Friday, March 23, 2007

Punks and Pirates

One of the problems we had in the ULA in recent months was of our own making, in that we allowed to stray into our ranks someone who turns out to be an active federal bureaucrat in Canada whose job is to enforce civility and conformity; a kind of manners cop. He's used to lecturing people about their behavior and words, backed by thick regulation and the power and weight of institutional law. Can you conceive of anyone less apt for this rebellious unregulated outspoken outfit? Bringing such a person into our group would be like dropping a priest onto a pirate ship. Not a good fit.

The Underground Literary Alliance is a product of the zeen revolution of the 1990's, whose major influence was the DIY "fuck you" attitude of the punk movement. This ethos was embedded like DNA into zeensters of every style, from Aaron Cometbus to Jim Goad to Violet Jones to Stephen Durst, as well as proliferations of riot-grrrls. Go through the versions of Factsheet 5 in the 80's and 90's, read about the zines described inside, and you'll see the major political force represented wasn't Republicans or Democrats, nor even Libertarians or Naderites, but anarchists. To slide in that direction is part and parcel of existing and writing fully outside the system; of being, truly, UNDERGROUND. Which is what the zine (zeen) revolution was about. (A Joshua Glenn or Tom Frank had only one foot in it.)

Of the six individuals who founded the ULA, three were steady readers of the ethical anarchism of Fred Woodworth: Michael, Joe Smith, and myself. A fourth, Doug Bassett, loathed mandated political correctness in all its forms. The other two, Ann and Steve, in their writings and their lifestyles were a living rejection of p.c. values. Uncivil nonconformists every one of us.

What I appreciated about Wild Bill Blackolive when I first encountered him was the idea that here was someone who knew exactly what he was doing with his work, knew his vision, and had allowed no one, no editor or publisher, or bureaucrat, to tell him what to do with it. Despite the cost. (The opposite of a conflicted conformist pet like Jonathan Franzen.)

I ask to be treated likewise. If I don't want even a "great writer" fucking around with my work, with my words, with my statements, why would I tolerate that from someone like the Canadian who writes at a fourth-grade level and whose mentality never left the bureaucratic office? To anyone who wants to tell me what I can or can't say on my own blog, I have these few words: Fuck you, and fuck you, and fuck you.

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