Saturday, August 06, 2005

Peace Offer

I'm perfectly willing to satisfy the requests of the ULA's opponents-- but only under certain conditions, and on condition of the ULA's approval.

I'll agree to shut down this blog and take a long vacation from the ULA, if:

1.) Wealthy novelist Jonathan Franzen returns his NEA literature grant, which he received under false premises, as the award is intended to fund a person's writing, and he didn't use it for this purpose.

2.) That Rick Moody give back to the Guggenheim Foundation the funds he received from them several years back, and agree not to appear on panels doling out money to writers.

A fair deal? Specific details can be negotiated.


King said...

The Moody affair was the issue over which the ULA was founded, so I don't think the request is out of line.
As for Franzen--
sorry, but I work my ass off on my jobs, and the idea that my tax dollars have gone to a rich fop like him is repugnant. It's only one example of many of how the working poor subsidize rich people-- but it is an example.
(I've been working currently as a telemarketer-- $6.50 an hour plus commission. Wow! Rolling in the bucks. It's survival of the fittest-- make quota or you're gone. I'm good at it. I've appeared at my share of open mics before, but my best performances by far have been in calling rooms.
I went in today for a few hours-- overslept and got there an hour late. Was for forty-five minutes on my first call. Have to be good, and I mean good, to keep the person on the line for more than five seconds, because everyone wants to hang up on you. Forty-five minutes. I created images in the person's head, pulled tales out of the air to throw at a person. Like reading at an open mic for forty-five minutes, but more at stake. A lot more. Have to be "on." I made the sale and got the credit card number, I took the order. A lot was on the line-- I'd like to continue eating and keep a roof over my head.
The statements of folks supporting Franzen on this blog shows how little they know about their own country-- as little as he does, which is sad, because he's supposed to be our leading novelist. Can our leading novelist know virtually nothing about the realities of the society in which he lives? He merely floats through America, like a tourist, while most of the rest of us are slaving in various ways in its bowels.
I've been working another, much tougher job as well-- on break from it-- I plan to write about it when I bring back my "Zytron" feature, which will be soon.
Franzen's one of these guys who's had the road greased for him from Day One. From the top 5% socioeconomic level (Moody from the top 0.001%); raised in comfort; had well-educated parents, attended the best schools, the best instructors, best mentors; have been given free publicity which THEY didn't work for and every kind of item of largesse for much of their writing careers. Franzen had nine years to write his last novel. Nine years! What a pet. One of the System's lapdogs, wearing glasses. He best stay inside the mansion, and not wander outside the walls of the estate, where roams the dogpack. . . .
And the result of all this comfort, nursing, and feeding-- is what? Do you really think what he writes is any good? Not for this reader it's not. I want to read something real, with meat, which tells in clear ways the truth.
Butterflies in gilded cages. Not on my dime.
To ULAers: Most of the privileged snobs who've been posting anonymously on this blog will never accept us whatever we do. Put on shows, be positive; do exposes, attack; do whatever-- it doesn't matter. This is the way the world is. We'll outflank them or we'll run over them, but they aren't going to renew literature, and they won't help us do it. They've had their chance, for decades, and have grown only more insular as literature moves farther away from the populace, becoming more and more detached. Wineglasses at the club.

Adam Hardin said...

Lynn Freed in Harpers denounced the M.F.A. workshop. That is good and real self-righteous of her when she has been and is currently a faculty member at the BreadLoaf Writers Conference.

There are two ways to pay for Breadloaf(if you are accepted):

For 90% of those accepted it is to fork over $2,000.

For those who get a waitership: you can come for free as long as you work as a waiter serving everyone else.

Breadloaf is,of course,the most ass-kissing pretentious whitey white place on planet earth, and has a good column about it currently running.

Lynn Freed is somewhat full of shit.

Colonel Bardman said...

I see them everywhere now. They’re coming at me from all sides: the literary elite. Last night, I had to get a paint gun to protect myself, a paint gun because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I am an artist after all. I walked down the streets of Gotham last night: poverty, street crime, and drug addiction on one side, and wealth, suite crime, and drug addiction on the other. At the end of the street, I walked into Rocky Stallone’s pawn shop and I asked him what kind of paint gun he would recommend for self defense.

“Hey. Now all that depends, Bardman,” he said. “Colonel Bardman. That all depends on what do you have for me now. Hey.”

So I whipped out of my trousers pockets 2 new short stories of the street. One by that already legendary young man of the ‘hood, Job Aurelius, and the other by that back alley up-and-comer, Jim “Half-Full-Of-It” Tall.

Jim Tall’s story was titled “Big Gobs of Whatnot” and Job Aurelius’ story was titled “Taking Oldville by Storm” (or maybe Talking Oldville by Storm . . . Job’s spelling is so notoriously bad that I could not really tell for sure). Plenty righteous stuff, anyway you dice it.

As I expected, Rocky Stallone then gave me a great deal on a sleek little paint gun based on the titles alone. He even threw in mini-paint-pellets enough to wrap the belts (you feed the nasty little thing like a machine gun) twice in an X over both shoulders under my jacket, and three times around my waist.

“Nice doin’ business with you, Rock,” I said.

“My pleasure, Colonel. Give ‘em the hell.”

Outside I tested the paint gun, splotching up a street light with no problem at 20 yards. Satisfied, I holstered my paint pistol in my pants, also with no problem, it was that small.

I felt safe and secure at last from even the worst attacks the elite lit establishment could ever dream of shooting my way.

And shoot, did they.

I had barely stepped out of my door on my way to work the next morning when the day’s first salvos were launched. I had to dive behind a group of metal garbage cans to protect myself from a hail of sticks and stones that beat against the cans like futile missiles from the damned.

Flat on my stomach, I wriggled to the edge of the cans to get a look at my aggressors. As usual, the cowards were hiding, here and there behind everything . . . parked cars, mailboxes, streetlight poles, buildings, trees, bushes, innocent bystanders and passersby . . . . You name it, they hid behind it. Their missiles though were visible enough, clanking off the garbage cans and thudding into the brick walls of the walk-up behind me.

I took aim at a suspicious looking bush and fired a barrage of paint pellets . . . birds and squirrels went flying in every direction.

Then in quick succession, 2 cars, 3 trees and a billboard took direct hits from my paint gun. And the would-be mighty attackers and assassins of the lit establishment . . . crouching and cowering . . . they turned and fled, revealing nothing but their finely clad, cloaked backs . . . never a face to be shown. Cowards. I came out from behind the garbage cans, and continued on my way to work.

When I did not oversleep, it usually took me anywhere between 10 and 11 hours to get to my job.

You see, I basically rose with dawn but worked in the evening for a few hours as a telemarketer. Not only that but what with the expensive and lousy public transportation in Gotham I literally had miles to go before I could work and then sleep.

A good day at work making my calls was when I did not happen to dial up any member of the lit establishment. An even better day was when I was fortunate enough not to dial up a recognizable member of the lit establishment, and especially one who would recognize my rather distinct voice, as they not uncommonly did.

I mean, tonight, with my luck, I figured I would dial up some notoriously overwrought yet tepid litterateur like Slick Doopy or Dionne Chuggers. I just had a hunch.

And I bet I would be able to scent a whiff of paintball anxiety in their otherwise well-coiffed and fragrant voices. For the moment, let’s just say I had a premonition, and leave it at that.

The first place I normally go in the morning is to the Underground Literary Appliance store, which, naturally enough, sells books and also provides internet access to all us ULAPPers. And here the fun begins.

Especially of late. Because the big Read-Off is only 2 days away. It’s finally time for the best of the ULAPP to read-off against the best of the lit elite.

This will be a no-adjectives barred full-bore paint guns-to-the-wall affair . . . to be held at the Say What? Corral lounge.

The ULAPP crew is bringing its best. Its very, very best this time, no imitators, fakers, pretenders, false royalty . . . . No ULAPP second fiddles or excommunicatees need apply. There will be only one reader representing the ULAPP this time, the paint gun slinging Colonel himself. That’s right, me. AKA, The Bardman . . . ready to deliver a true Bardman experience.


Well, that’s the big secret. The lit elite refuse to tip their well-gloved hand.

Negotiations and deliberations have taken place through mutually trusted but insignificant intermediaries. I expect to face off against a tag team line-up of masked litterateurs, since I know no single foe could stand up to my verbal onslaught. But whatever. I am prepared to take on half of Manhatham and Wall Stratham . . . or even all the stars from these greatest zones of Gotham’s decadence.

I will take on any and all comers that night, if need be, even any recalcitrant rebels of the ULAPP, for the sake of defending the good name and righteous status of true underground, overlooked, outsider lit.

First, I plan to mock the lit elite in their own tongue by eviscerating their decadent “postmodern” balderdash in their own sleek style, and then by pumping into it some come back vibes of the streets.

After that, I will launch my very own epic . . . the greatest will and testament that I know to the visions of the streets, the fields, the eternal and everlasting voice of the people . . . the people . . . the people who know . . . and who love . . . and who are . . . life itself . . . the people . . . the people . . . the people who I, Colonel Bardman, know and love as life itself.

JDF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick @ LitVision said...

It's a pretty funny parody overall---the best one posted here recently. But in between your humor there's a strong slice of class bias. It's no joke taking the bus to a crappy job. Relying on public internet access is a bitch too. If you've ever had to experience these things i don't thing you'd poke fun at them so easily. I've been unemployed/underemployed for only short stretches at a time, thank god. But even a few months of it does something to the soul. Okay to laugh at the ULA and Karl, but watch for what comes around.

King said...

At least he didn't tell me to eat cake!

Colonel Bardman said...

J.D., Patrick,

It's meant as a tribute more than a critical parody.

The Colonel would hold his own, at least, at the read-off. His post here already holds its own.

It's understandable that ULA is defensive here, though. So maybe I should have put the post in context.

If less defensive, ULA might write more lighthearted comedy.

All comedy takes thought, and I don't think Colonel Bardman pushes at all beyond the bounds of being able to "connect" with a ULA audience.

Public bus riders joke/gripe about public transportation. The unemployed joke/gripe about being unemployed. Colonel Bardman is no different.

Colonel Bardman is no joke as I see it. If he has a touch of Don Quixote in him, then maybe that makes him a genuinely hip non-hipster, and maybe then that's okay.

I guess if I get some support for this post, I may continue it. If not, I tip my hat and will move on.