Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lies from the Establishment

Great Associated Press coverage is up around the country (and maybe the planet). So far I've read excerpts of the podcast. I have to address one point-- the notion put out by Mr. Tuxedo, the director of Miller Theater, that I was given an opportunity to speak. This is not at all true, and I think ULAers ought to call him on that. (The facts are given in my "Monday Report," Part I now up at

The truth I was thrown out! Security guards and all. Only AFTER someone must've suggested that this looked kind of, er, bad, for an event celebrating Ginsberg's fight against censorship was I brought back in and allowed to be a member of the audience. Maybe I would've been allowed at some point to ask a question or two-- wowie!: a right I had regardless-- but this was never made clear.

That we challenged the panel to read against us. That Challenge was posted on this blog. Print versions of it were sent to most of the panelists, to Columbia University, to Academy of American Poets, and to members of the media. The ONLY response we received to the Challenge came from Phillip Lopate-- and he declined the Challenge, stated right at the bottom of his letter, in its last sentence. (He also declined the opportunity to take the microphone at our own reading outside, before he entered the hall.) There was never any idea of us being given a chance to speak-- this not proposed by anybody connected with the Miller Hall event.

The notion possibly entered their heads AFTER the ULA made our own opportunity to speak, in the middle of their event, by doing it. WE grabbed that opportunity, expressing our voices on our own, no permission granted-- it was at that very moment I was thrown out.

This is the fact of the matter.

Anyone and everyone who knows me knows that I'm seldom at a loss for words, when given the opportunity to speak. Any member of the ULA, any writer I've met, any journalist who's spoken to me, knows that the difficulty is shutting me up-- on the topic of literature and the ULA I can go on and on and on. (The same applies for many other ULAers, most notably Frank Walsh.)

The Overdogs would NEVER accept a level playing field with us. They know they'd get blown out of the water. It'd be a mismatch-- the same result as when George Plimpton, Tom Beller, and their well-educated staffs tried to debate us. (We're still waiting to see video of that event! Plimpton had a camera crew there and all-- the Maysles Brothers themselves. George was a bit overconfident going in. Footage seems to have vanished.)

Bring it on anytime, Mr. Tuxedo. You have the venue. Cart out the lit establishment's best and brightest. Set them up and we'll knock them down.

(p.s. Video of our show outside Miller Theater is upcoming. Please watch for it.)

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