Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Literary World Today

The actions of an activist protest movement presuppose a level of conscience in one's opponents and among objective observers. It's thought that exposing the TRUTH should in itself be enough to make change. That was my assumption when the ULA campaign began. Now I wonder if my faith in human nature was misplaced.

Despite the recent claims by A.O. Scott in the New York Times, Dave Eggers and his friends have no commitment to truth. None. They seldom "say what they mean" or mean what they say. Everything is a game.

Big guffaws all around no doubt about the fake letter in The Ruminator. Does anyone doubt that Daniel Handler contrived it? Chuckle, chuckle! A big hit at cocktail parties. (Handler's bio info brags about letters he used to send out under fake names.) It makes sense that Handler is a children's author. After all, he lies like a child. "No, I didn't eat the last slice of chocolate cake," the child insists, chocolate smeared over his face!

The fact is that I don't register in this society, and so can be slandered with falsehoods at will. The fact is that Dave Eggers and his friends are to the point of success where they can get away with anything. (This was proved with the Atlantic "killed story" matter, Eggers both initiator and professed victim of the ensuing tragedy.) This is the nature of American society. The sycophantic literary fans are dazzled by the success itself-- then find the qualities they wish to see in the writing. Eggers's memoir a lie? No matter! it's all a game. The baby-like scene of The Dave driving with "Toph" is cringe-worthy it's so contrived, but has meaning for those who identify with him and his privileged bubble-like upbringing.

The biggest obstacle to making change is the demi-puppet state of mind-- the attitude of the herd of media underlings, most themselves from affluent backgrounds, who support unquestioningly top-level aristocratic stars like Eggers and Rick Moody. The rest of American writers, like the bottom 80 or 90% of American society, have no existence for these people. Privilege itself is the highest value; the only morality.

The fake letter trivializes the ULA campaign. It reveals the simplistic way Eggers people see our arguments. Truths about classism and corruption are beyond them. Who does the ULA petition for redress of the grievance? Lit-bloggers? Journalists? Editors at HarperCollins? Not a one cares in the slightest. They lack any conception of the meaning of the word integrity, let alone the trait itself. To careerist sociopaths, success is the only truth, power the only conscience.

So let's throw away the A.O. Scott nonsense that postmodern lying is over. The fake letter in The Ruminator shows the perfection of the postmodern lie, no one involved in perpetrating the hoax the least bit shame-faced.

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