TO UNDERSTAND my aversion to anonymous posters-- even well-intentioned sympathizers of the ULA cause-- one has to know my history as a zeen editor, back to 1998 when I co-edited Pop Literary Gazette with a Detroit writer who called himself Max Sitting.
Not content to use a pen name, "Max" tried to pack our journal with a collection of fake names who upon examination turned out to be representations of himself. At one time I thought Max the most completely lacking-in-character person I'd ever met. (Others I've encountered since greatly outdo Max in this department.)
A low-level prof at a local Detroit university, Max lived in terror of the posturing nonentities who ruled the tiny lit-world in that town. Never would he want to upset them. His secret wish was to join them. (He'd tell me how he had to grovel to them at faculty parties. I recall one prof couple parading around the area who styled themselves great writers for penning unreadable L*A*N*G*U*A*G*E poetry and such, George and Christine. I encountered Christine, an aging fox, one morning at a local copyshop. She was picking up a course pack. "What are you teaching?" I asked. "Post-Colonial Literature," she intoned in clipped and distant voice, glancing reluctantly and distastefully at me with eyes like narrowed slits. "Oh: Rip Van Winkle," I responded. The slitted eyes further narrowed.)
Husband George gave Pop an ample write-up in a local paper, with photo of its cover, contrasting it with a "legitimate" lit journal (bourgeois; overpriced; few dull poems and stories well-padded with many blank pages to express "significance.") In other words, he trashed us! mocking our colorful rah-rah football-fan in-your-face style. Rather than be glad at the coverage and wrath, which was great, "Max" went into panic. How many fawning reviews of local approved tamed litsters could he cram into Pop under various fake names? Our partnership soon dissolved. I gave Pop to Max and his imaginary cast of writers. Some months later I left Detroit. The next issue of the journal never appeared.
Who do I rank beneath Max in the character department? The list is a long one. (I have many knives in my back and a few wounds in front.) A few of the worst:
DAVE EGGERS: A truly nasty person. The story of his true nastiness was quickly squelched when he portrayed himself, bizarrely, as victim in the matter.
MAUD NEWTON: Her father is apparently a con-man of no integrity-- maybe why she readily embraces lit people of the same kind. Revealed as a plagiarist or fraud? You'll soon have Maud in your camp. Meanwhile she's hated the ULA from the moment she heard of us, for no apparent cause. Maybe because we're honest and authentic. We don't just talk about commitment; we LIVE it. It would take a psychiatrist to understand her behavior-- she has a lot of baggage to work out.
THE MOLE: His name itself lacks a shred of interest or character. Mercenary-on-sale to the highest bidder, his literary career consists of pathetically exhibiting himself in empty rooms as someone who can't get along with other writers, including those who once welcomed him in friendship. It'd be hard to rate him on a scale of character above a cockroach.
RICK MOODY: Lowest of all, with the non-existent conscience of a born-rich person for whom actions have no consequences. Why confront criticism head-on when you can hire or coax someone to do your dirty work? Security people escorting critics away from his vicinity is an analogy for how he's run his entire life: exist in a protective bubble secured by the nannies guards hirelings flunkies sycophants John Leonards of the world-- there's always someone available in awe of privilege or eager to be bought off.