Frank Walsh has already mentioned this, in a comment on the previous post, but I have to weigh in also.
WHILE LISTENING last night to the rebroadcast of my radio appearance (can be found at www.whyy.org/podcast/071207_110630.mp3), I was struck by how crisp and clear Carla Spataro's voice is throughout, while mine seems to come through a cloud, or from a far echoed distance. When I raised the volume of my voice-- as I did several times to a significant extent-- the result, on tape, is no different than when I'd been speaking normally. What is that about?
It's obvious that the engineer or producer was turning down the volume of my voice, while Carla's was turned up throughout. I guess the thinking behind this is some kind of equalization or levelling the playing field-- the real outcome however is to UNlevel the playing field with a bizarre flattening of my voice, variations in degree and tone wiped out. (Matching, ironically, the nonstop homogenization seen in writing programs.) The producers did not present the truth of the encounter-- what the discussion in the studio was really like. They altered the effect and the meaning of what took place. The result to be found by those who listen to the show is a false presentation of what actually occurred.
This is not made up. I have a very loud voice, especially when I get animated. Listen to the tape, where Carla, when talking normally, now appears every bit as loud as me-- and much clearer.
STACKING THE DECK
Further stacking of the deck is found not just with those callers to the show put on the air, but with the host herself, who near the end jumped into the discussion on the other side with some unreal comments. The ULA, which has no power whatsoever-- is frankly in a constant struggle for survival-- is somehow EXCLUDING well-hyped wealthy author Jeffrey Eugenides, whose every book is published and financed by a huge conglomerate. Reality is turned on its head.
Shouldn't Eugenides voice be heard-- the exclusive view of the top 1% of our culture? It IS being heard, and many more like it, everywhere, in every mass media forum, while underground voices, the ULA's and others, are shut out. This is the reality. Yet, suddenly, amazingly, we become the excluders in the minds of the overdogs.
As bizarre were the comments of one of the callers, "Monte." He insisted that we can make no judgements about the state of literature now. Ultimately, through his perspective, we can really make no judgements about anything. (Golly, maybe Bush is a good President after all? Far be it for us to say.) Maybe today's approved authors today really are great, though their novels appear mediocre and stir nobody, shaking nobody's soul. They have the proper number of pages, and fully enough words to them. They're impressively presented between thick and glowing covers. Who's to say they're not great? In fact, by Monte's thinking, we can't say. Someone 200 years from now will decide.
By this sophistry, Dostoevsky is no better than A.S. Byatt.
Being a ULAer means being tied down like Gulliver by the mediocrities of today's literary world. When on stray occasions we're allowed to have a voice in a forum, the event is strictly controlled, making sure we don't come across too well. The shaky literary establishment must be protected, or it'll fall apart.
There are too many barriers for the underground writer to begin with and the system erects more of them.
Here's a Newsflash for the literary establishment: Stack the deck against us, rig the game, alter our voices, and we'll still win the argument. Blacklist after blacklist can unofficially occur. Barrier after barrier after barrier can go up and will go up to try to halt our progress but we'll plow through them propelled by truth and talent, by the fact that we're today's real literature.
Being an underground writer means being psychologically beat up by the system again and again and again and again and again. It means your head and your heart stabbed by long knives, run through, not once, but continually, for years. A Prometheus would understand the treatment.
Being underground means facing an establishment with no scruples and no conscience fighting ruthlessly to keep every ill-gotten inch of its turf. It means facing army after army of CGI-style demi-puppets-- yet, despite all, continuing on. Not giving up. Staying committed to one's principles.
You the reader of this blog, or the listener of the radio show who's just discovered us, has the opportunity to see and hear the Underground Literary Alliance LIVE unhindered by studio trickery, free from all muzzles and handcuffs, next week, at Red Emmas in Baltimore on July 17th; Germ Books at 2005 Frankford here in Philly the 18th, and July 19th at Freebird Books in Brooklyn New York. For details about these and other Wred Fright/Crazy Carl readings go to: