Friday, February 02, 2007



Recall I said I'd received about a hundred of them over this matter (not hundreds) over the past two weeks. For the most part they were relatively polite, an attempt to persuade me there is nothing to the CIA Paris Review story beyond what the NY Times reported. I treated them as an opportunity for dialogue, and responded to many of them, and received replies to my responses. The sense I had was that persons were trying to get a sense of what the ULA does or doesn't know. In turn, I asked questions designed to broaden my information. Not real cryptic-- but the fact remains that a great deal of time is being devoted to having us drop the matter, which was my point in mentioning the e-mails. The e-mails going to Cummings, on the other hand, have not been polite; have been insulting, abusive, and in my opinion, bullying.

Once I engage with people by e-mails, I treat them as off-the-record conversations. I'm no journalist, but I do want people to feel free discussing these matters with me privately.

Yesterday I had an exchange of e-mails with a Friend of Eggers, who seemed to be accusing me of something. Am I obligated to post those e-mails here? Of course not.

Is the Paris Review matter at all important? Paris Review over the years has had-- more than any other literary journal-- what all cultural entities crave: access to media. Access to media is power in this society. The chief reason no one votes for political parties like the Libertarians, for instance, is because they don't hear about them. Such parties have no access to media.

Through this access, George Plimpton was able to make literary "stars" out of nonentities like Jay McInerney. Plimpton also of course had connections to other kinds of star makers, from his good friend William Henderson at Pushcart Prize to editors and publishers at big publishing houses.

The creation of Paris Review was also important because it set the tone for other lit journals to follow. The tone is in William Styron's remarks upon the magazine's founding; that they wanted the "non-axe-grinders." This has been the prevalent philosophy of the literary world since. Any hazards that radical ideas might infiltrate themselves into literature were squelched.

The idea that Paris Review was not founded with CIA money is not plausible. Matthiessen used the journal as his "cover," yes-- but it's not as if it existed before he came to it; before he founded it. His joining it and its creation were simultaneous.

The idea that George Plimpton, son of Francis T.P. Plimpton, didn't know of the CIA connection from the moment he joined the magazine is not plausible. No other individual so fit the CIA ethos as George Plimpton, as I'll be writing about. That his pro-establishment concerns didn't stay with him through the course of his long tenure at Paris Review is not plausible. He was what he was, very much so.

In the past, Paris Review hasn't hesitated to speak up or threaten legal action to protect its reputation. At least, that was the case in 2005, as shown in an item on the 3/28 Galley Cat blog. Paris Review's then-Managing Editor Fiona Maazel told them, "I'm sure you do not delight in libel" in the context of a piece Galley Cat had run which had called Rick Moody a "financial backer" of the magazine, and discussed his resignation as a contributing editor. A minor issue, really-- yet enough to get Paris Review angry.

Strangely, in light of this example, for two years, about the CIA story, we've heard from Paris Review and its high-priced lawyers: Nothing. Not even a standard-issue threatening note on legal letterhead. Why not? Obviously they want no one looking into the matter.


Anonymous said...

You've heard nothing?

Probably because they don't care about your little temper tantrums.

jimmy the hyena said...

Look Dave, I know that you've got a lot of people around you who go in for that baby talk role playing stuff (or at least pretend to in order to placate you) but some of us really don't find it so exciting.

jimmy grace said...

Wait, I thought these hundreds of e-mails were threatening your very existence because your enemies don't tolerate dissent. Now you say they're mostly nice, polite people. So they DO tolerate dissent. So you were lying previously. So I don't owe you half my T-shirt receipts. Good, because I spent it already.

As for why the Paris Review hasn't had their lawyers contact the ULA in light of your hysterical (and, as it turns out, hopelessly dated) claims, maybe you don't remember the reason:
(fill it in yourself, King.)

King said...

Hopelessly dated?
Is there any evidence that the CIA pulled its tentacles out of the worlds of culture and academia? Magically, out of the goodness of their heart?
Why would they do that?
Right now,as part of Homeland Security, they have more funds to throw around than ever.
I think one of the reasons you post here, "Grace," is that your mind is in conflict.
You know the ULA is basically right in what we're doing.
You know there's truth in our words.
But you've assigned yourself a role apparently acting as apologist and shill for the status quo; for things as they are-- a status quo untenable in this society and in the literary world itself.
Anyone who's not blind should be able to see that the CIA's creation of our most prestigious literary journal discredits our entire literature.
Re tolerating dissent. A hundred frantic e-mails (not hundreds) trying to convince me to drop the matter shows A.) someone actually DOES care about this story; B.) they prefer to have it stifled privately.
Tolerate dissent? The blackballing of the ULA and of stories like this tells a different story.
(What if, say, in Guatemala they discovered that their leading literary journal had been originally created by their intelligence service? Would that not be a huge story in that country? Would not their writers have something to say about it?
What are our writers saying about the situation here?
Have you heard from a one of them? (Except from Paul "I'm shocked!" Auster?)

jimmy grace said...

Yeah, I do think you guys are on the right side. You're just doing it wrong. That's why I attack your methods.

I'm done touring and back at my stupid job. (The tour continues - maybe you'll be there in Philly, King, if you really try to go out and see good art) We got hundreds of people in a bunch of locations hearing and seeing new stuff.

You blog on about the fact that a guy who works for a magazine nobody reads was also working for the CIA. You can't even explain how what they publish in the Paris Review has done to advance CIA ideology. (You start muttering about "social realism" but then give up.) You at best get 20 comments, usually when you start accusing posters of being Dave Eggers.

Now, why don't you remind me why your methods are much more powerful, and why I'm a shill for pointing out that

King said...

Giving shows is all well and good, but isn't going to change this society or this culture one iota. This is a society saturated by mass media; where people's minds are dominated by media. That's the battlefield.
I've seen countless groups try to change things by playing by the rules. Recent example: Clamor magazine, founded by a former zeen editor, which put out many issues containing much radical thought.
They recently went broke. An admirable effort which had little impact.
We at the ULA have less resources then they did. We follow the only tactics possible. It's impossible for us to compete straight-up with the conglomerates and their flunkies. We therefore look for different ways of operating.
What we're doing is striking at the heart of the beast-- at the core of its power. A relatively small number of people make the decisions about what is or is not considered literature in this country. Opinion makers and decision makers. These are the people we seek to influence with our battle of ideas.
Maybe the battle is futile-- who knows? The campaign has always been premised on finding a few honest people inside the system willing to speak up for truth.
You'd think the CIA matter is one area where writers WOULD be speaking up.
In any other country they would be. But not here. Why not?
p.s. One of many many influences, as for what tactics we use, is Saul Alinksy's "Rules for Radicals." You might wish to read it some time.
p.p.s. You condemn our tactics. You present yourself as a gay activist. What's your opinion of the tactics of Act-Up, which brought notice to their cause and to their group?
(We believe our campaign is much broader based, of course; going after the control of language itself; language-- the foundation of ideas and thought; without which civilization would not be possible.)

King said...

By the way, to portray Paris Review as a magazine "nobody reads" is an ignorant statement. Your intelligent enough, Grace, not to make it.
Maybe their circulation is only 10,000. But what a 10,000-- if it includes writers, editors, and publishers who themselves have audiences in the many millions.
This has been the case throughout PR's history; those very tight with the mag over the years including, as I've pointed out, the likes of Morgan Entrekin, Gary Fisketjon, Jonathan Galassi, Rust Hills, Tom Jenks, etc etc etc.

jimmy grace said...

Act-Up gathered thousands of members through its indelible art installations (primarily Keith Haring) and through a stance that welcomed participation and argument. I went to Act-Up meetings - they were screaming free-for-alls. You get eight negative comments and need to shut down your blog for awhile to think. They brought new imagery and new ideas into the culture by plastering them everywhere and cross-promoting with other activist groups across the board. (Let me search your blog for a moment and look at how often you promoted Clamor. Oh. Now let me see how many times you whined about Rick Moody. Oh.)
When they had momentum they confronted groups that were blocking their ideals in imaginative, brave ways. You bug a security guard at a building that would probably offer you guys a big, trendy contract if you actually produced any bonafide work, and then flee at the first sign of trouble.
Lastly, AIDS kills people. Show me the millions that McSweeneys has killed and I'll admit that sending hate letters to Lemony Snickett is a righteous act. Trying to derail Jonathan Galassi, who I had to Google to learn who the fuck he is, is "Much broader based" than a worldwide plague? I guess I lost more friends than you to it.

King said...

They were attacked for their tactics just as the ULA is attacked for ours.
By the way, I never sent "hate letters" to Lemony Snickett-- until I heard that accusation I didn't know who he was, and have no interest in childrens authors.
I do mail out press releases and flyers containing reasoned arguments.
Why don't you question why the Eggers Gang would make up the fake letters story? (A full discussion of the matter can be found on this blog.) I asked to see a copy of one of the relevant envelopes. They couldn't produce one. The story was a hoax from the get-go.
Though it is a good example of the tactics to which Overdogs will stoop in attempts to discredit the ULA.
Doesn't this bother you?
Did you read what Gessen said about their tactics, concerning him? There's an objective third party who got caught in the Eggers buzzsaw.
Why do you make yourself part of that, Grace?
The Dave is a wealthy and powerful individual who through his own company and joint deals with the majors, puts out a very large amount of published literature.
Yet he has a totalitarian attitude toward anyone critical of him.
Yes, the ULA is a handful of writers. We don't have the resources or profile of Act-Up. We're doing what we can in our little world of underground literature.
How are we a threat, that you feel has to addressed on a daily basis?
Whose interests are you serving?

jimmy grace said...

Who said you're a threat?
I said you're wrong.

Eggers might be an asshole but I don't think he's quite as big a threat as say, AIDS. So your comparison is bogus.

And yeah, Lemony Snickett made up you sending him letters in order to discredit your organization. That makes a lot of sense. Nothing about your tactics would ever indicate that you would harass anybody.

King said...

But the fact is that he apparently DID make up those letters.
Again, the matter was discussed on this blog fairly thoroughly. As they say, you could look it up.

jimmy grace said...

Why would a millionaire reading at a bar make up letters from an organization nobody knows about? I hadn't heard of you until he did that. He actually gave you publicity, come to think of it.

Here's a more likely scenario: an organization known for harassing bigwigs harrassed a bigwig, and he read the letters outloud. You milked it for all it was worth.

King said...

Click on the Sept 05 archive of this blog and find a thorough discussion of this matter.
Why would a millionaire author do this? It's beyond me. But he apparently did. (maybe for his own amusement, or the amusement of that millionaire crowd.)

jimmy grace said...

Your "thorough discussion" indicates nothing more than your usual martyr complex. You know you like to attack people for no reason than your own personal disgust - the ULA's own site takes pride in crashing readings. At least own up to it. Or has that courage deserted you as well?

King said...

If I HAD written the letters, I'd admit it. Sorry if I hesitate to be part of some millionaire's made-up game.
Everything about that letter was fake, from the missing envelope to the big "X" on the bottom.
What are you, anyway, Handler's stooge? His official apologist?
If you've at all been around, as you apparently have, then you know the biggest liars and scam artists on earth are rich people.
I've made noise, sure, but always out in the open; no phony names or fake identities. The ULA has been upfront from the start, from our very first Protest, signed by our own identities. Unpublished writers fearlessly putting our asses on the line. We've hid from NO ONE. Can your crowd say likewise? Can you, who continue to post under a fake identity, post after post? You don't have a lot of credibility on the subject.
(p.s. You might want to check Handler's bio and see if he's done anonymous game-playing in the past. I kinda think he has. But then again, the truth is the last thing you're interested in-- only defending your rich role models.)

jimmy grace said...

Yep, that's me, CIA-sponsored blowjobber of the status quo.
If you'll excuse me, Dick Cheney and Jonathan Franzen are waiting for me at the secret anti-ULA conspiracy meeting.
Because there's certainly no other reason why people would disagree with you.