Saturday, September 30, 2006

New Monday Report

Scheduled for this Monday, October 2, is Part II of my look at the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and its takeover by the media monopolies.

Don't miss it! Only at


- Leopold said...

The first one was great. Looking forward to the next.

King Wenclas said...

Fighting co-optation is a big part of the ULA campaign. One of our early Protests was against the "Firecracker" Alternative Book Award to McSweeney's for Best Zine.
Very laughable when one thinks about it. Alternative Book Award? Eggers was being funded/backed by Simon & Schuster (Viacom)! He was a knock-off of the genuine article.
This protest probably pissed off more folks than any other-- but what can anyone today say about it, when the Dave's colors have long since been revealed, as he engages with the monopolies in book deal after book deal? (This income stream likely keeps afloat his entire operation, including money-losers like The Believer.)
Other point: These people, in Orwellian fashion, are masters at turning reality on its head.
And so, on wikipedia, I'm charged with dishonesty and being against free expression-- by an anonymous poster!-- when the ULA campaign is a fight for transparency and for a smidgen of access, the ability for a sliver of free expression when people like the anonymous poster have a monopoly on access and noise.
After all, who was caught attacking the ULA anonymously on Amazon in 2004?

Jeff Potter said...

King, you mention a nefarious $350 entry fee in your MR pt. 2. It strikes me that what these Corpo Execs who are taking over Indy Lit are doing is precisely modeling it after every other white-collar hobby in the country.

The standard fee for a weekend of elite seminaring on just about any suburban-type topic is just that $350!

A weekend yoga retreat, a French cooking skills getaway, a scuba-diving intensive: they all are based on the $350 weekend concept.

That's what an organizer who books hotel (or B&B) rooms and a banquet hall plus access to a few elite brains and some lovely practice fields has to get to earn a profit for everyone if about, what, 100 people show up.

They're trying to apply standard TQM methodology to art. Only they don't realize they're leaving out the art!

They're merely cultivating and serving just another niche market. Not even a living one at that.

It's easy to see where they're coming from. They're marketing people, office folks, managers. They're organizing the lit scene so it can "interface" smoothly with all other media---heck, with all other business and production---it all uses the same model today. They're knocking off rough edges. Look at our improved functionality! Our tidy grants applications! Look! English departments CAN be run like Physics departments or the Business School! And art can be managed like an English department!

The freaky thing is that with just a little real judgement they wouldn't HAVE to kill the art. There COULD be respectful interaction between organiation and freedom/creativity. But, no, they go all the way over to the Dark Side. Conform or else! MFA or else!

They're begging to have some Car Guys who know art AND science come mop them up.

Adam Hardin said...

You buy access by buying a degree, but even then as so many MFAers have found out that access only lets you submit your work. In the future, you will only be able to submit your work, with a MFA degree. King joked in his MR of post-MFA degrees, and now that is happening as well. There is a Ph.D. in creative writing now being increasingly offered so that desperate writers who have an MFA can now distinguish themselves from other MFAers. I am waiting for Academia to unleash the SMFA, yes that's the Super-MFA degree which can be gotten for $40,000 and two-years of pretend study after you get your first MFA.

MFA programs are the least intellectually and academically rigorous programs in Academia second only to Advanced Basket Weaving. What do you learn? You learn how to talk about writing so you can convince other people that your bad writing is really advanced.

Frank Marcopolos said...

Great job of turning over the rock of the modern-day lit scene to reveal nothing but a bunch of wiggly worms.

Muchos kudos, KW.

jimmy grace said...

Now *this* is worthy muckraking.

MFA programs - and not just writing ones - are the Bentleys of the art world. They're expensive, they don't work so good, and the only people they impress are people who already have one. Why anyone would pay for the privilge of learning about art from someone who'd rather teach people art than make art is beyond me.

Adam Hardin said...

It all began at Breadloaf. $2000 for ten days of sucking up and smoozing.

But did you hear about the latest new thing? Its called the anthology scam. Several MFA presses announce that they need entries for an Anthology to be called something like Best American Poetry 2006, and in order to submit to the anthology you are charged a reading fee, or are asked to purchase a copy of the anthology, that way they can publish themselves and friends while you pay for it.

In the coming years, each year will have 1000 "Best of" anthologies with 17,653 writers named "One of the Best New Voices of the Year"

There are more scams, but maybe that would be a good MR. These people know how to turn a buck more than write. They can sell everything except their writing.

Jimbo said...

I was working at this bogus biznez skool in France they had some University of Denver Grads there they were like Americans in a television commercial, so uber clean and cheerful always spinning out bright cheerful littles adages like there are no porblems without solutions cheaters never prosper hard work and perseverance pay off in the end. The people running the skool were part of some strango international network. I read that University of Denver only offers doctorates of fine arts in creative writing now. What's a fool to do with that. So University of Denver needs to dump its questionable educational products somewhere maybe on another continent why should I have to pay for that. The whole things built on mutual legitimation; you got an MBA from a school that hires teachers from an elite American University so you must be talented right? Maybe you'll go to work for a company that will sell the bogus cultural products put out from a company that's staffed by mfa's from the same school.

chilly charlie said...

Here's what Tim Hall signed his name to on the "Monday Report" of December 13 2004:

"A few months ago I got into an online argument with a guy from
Iowa, who scoffed when I said that MFA programs were huge profit
centers for universities, educational SUVs that would only bleed dry 99% of the suckers stupid enough to sign up. I'm more convinced of this than ever, after hearing their stories."

Here's Tim Hall on THIS comment page, on October 2, 2006:

"MFA programs - and not just writing ones - are the Bentleys of the art world. They're expensive, they don't work so good, and the only people they impress are people who already have one. Why anyone would pay for the privilge of learning about art from someone who'd rather teach people art than make art is beyond me."


chilly charlie said...

Funny how "Jimmy Grace" (Tim Hall) is going all over this blog refuting and denying the obvious...but has stayed away from THIS last post like the plague.

Could it be that I have him dead to rights?

I don't care about ULA one way or the other, but nobody deserves to be stalked and harassed like Tim Hall is doing. The guy has gone insane. It was bad enough when he called Nan Talese a scumbag. Any normal lunatic would have declared victory and gone off to Buckingham Palace to demand his coronation. Not Tim!