Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Co-Optors

I spoke with ULA poet Frank Walsh last night. We agreed that the mini-conclave a little over a week ago here in Philly was a successful get-together, highlighted by performances by guests Shawn Terreri and Natalie Felix, as well as special guest Jessica Disobedience (aka "Edna Million") and the usual ULA suspects. Some special guests like Philly novelist Larry Richette were in the audience. I didn't do follow-up hype for it because it wasn't a ULA show, but a modest reading; more a semi-private affair. Full of energy for all that.

We haven't adequately done follow-up noise about the great ULA Cleveland trio of shows, which were hugely successful. The ULA is alive and well.

In our conversation, Walsh and I agreed that the biggest threat to undergrounders isn't the demi-puppets, who can't be blamed for their cattle-like behavior anymore than, well, cattle can! No, far more dangerous are those who would intentionally co-opt our stance without reality behind it. This is why I've criticized n+1, once I realized they were frauds more intent on preserving and protecting the status quo-- literary things as they are-- than changing it.

Walsh and I both have felt for years that our very existence as writers, as performers and noise-makers, is under threat. The establishment would just as soon we not exist. They would prefer to wipe us out-- because we're the genuine article. This feeling, exaggerated or not, is very real. And isn't it true? Hasn't there been a nonstop assault on the American working class for twenty years? I wrote about this in a long essay for a lit-mag in 1994. Things are worse now.

We fear those who would co-opt our standing and appropriate our message.

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