PRESUMABLY John Leonard spent more than one hour on his essay. Yet ULAers as diverse as Steve Kostecke, Leopold McGinnis, and myself can tear his argument to shreds instantaneously.
In truth, Leonard makes no argument. He concedes virtually every point of the ULA case, then says, in effect, "At least the McSweeney's gang aren't serial killers." It's not an argument so much as a plea: "Please like these guys!"
(The way Leonard haplessly flails away at himself in his own essay, one could imagine how he'd stumble and hesitate in a debate onstage.)
The tepid salvo from a reluctant soldier of the literary establishment tells me the ULA is unstoppable. Our ideas are irresistible. We win every debate. Our biggest battles are among ourselves. When a mandarin dares contend with us he quickly has to scamper back behind the stage scenery, from whence he came.
Characters like John Leonard, or Rick Moody with his word-clotted tomes, are already obsolete. The ULA is the future, has the energy, will be huge, is the answer, because we're relevant and necessary and literary history is with us.