Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The State of the ULA?

That the Underground Literary Alliance is in trouble is wishful thinking. We can be sure, when we're receiving mucho attacks, that things ARE happening with us. Otherwise, our enemies wouldn't say anything. Lately we haven't been able to keep them away. We're treated AS IF we're important, the biggest danger on the literary scene.

We just staged, here in Philadelphia, our greatest show to date. We're seeing the advent of ULA publications. We've had a strong increase in talent the past year-- not just among our writers, but in other areas. Right now we have many times the capabilities of the original team. All we have to do is leverage it through our campaign.

We haven't done all that much advocating in recent months-- but it's working, slowly, our message and our ideas seeping in through the cracks of the mainstream. That Harper's acknowledged there was such a thing as plagiarism, in a recent essay, or that Mr. Moody sought to explain the Franzen NEA award choice in a recent essay in The Believer, indicates that people are listening to what we say-- no matter their screams upon hearing it.

THE PROBLEM with the ULA is that we set amazingly high goals from the beginning. Expectations followed accordingly. We've been operating for close to five years-- but what a five years! Think of the ULA's progress not from the perspective of NYC Insiders, for whom the path is greased; nor that of the flunkies who identify with them, but from ours-- originally, a lowly band of zinesters mainly from Detroit. The lowest of the low; the most outside of outsiders. Writers with no connections, no backing, no money. In less than five years we sent vibrations of rebellion through the heart of media empire, were covered in-- well, do I have to list all the places? Black Book? Page Six? The Glasgow Herald? As recently as late last year we were listed among leading literary sites by the N.Y. Times. Yet some aren't satisfied.

"Losers" or "name-droppers": Our critics will spin whatever we do or say in the most negative way. The truth is that we're well positioned to grow in strength. Our writings are beginning to circulate around the country. We have a fun fan site, highlighting an unbeatable line-up of personalities. We've distinguished ourselves from the pack-- no mean feat. We've made the ULA name identifiable, in so doing becoming the "Other" of American letters: the true alternative. From a strategic standpoint, we shouldn't mind any of this.

More important, we have the most exciting voices on the planet. We're the only lit-group around with real energy. People scoff from a distance, under anonymous names. Do so at your own peril! If I'm to be accused of heckling writers, I may as well do it for real. See ya up in New York City sometime.

1 comment:

King said...

At a lawn party on an estate in the Hamptons, lurker Bryan Guski is being congratulated for his attacks on the ULA.
"Splendid! Good job and all that rot," a billionaire with billowing moustaches says to Guski. "Priceless insults!"
"Gee, thanks," Guski responds. "I appreciate it. But could you now take this straitjacket off me?"
The billionaire, who resembles-- dare we say it?-- a much older version of Rick Moody (Hiram II himself in the flesh?), waves over one of his distinguished friends.
"Here's the man, old boy," the billionaire says. "Gave ol' King back some of his own medicine. Enormous fun. Have to put those upstart rascals in their place!"
Bryan is sweating but tries to be polite. "Yes, but could you now take this straitjacket off me?"
"Delightful. Delightful!" the second rich guy says to Bryan; Morgan-something-or-other from an important publishing company. "Great job. You should be rewarded in some way. Could I bring you a cocktail? Some hors d'oeuvres?"
Guski isn't listening; his face enraged, he's shouting, "CAN YOU NOW TAKE THIS STRAITJACKET OFF ME!!!"
(Sorry, my last post on this topic. No doubt there ARE valid criticisms of the ULA to be made. The test of our organization is how well and quickly we deal with our flaws in order to gain in speed.)