Sunday, June 17, 2007

Independent Press?

THOSE manning this culture's institutions of literature, as at the National Book Critics Circle, while demonstrating loyalty and obedience to the major book conglomerates, on a regular basis, also make much of their devotion to the independent press.

But how independent is it? There seems to be a standard of agreement to be met. Small presses which are truly independent, like the ones the ULA has kicked off, are completely shut out.

Some of us believe that it's necessary for a society to have, somewhere, a remainder of independent voices-- voices truly independent, shockingly independent, nonconformist and disobedient, questioning all doctrine left or right; upsetting voices looking to unsettle and upend the status quo apple cart in any way possible. Contrary ideas which are evidence of independent thought.

Such voices were once what this nation was about.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, there's lots of fakeness in the supposed-to-be independent literary world. I think independent is yet another word--in a long list--that's become pretty meaningless through overuse and misuse. Too many "independent" presses use the same operation-modes the mainstream presses use (and even the same language, like using the elitist derogatory "slush pile" to describe writers' hard work), right down to their submission requirements and their illogical emphasis on "credentials." One difference though: the smaller presses usually don't require agented submissions, but that's probably because they can't afford high enough advances to make submitting worthwhile for agents.

Sometimes I wonder if people ever were any better, ever were more independent and self-sufficient--I know they most likely were according to history, but that they were is just so hard to believe when I look at the seeming majority of today's humans. Maybe the "quality of human beings" has gone down (environmental collapses [caused by humans largely] have not helped matters--people are being bombarded with lots of stressors, which may have worn down their psyches). Ask them to revolt, to go against the herd? Please! Don't bother them, they're busy working hard at consuming and conforming.

fdw said...

But it's really-- no matter how real the "stressors" (the poisons, the toxins, the ambient radioactivity, the virtual digital burn, etc.)-- the same old case of semi-consciousness, sleep-state, and mostly the lack of knowing one's self as the first knowledge that's at the root of our condition here.
And I agree with ye as regards the word "independent"
it's really about understanding co-indepence-- co inter-in deep- ency as it clearly is! And taking that and running with it.