenges their assumptions, as does nothing else in the lit-realm. Different writing, different ideas-- which you'll never get from the mainstream. Where else will you find this kind of free-for-all?
"Bryan" dislikes my tactics. That's his problem, not mine. I deal with the world as it exists in reality.
"Shouting down" Vanity Fair editors? Not really. Just a few brief moments of theater, which people seem to remember.
Our critics/fans are as hyperbolic about us as we are!

King said...

p.s. Keep in mind also that NO ONE has been so forthrightly against lit-world corruption as the Underground Literary Alliance.

Anonymous said...

I vote for the vainglorious option.
But really, I NOW realize it's just theater--it has to be--after the big Medusa event sponsered
by the WWF. Obviously it's the same people, since the writing displayed is of similar quality to
a wrestler spitting into a microphone his vehement distaste of his challenger, someone with a name similar to Wred Fright. Yep,
just hand out capes to all the members, and bugle your onslaught
against the lit establishment by
blowing through a watermelon bunghole. In the meantime I just ordered a textbook for a class I'm teaching and it features stories
by Rick Moody, who can write circles around Bill Dingleberry
or Krazy Kevin or any of them there
sputtering and hilarious literary
geniuses. If you ever do get serious about writing something different, not just to BE different, but because your vision
leads you there, you might look at someone such as Kate Braverman, who just writes brilliantly and shuts up about it. But now that I know the ULA is just a big show, a
kind of theater of the absurd, I can relax, can't I. Problem is, it's not even very funny, so that's kind of sad.

Anonymous said...

I vote #3. I must admit I've begun to worry about that poor prostate.

Bryan Guski said...

I've come to the conclusion that the repeated harping on the fact ol' "Bryan" doesn't really exist or is Rick Moody's crafty alias is either just meant to annoy me or is yet another example of your mass delusions. So, it's fine. It's nice you find yourselves to be so terrifying and powerful that one would have to hide from your wrath in that manner. No, I'm not "Bryan Guski", but rather the pooled efforts of the Simon & Schuster Propaganda Squad.
We wanted the alias Fearsome B. Litkiller, but thought it was too subtle.

Jeff so brilliantly deduces that I have no real "online presence." And he's right, and I have a little cry session about that every day. But not like the one he's having. I know, when his fingers trembled as he pressed on the keyboard to begin the Google search, he was hoping to find "Bryan Guski's Eggers-travaganza!" Live Journal fansite, with entries like: "Davey is so kewl & kewt! He roolz! Bryan h8s those ULA revolutionareez for picking on his daddy! LATAH!"

Sorry to disappoint. I'll work on the "online presence" thing...I better git bloggin'!

King: I understand you're incapable of connecting your own behavior to how you're criticized, so I forgive you in advance. On the one hand, you talk about the posturing, the falseness, the fasionable nature of, and, in at least one now-ancient tiff with the New Criterion the "monocles" of your opponents. So, I thought pointing out your posturing and falseness and fashionable nature might be an appropriate counter. It's not me who bid $3 at the Charles Bukowski estate auction for his wardrobe, it's you.

I guess he didn't leave any of his talent folded in his jacket pockets. Too bad.

And revolutionaries, even "Bloggin' Revolutionareez!"(tm), don't need to play dress up games. You're as much of a posturing fashionista as your (occasionally imaginary) wire-spectacled, tweed-jacket opponents, your costumes are just more affordable (I guess). You're a fraud, and you hope I am too, and whether you're right or not about me really has no bearing on your own condition. What difference do I make, anyway? It's your world and I'm just livin' in it, remember, my "non-elitist" friend?

You talk about my lack of "context" and my lack of perspective, and I once again point out your shameless equating of your silly cult with a brave, likely murdered student standing in front of a tank in Tianamen Square with nothing but a plastic bag. Where's your "context" and your "perspective"? It's a sickening display of indifference, and betrays a total lack of grounding and perspective.

And King, you don't take on Simon & Schuster's corporate overlords when you crash a reading. Like those "overlords" give a shit if some guy or gal who'll be lucky to sell 9,000 copies is embarrassed for no reason by a bunch of angry hacks.

Publishing is a small fraction of their profits, non-fiction making up the majority of those profits anyway. Most people, unless you're talking about the Dan Brown's or Jackie Collins's, don't get into fiction for the money, even many of the "successful" ones. If they do, they'll be pretty disappointed.

You yell at and cajole some little writer who had the audicity to actually be published. Publishing is much like non-profit work or documentary filmmaking in the sense that yes, some rich folks are drawn to those things due to a genuine interest, or even due to some ol' fashioned noblesse oblige in some cases. And so be it. I don't plan on taking them behind the Kremlin and shooting them in the head for it, it's not my business what people who haven't done anything to me do with their time.

But the other side of writing and publishing, non-profit, and doc filmmaking...the MAJORITY of it, are people who really don't make any outrageous money at it, could make a better living doing something else, but love what they do.

And I know for a fact that of the writers you've tried to humiliate and think, in your disease-racked mind are "oppressing" you simply by writing differently than you do, most of those writers are not rich. They aren't oppressors. They aren't going home to any mansions, jets, or caviar. They just got published by the subsidiary of the subsidiary of the subsidiary of the company of the division of the corporation that never heard of them.

And you don't get published. And THAT'S all any of this is really about. You don't hate the "corruption", you just want to switch places. You want to be powerful, and you're not. That's not the same thing.

And if your writing is as earth-shattering, revolutionary, and challenging as you claim (editor's note: it's not), why do you really want to be the one reading in a Barnes & Noble anyway? If those writers are sellouts with nothing to say, and their audience is comprised of idiots, then what do you even care what they do? How is it connected to what you do, your ability to get ANYONE to read your garbage, unless all you really want is for their "corrupt", octopi-tentacles-of-publicity to work for you instead?

It's okay, man. Guys who can't really do anything well but wanna be famous anyway are what this country's all about.

The problem is you're both a fame-junkie and crazy. I've never heard anyone name drop as much as you (congratulations on yelling at George Plimpton for a half hour 5 years ago in a New York club, this is the first I'm hearing about it!). I've never really met anyone audacious and out-to-lunch enough to make a statement like "the lit world existed with no turmoil before the ULA came along" and really BELIEVE it.

By the way, to trigger the next topic, Karl Wenclas wears brown shoes.

Anonymous said...

Can I just come out and say it?

I love Bryan Guski.

Dude, if you had a blog, I'd read every fucking word of it.

Bryan Guski said...

Thanks for the support, sometimes it gets a little lonely in this lovely Scientology.com. Wait, sorry, WHICH cult is this again? I've been busy.

King said...

??? But I don't care what they do, "Bryan"-- I merely use them as a reference point, a way to put into contrast more authentic writers. I've certainly never wanted to read at Barnes & Noble. I didn't even wish to be a regular reviewer for Bookforum-- which I'm sure you'd grovel at.
Having fun as self-appointed guardian of the literary establishment? Scoring any brownie points? Well, that's one way of doing it.
I've never represented myself as something I'm not, as you have. I've always been an undergrounder-- a zeen writer and publisher-- through and through, and have never claimed to be anything else. The ULA's goal isn't to join the status quo-- that should be obvious even to someone like you-- but instead to create an independent alternative, one not run by corporate suits and manned by unquestioning lapdogs; one where the writers themselves are in control.
We have to make noise in order to do that; our voices being the only power, the only leverage, that we have.

Bryan Guski said...

Yes King, I'd love a chance to review for Bookforum. Why, do you have their number?!??!?

And I'll have you know, I'm not the "self-appointed guardian of the lit establishment." I was elected, by an oversight committee, to a three year term. They tend to get a little upset when they realize that I come after the ULA & specifically Karl Wenclas and don't spend enough time defending their "lit castle", but that's THEIR problem.

Anonymous said...

"We have to make noise in order to do that; our voices being the only power, the only leverage, that we have." --King Wenclas

Little brats "make noise" and scream and bitch and count on that to get them attention. Adults, though, speak intelligently, and trust their intelligence to serve as leverage enough. That you've gotten to be as old as you are and have not yet figured this out is astonishing.

How I loathe this blog. And how I loathe myself for coming here, again and again, more and more agog, at King Wenclas's hubris. The unstoppable terribleness is sort of like of like watching a bukkake video, except less nuanced.

King said...

But there hasn't been a lot of intelligent speaking from our opponents, has there been? A lot of personal insults and obscenities.
Your comment shows your cluelessness about this society, and how it's structured. There's a huge gap between the affluent, the comfortable, and the bottom half.
The privileged have everything tied up in their favor-- then dare to become outraged when writers speak against this. And yes, it should be writers speaking out. If not us, who else?
We're beginning with our own turf, literature. We hope to show how this society should operate, in a non-hierarchical, cooperative way-- the kind of cooperation shown at the ULA's Philly weekend.
We could have an intelligent discussion comparing the two types of systems. Our DIY one-- or the tops-down, hierarchical, conglomerate-dominated elitist controlled status quo machine. To have such a discussion would require you to actually THINK-- and therein would come the problem.

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