Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is Dissent Tolerated?

Attempts have been made to intimidate Richard Cummings, and the NY Times writer, over the CIA Paris Review story. You can notice on this blog some of the anonymous attacks which have been made against me. (The March of the Zombies.)

If this story is silenced, it will be a mark against American literature; against the Paris Review in particular, even if the actions were done only in their name and not by them directly. I hope their editors realize this.

At the ULA we're used to it. Countless attempts have been made to destroy us, from within and without. It's a wonder we're still around as an organization.

That the literary world is monolithically corrupt has been proven many times, this situation the latest example. It was proven to the ULA with our first Protest against corruption in 2001, a petition we sent to 300 literary luminaries. Not one would sign it.

Right now we search like Diogenes for one honest person. Or at least, for one voice to state, "I disagree with what they say, but will fight to the death for their right to say it."

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

But there is such a Person, King. Yclept Momus, also yclept Nick Currie. But Wait! Years backe, he wrote a Song about Rich Guy Artist Jeff Koons for Ye Consyderation of One Gee! Art there no End to the Tentacles? CH

Anonymous said...

Attempts have been made? Some proof please. An email will do. Or a recollected transcript from a phone call. Postings here don't count. Really! We're curious.

King said...

I'm saying that we've all been receiving e-mails over this. I've received at least a hundred in the last two weeks. Cummings has been called a series of names and pressured to meet someone in person over the matter. For now, that's all I'll say.
Some proof of your own identity, please!
And how do you rate your own postings here? Aren't they attempts to squelch the story? Why are you siding with the CIA?
I get a kick out of the varying messages being sent through your postings, as if you're trying different tacks.
I've gone from a person with no talent whatsoever to someone who is now "wasting" his talent. If only I'd keep my mouth shut about literary corruption and the CIA and cooperate!
(That you all post here anonymously says a great deal about you and about the freedom to speak in today's literary scene. Can you be honest for once in your life?)
(And why has the Eggers Gang got themselves involved in stifling this matter, as postings here indicate? What's their stake?)

King said...

p.s. A point to think about:
There IS no dissent in the lit world today, other than in the form of the ULA.
No one else other than us questions the process by which literature is discovered, promoted, made.
The reaction to exposures of corruption (such as the CLMP story): monolithic silence.
Maybe we really are dealing with pod people.

Anonymous said...

Um, that was my first post. I'm not the Elizabethan and I'm not the person you think is The Dave.

King said...

Then give a name to distinguish yourself!
p.s. We really don't want to battle with Paris Review anymore than we have to-- though we believe the public has a right to know the entire truth.
Paris Review editors SHOULD be sympathetic with our campaign.
They first need to remove their blinders.

jimmy grace said...

You've received hundreds of e-mails from this alleged conspiracy, but you won't say anything further, and you demand proof of the identity of people who post here? Jesus Christ.

Here, I'll be the guy who says I don't agree with what you say but I support your right to say it. When these forces of evil shut you down - via e-mail, of course, the most powerful threatening force in the universe - let me know.

For the millionth time, you need to face the ugly fact that nobody gives a shit. Nobody gives a shit about the Paris Review outside from a tiny, tiny readership. Nobody gives a shit about where its funding came from 50 years ago, because even in its prime it was nothing but a trendy literary magazine and advanced the cause of American imperialism about as much as a teenager wearing Nikes does. And nobody gives a shit about your so-called report of an irrelevant, apparently long-known "secret."

You don't enrage people. You annoy them. You annoy me and I don't even write. I'm sure you annoy all the bigwigs you love to pester. But they're not threatened, they're not cornered, they're not enraged, and I don't believe for a minute that they're sending you hundreds of threatening e-mails. You have practically no coherent arguments and you produce practically no work of merit. If you did, you'd get some of the attention you obviously crave. (My tour's off to Arizona tomorrow, already sold out.) Instead, you stand outside buildings yelling nonsense until someone is annoyed enough to say something, and then you imagine that you're a brave martyr in the midst of a sinister conspiracy. I'll support your right to say that, but not without pointing out that
NOBODY
GIVES
A
SHIT.

Anonymous said...

And no, nobody's addressing the CIA and literature issue at all....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/26/AR2007012601758_pf.html

You want people to post their names? Don't enable anonymous comments. 1 +1 = ....

King said...

Well, except YOU.
(Note the implications of this person's argument.Let's not even THINK about CIA involvment with our arts scene, fifty years ago and
today. Let's not notice it and not talk about it. Let's be deaf, dumb, and blind to what's really happening.
Nobody cares. It means nothing.
I don't know why he's bothered by us, when 99% of today's literary scene is doing exactly what he advocates.)
As I've said before, "Grace," the answer for you is simple. Dig a hole in the sand and insert head.

King said...

Coherent arguments:
But "Grace," we've been rpoviding them from the beginning.
Was not our exposes of corruption in the literary grants scene coherent enough for you?
How many times do we need to provide the details?
A lot of coherent facts are given in the ULA's Slush Pile Protest issue, which I believe you've mentioned.
My two-part Report on our general site about the CLMP matter was quite detailed.
Not coherent?
Well, I guess it makes it easier for your conscience to portray things that way.
IF truly nobody gives a shit that the leading American lit journal over the past 5o years was founded with CIA money, then this culture, this civilization, is beyond all hope.
(What must the rest of the world think. What if, say, Israel's leading literary journal was called the American Review and had an office in this country, and we learned it was a creation of Mossad-- wouldn't we be rightly outraged? Or if any nation did that? Please think of the broader implications, for our image, of what this story means.)

Anonymous said...

Me again. The person you think is someone else, who posted first on this thread (tho not the WaPo link).

Okay. Let me play devil's advocate.

The CIA funded the Paris Review initially. Why is this the worst thing to ever happen, exactly? If the vast majority of the people writing for it were not aware of this, and if the CIA wasn't determining the editorial policies (I'm not sure if you're saying it was--none of the stuff I've read about this suggests that), and it was good enough for people like Hemingway to appear in (and any number of other writers I think you'd accept as great), what is real, qualitative damage done? The CIA is not the most admirable organization in the world, admittedly. But would you agree that some of the people working for it did so for reasons you could recognize as not morally reprehensible? Or is everything the CIA does bad? I'm not being snide. I'd actually like to know. I think if the Bush presidency has taught us anything, it's that there are actually people in the intelligence community who care about the truth and who care about what happens to this country. Again, not apologizing for the CIA. Latin America, for instance, gives us the CIA at its very, very worst. But could you admit that there are things the CIA could conceivably do that are not, by definition, evil?

jimmy grace said...

Look, King, why don't you take a walk through your beloved Detroit (Philly?) streets and ask everybody you see if they've heard of George fucking Plimpton? Or if they can name a single piece of writing that's appeared in the Paris Review in the past ten years?

And then, why don't you cut and paste these hundreds of e-mails you've gotten threatening the ULA? It should take about five minutes to do that. Then I'll be convinced of the vast influence of this literary magazine, and how terrified and furious you've made the powers that be, and I'll take my head out of the sand and donate half my earnings from selling posters on this tour to your noble cause.

Of course, if for some reason the average guy on the street doesn't read the Paris Review, or you somehow can't find all these furious letters from powerful bigwigs, then I guess we'll know you're just a self-delusional guy who knows deepdown why Jack Saunders isn't a major literary figure.

Anonymous said...

...and the revolutionary is silent...

King said...

Silent? No, I was working at my job.
I love all these demands from anonymous posters for "accountability." Quite a double standard. You ask no questions of or about Paris Review (which has some very powerful and rich people on its board); they won't respond to anyone. Here I am every day answering questions from ghosts, and it's not good enough?
I'll tell Paris Review all about the e-mails if they contact me. Of course, they already know who they're coming from. This post was aimed not at you-- but at them.
What we see with you people is either,
A.) Individuals who have something at stake in the matter. (Or why else all the concern?)
B.) Individuals who can't see reality and don't want to see reality. The notion that things are not all well in the world causes dis-ease, so they wish to blot this notion out.
They have no toleration for dissent whatsoever. Whatsoever. After all, there are thousands of sites and blogs devoted to literature, and this is one of the few discussing this matter, if not the only one.
Not good enough! You wish NO ONE to discuss the matter.
Why is the CIA founding of Paris Review important?
We've already discussed this, on this blog, time and again. Please reread my recent posts. It could be the reason why literature today is irrelevant. Nothing polemical. Nothing which addresses social issues. Instead: endless narcissism; the writer existing inside a bubble of his own creation. An image through the most hyped writers of affluence and success.
George Plimpton, who set the direction of the magazine for fifty years, maintained a set point-of-view toward literature and what literature can do. He expressed this, in his own way, to me personally when I met him.
As I've pointed out, PR wasn't the only publication involved. Another influential one was Partisan Review. There were likely others. (No one is looking for them.)
Study the rise of neo-conservative ideology, and its connection to Partisan Review, and then tell me this isn't an important matter.
The world is a reflection of ideas. We're living in such a world, with the consequences. Every day those consequences are on the news channels.
(One of the leading neo-con ideologists, Norman Podhoretz, began as an influential literary critic. The influence of his words since, in the shaping of our foreign policy, has been immense.)
Was Paris Review as important a journal as some? As concerns literature it was.
Of course, "Grace," one couldn't expect you to appreciate this, because after all you're not a writer. . . .

King said...

(That no one can name a piece of writing from maybe the leading lit journal in the country is, of course, the ultimate problem.)

jimmy the hyena said...

Yeah dave I guess you can maybe try to spin it that way. That your involvement with these people wasn't such a bad thing. But you know that it kinda exsposes you as a fraud. And your whole stuff as a big hoax. Bigger than TJ. Leroy, or Barrus or Frey.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy, go to bed. This isn't Dave either. I know it hurts, honey, but really, if you're going to accuse people of being someone, at least consistently accuse the same person.

I dunno, King. Jim Harrison and Denis Johnson and a lot of other nonconformist writers have published in the Paris Review, and their writing is hardly w/o opinion and hardly unpassionate. You talk often about what literature qua literature is, and yet you only discuss one--not very representative--percent of it, which is to say the Richie Riches of the literary world. You know what I just realized? Rick Moody's "The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven" was published in the PR. I don't like that story, or his work, but it's pretty polemical and anti-capitalist (do with that what you will--but you can't deny the thrust of the story itself). This "no feeling, no polemic" talking point of yours, I have to say, I think you're not only wrong but I think you don't even buy this. As a physicist might say, You're not even wrong. Do you only read people you hate? I don't know if it's literature, but think of a book like Fast Food Nation. Is that or is that not an old-fashioned polemic? And what about your enemy Eggers's (quiet, Jimmy) new book about the Sudan? That's a polemic against Western inaction in the face of genocide. (I read your earlier post about Eggers's attempt to "annihilate" (or whatever the word you used) the kid he's writing about. The kid's not a writer, and happily cooperated in telling his story. Your criticism is, shall we say, a stretch. But you often engage in such argumentative yoga.) There are literally hundreds of other examples I could throw at you, and will if you want me to. And yet this no-passion talking point of yours keeps getting floated out there like a battered little bath toy. Your experience writing for the Northwest Review I think you're misunderstanding. They didn't want you not to be polemical. They wanted you not to be an ALL CAPS shouting crank, because no one likes reading a crank. They like arguing with cranks, but not reading them. So, I think, basically, one person, who may or may not be right (not to mention representative of literature as a whole) tried to tell you once not to write like a crazy man, and you missed the point, and now believe your own sliver of experience to be culturally indicative of everyone's experience everywhere at all times. That's a big claim. There's also some clinical names for it. Another big claim: the Paris Review is a microcosm of American literature. Can that really be true? Then why haven't I, who does nothing but read, read the magazine once in the last ten years?

And, finally, and I think this is my last post, I am stunned, really, that you won't even put up one of these emails with the addresses blacked out or something. I mean, is there any reason not to? If the senders are kept anonymous (heh), doesn't it do no harm and actually make your case? I agree with Jimmy (the other Jimmy): Based on your refusal, I have to say, I don't think they're real.

And I've been meaning to say this, since I started posting here: Once, long ago, in the demi-puppetry of my youth, I worked as a wage slave at Random House. I actually knew the Random House editor Ned Chase, Chevy's dad. I knew him at the very end of his career, but I knew him. He was over seventy and I was not even 23 yet. Cumming's account of Ned Chase working in concert with the U.S. government to destroy a writer who witnessed Nixon's secret Ethiopia war, I have to say, is more or less hilarious. The Ned Chase I knew routinely locked himself out of his office, and routinely got lost in the halls. He was a wealthy, patrician guy, but when it came to the CIA, he was no stooge, I can guarantee you. (And if this story were true, why did I never once hear any talk about Ned and the CIA? Ever listen to editorial assistants? All they do is gossip and read their bosses' mail.) Thinking back to those days, which in publishing were basically a blizzard of cocaine . . . I think, in the end, your Mr. Cummings might be selectively remembering the circumstances of his book's rejection. As I recall, Random House at that time was being sued by the CIA--the case went as high as the Supreme Court--because it published a book by one of its former officers who did not clear the book with Langley. Snepp was the guy's name, I think. Random House fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court, I feel the need to tell you again. They lost, and wound up losing many millions of dollars. The legendary editor Bob Gottlieb was actually meeting Snepp in Central Park, both wearing sunglasses and raincoats, doing message drops with him. This, around the time Cummings is claiming RH and the CIA were on such close terms all it took was a phone call to quash a book. Maybe I'm too much of a demi-puppet, but imagining editors sitting in smoky rooms thinking about how to destroy Cummings's career is basically impossible to take seriously. But if that's what Cummings thinks, I think I know why you guys get along so well....

jimmy the hyena said...

Dave or Jay it's all the same for me you know you're like difference manifestations of the same source. And it's all CIA too, it's institutionalisation of a vision. They don't necessarily have to be directly involved because the structure has been put in place that will reproduce the way of thinking of things that is necessary for it all to keep on as it has been until it runs into something that it can't get over (something that has already happened) then it becomes about attributing blame. If people weren't pointing the finger at me I wouldn't be pointing the finger back. You people keep churning out your propaganda. How's Bill, did he privatise anything lately?

jimmy the hyena said...

oh yes, that's Dave Eggers author of Heart Breaking Work of Incredible Genius, sometimes abrieviated as HWIG or HBWIG husband of Vida Vendela editor of McSweenys or McSweeney's or McSweeny's or whatever

Anonymous said...

Jimmy the Hyena: Gentleman, logician, scholar, speller.

jimmy the hyena said...

Damn Dave if I had your kind of money I sure wouldn't waste my days in front of a computer. Is San Francisco become that boring? Don't they have medical marijuana strip tease joints and anchor steam beer? I do believe that that the "we're helping starving people in Africa" exscuse has been a bit over exploited you know Dubuya hiself tried using it to peddle genetically modified corn in Europe for US agribusiness maybe those starving should be asked about how they feel about the way in which their suffering is being capitalized by others.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating colloquy, Jimmy. May I call you James?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I haven't seen this kind of howling and growling since the days of Ezekiel Brutus. Mr. Hyena, you are no longer understudy for the role of King's court jester but a full-fledged star!

It's so good to see anonymous comments are enabled again. Finally something amusing to read . . .

jimmy the hyena said...

Hey do you really think that I James "jimmy the hyena" Nowlan am doing this because I wanna be a star? Watch my film and you'll see what I think about it. Read my book and you'll understand why it is that I feel that way. Do you think I had sex with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears because I like bitches like that? It was just taking care of business that needed taking care of.

jimmy grace said...

King, it looks like you freely admit that nobody really reads the Paris Review, and you are unwilling or unable to post the hundreds of e-mails trying to destroy your lone, dissenting voice.
The only conclusion is that your dissent is in fact being tolerated, because nobody gives a shit about the Paris Review or your paranoid claims of martyrdom.
You want it both ways: that mainstream lit is totally irrelevant to the people, and that it's a juggernaut of sheer power. That first claim is true - and you can fight it by producing good work. (We had another great show last night - about 100 people showed up, which I bet is scads more than who was reading the Review last night.) The second claim is bullshit paranoia, which you've just admitted.

King said...

The interesting thing is that Nowlan's novel (ULA Press) is better than anything Eggers and Moody have ever written or could write.
Can't say I've read "Brightest Ring" etc in its entirety. It struck me as too self-involved.
My point about Eggers new book is that such people love to use helpless Third World types as props toward their own glory. Meanwhile they couldn't care less, really, about what happens in their own society, from whose stark inequities they benefit.
It's a scene right out of Norris's The Octopus-- rich people gorging themselves at a Benefit for people in India while a woman starves to death on San Francisco streets outside.
There's a world of difference between literary narcissism which makes irrelevant noise, and books like the kind Frank Norris and other great American authors put out.
I suggest you look up my North American Review essay and see what I mean by polemical. Don't make assumptions, please, when you haven't read it.
(Btw, I loved Fast Food Nation. Would that fiction were allowed to be that strong.)
Finally, the hypocrisy presented here is striking.
These folks won't question the Paris Review about anything; the CIA matter, in their minds, should be left untouched.
At the same time they DEMAND (under cloaks of anonymity) that I do this and do that; that I publicly post, for their benefit, copies of the mentioned e-mails.
It shows their misguided priorities, and what side they're on.
(Is it a surprise that one of the anonymice is from the upper class, that he knew good old Ned Chase, and so on? These folks are embedded in the attitudes of their class and most intent on maintaining its privileged position in a literature which should be by and for everyone-- a concept completely beyond their understanding. But at least we know why he's against us.)
Newsflash, Sherlock: I belong to an organization which shares information. To some extent I'm accountable to that organization. Regarding the e-mails, I've already forwarded a couple of them to key ULAers. I've shown ULAer Frank Walsh, who's here in Philly, the number I've been receiving. Do you really think I'm making them up?
These skulking around creatures, ghosts of whom not one of them-- NOT ONE-- has the integrity or courage to post under his or her own name, seem to be judging me by themselves.
Sorry, but my integrity is really all I have in this world and I wouldn't so casually compromise it.
That kind of behavior comes from an entirely different attitude-- an attitude you anonymous folks seem to know about.
One can look at the kind of posts I'm getting here. Am I making them up?
The cause of them is a totalitarian mindset.
These people can tolerate NO dissent, no contrary ideas and opinions. That someone disagrees with them, with the 99% conformity of the literary world, is too much for them.
The Overdogs have 99% of the pie in the literary world and they're still unsatisfied. They want all of it, you see. ALL of it. Total consistency; 100% agreement.
No one investigating anything related to their safe and irrelevant realm.
Hey: I'm not here to serve you. I don't jump through hoops at your command. You must think I'm like so many other writers out there.
Believe what I say or don't, it's all the same to me. We come from different universes (though we live in the same nation) and I know I'll not connect with the likes of you. You're too corrupted, of diseased hearts, beyond hope. I'll just say Sayonara, for now, and will take a several day break from your mendacious mewling, as I have a show to promote, which because of this mess I've been neglecting.
Maybe you can all stand in a room together and tell yourselves how great you are while I'm gone, and suck your thumbs, and make sure the windows are closed and covered, and not think about the CIA or anything potentially troubling which might disturb your cozy bubble world.

King said...

Note to "Grace":
Quite self-deluded, aren't you?
A total phony with a cover story already revealed to be fake (remember the letter sent to Arms Akimbo?) and you're lecturing about "bullshit"?
Maybe the Paris Review is unimportant, as you insist (but in the literary world it's not).
But much less important is the Underground Literary Alliance.
If I'm wrong to see the CIA creation of Paris Review as crucial-- how much more wrong are you about the importance of us?
Why so exercised about my speaking out?
If nobody knows about PR, so many less people know about the ULA and this blog. Yet here you are, day after day, treating our little campaign as the most dangerous happening in the universe.
I suspect that words and ideas might just be a tad more important in this society than you allege.

Anonymous said...

"Jimmy Grace" wrote:

"then I guess we'll know you're just a self-delusional guy who knows deepdown why Jack Saunders isn't a major literary figure."

Check out this link: http://odeo.com/channel/33810/view/
and listen to Tim Hall going after Jack Saunders (why???) and the ULA.

As if the use of "self-delusional" weren't a big enough red flag.

Karl: more power to you in your fight against the worst demi-puppets of all: the CO-OPTERS.

jimmy grace said...

I post here because you annoy the crap out of me, and because I'm stuck at a stupid job with time to go online. You should see what I say on some Catholic blogs

I'm real and so is Arms Akimbo. If you actually sent them some hate mail you only prove my point.

The supposed subject of this post was whether or not your brave voice of dissent is tolerated. You are unable to come up with any proof of this dissent. Therefore you're full of shit.

Hey, Chilly Charlie, nice to see you. Funny how you only come around when King's cornered.

King said...

No, I didn't send them mail. A poster on this blog sent you a letter ca/o them.
Evidence of dissent?
Trying to open up the CIA story is exactly that.
The ULA campaign is a campaign of dissent; questioning the entire process of how literature is discovered, promoted, created.
No one else examines the process from top to bottom.
Therefore we are a (very lone) voice of literary dissent.

jimmy grace said...

Not evidence of dissent, you idiot - evidence that your dissent isn't tolerated. Clearly it is.

King said...

Oh, you mean because this blog hasn't been shut down? How generous! What tolerance! What an open literary world we have, where all issues are publicly discussed!
You're as naive as a five year-old.

jimmy grace said...

Christ, will you read your own post? You claim that your dissent isn't tolerated, that "attempts are being made to destroy you." You have no proof of such claims.

King said...

Countless attempts have been made to destroy this organization, yes.
It's also a fact that Richard Cummings has received intimidating messages.

jimmy grace said...

And the evidence of this claim is...where...?

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