Monday, June 04, 2007

Replay

(Here's an excerpt from the final part of the last chapter of the Movie Serial, so that readers will know where we left off. Chapter Nine to follow.)

The image paces about its cell for a long minute, staring at the floor, before it looks again directly at the camera-- toward the questioner-- and returns to its monologue.

"I am from the greatest generation: the Creators of Empire. We are the Wise Men. We created the literary world you live in. In many ways, it could be said, we created you.

"We know that those who follow won't be up to our ability. It's the nature of the universe that in a civilization such as ours, the ruling generations decline. Not due to any fault of their own. Don't mistake me, please. It's a natural process. It's inevitable that you're less forceful, less intelligent, less shrewd. Your own father mocks you about this, I know. The question is whether you're intelligent ENOUGH to rule this machine we the Creators have set into motion.

"Why is this struggle important? This battle over literature? Because literature is language, the foundation of culture, of civilization, of thought itself. Without words we are not even human, will regress to become mere grunting animals. Beasts! Mere beasts. This fate is what we oppose. Without our wisdom to guide humanity, through literature, through ideas and discussion, we will have in this world only chaos. Another Dark Ages. Freedom equals Chaos. We have given humankind the illusion of freedom but we've always directed their path. You know this." (The image pauses.)

"I will give you now, to arm you for the intellectual battle ahead, a proper way to view the map of battle.

"Think for a moment about science fiction novels which use the universe of galaxies, planets, and stars as metaphor for this planet. Let's use this metaphor to explain real objects. Let's imagine-- imagine!-- this nation as an entire galaxy."

The Image of Plimpton turns suddenly. Behind him has come alive a large map of America dotted with lights-- sparks of lights representing cities of the civilization, as if they were glowing planets against a night sky. He points with wonder and pride at this sparkling backdrop before continuing the narrative.
*

6 comments:

King said...

Now up at www.literaryrevolution.com:
"DIY: The Miranda July Story."
Not a major story, but an example that today's cultural world is a machine. It helps to have an inside perspective in order to access it. Talent is always a secondary consideration.
(There are better performance artists in the ULA than the well-hyped Ms. July.)

Fran said...

You should have been an investigative reporter. It amazes me that some people like that would have the world believe they didn't get published at least in part because of their family history of connections--and because of their own direct connections.

In my opinion, like too much writing today, July's writing is polished but nothing very original happens, it contains mostly stereotypical character behavior and portrayals genderwise (which I can't stand); it doesn't go anywhere really, it's just okay-to-good, but not really good, yet it's been repeatedly published and lauded. That seems to be the equation: okay-to-good writing = accepted pretty widely.

Her style also sounds like too many other writers writing today. I think sounding like everyone else in your "generation"--especially the popular everyone else's--has strangely become The Thing To Do, which is the antithesis of me, so some days I'm honestly perplexed over how that's happened, how herd-dom overtook individual-dom in writing (probably too many writers followed what had worked for others because they were afraid they wouldn't eat otherwise, then writers got stuck in that pattern, especially if the pattern involved writing what the more commercial publishers often published). It seems some writers LIKE sounding like other writers; they INTEND this. Or, I don't know--maybe those kinds of writers have always been around; the numbers of them just make up a bigger proportion of the whole now.

A part of me is always happy to see a female writer get attention and so hates criticizing her work. But I really wish the female writers getting attention weren't over and over again the same damn ones, the same damn ones because they're spewing the same-old shit.

King said...

I've been lobbying within the ULA for one of upcoming books to be by Jessica Wilber. Not because she's a woman, but because she's good-- as good a writer as anyone in the outfit. (Our Danica Patrick.)
There are excellent underground women writers out there-- legitimately underground. Ammi Keller, to name one. Or even "May Barber" who you may have seen posting around town; an old enemy of mine.
MEANWHILE: I put a well-reasoned, articulate post up on the NBCC blog on the Free Range thread, in response to a post from "Anonymous." I made an effort not to insult anyone-- I don't have to, can still make forceful arguments. The post hasn't appeared. "Anonymous" is okay because he attacks me. I'm not allowed because I criticize the standard quo. NBCC is showing the intellectual bankruptcy of their organization-- at least of those who run it.

King said...

(Excuse the typos-- drained from work. Life sucks.)

King said...

p.s. I'll be posting about my future soon. Dealing with assholes like those in the lit world gets old. A bigger bunch of cretins I've never encountered. No character. No integrity. No backbone. The semi-good ones (there are a few) are in cushy jobs and clueless about what's happening in the world. That is, OUR world; our country. F--- the rest of the world until we take care of the many many many many many problems here at home. (But our literati will never question their own privilege. Corrupt to the core.)

Fran said...

Unless my eyes are going (which may be as I can't get more than four hours of sleep a night lately), I don't see any typos in your post.

For most people looking at someone else's backyard and pontificating on how to clean it up is infinitely preferable to looking at their own backyards and then actually cleaning them; they (usually moralists) can feel good about their supposed altruistic motives without having to do anything tangible. At this point I think that place is hopeless overall, so may this country be. But even in the face of hopelessness, if people don't keep trying to change things, then life really will be hopeless. At least if they keep trying, there's a possibility things might improve.

Still, you should relax more if you can before you have a stroke, maybe stay away from over NBCC-and-places-like-it yonder for a little while. Animals are biological machines; everyone needs to recharge their living batteries once in a while.