Friday, July 20, 2007

Tour De Corruption

If the ULA has proved nothing else in the six-plus years of its existence, it's that the literary world is thoroughly corrupt. We have exciting arguments and talented writers-- yet because of our ideas, contrary to those of the entrenched literary scene, we're by-and-large blackballed. Noteworthy that my recent radio appearance was the first time our ideas have been aired publicly since February 2001, when we debated George Plimpton and his staff in one of the most exciting events American literature has ever seen. It's not that we don't have the goods. We've always had the goods-- ideas, and the writers to back up those ideas. We've been shut out because of our whistle-blowing.

The problem is this society's Cult of the Lie. There is no ethos of integrity in America today. Everything-- EVERYTHING-- is subordinated to career and to personal gain.

An example of this is what has happened to the sport of bicycling. David Walsh's new book From Lance to Landis builds an overwhelming case that superstar Lance Armstrong all these years has been cheating. If this is so, what does this say about Armstrong's public persona, presenting himself as an example of virtue? This psychotic has no problem living a total lie. It's how things are done, you see. As bad are the armies of enablers in the cycling scene, who know he's a fraud yet turn the other way for the sake of their jobs and the business world of cycling. Meanwhile, those who have spoken out, like Greg LeMond, are hurt because of their honesty. This is reprehensible and has a lot to say about the rottenness of the American character. The only remaining question is whether that character has always been that rotten.

The same thing goes for the lit scene. The ULA's exposes of corruption are dismissed as something quirky, of little meaning. We the whistle blowers are ostracized, while corrupt frauds without conscience have done nothing but gain.

The pursuit of truth-- entwined with the pursuit of art-- gives life meaning. I wouldn't have altered my behavior with the ULA one iota, because I know our campaign has been right. As William Holden says in "The Wild Bunch": "I wouldn't have it any other way."


King said...

Apparently, pointing out corruption in any realm, asking for honesty, is considered by Overdogs and their apologists to be whining. Whining!
Remaining silent like dumb sheep is considered okay.
Greg LeMond has been called a lot of things for standing against cheating, including accusations of envy.
Such charges are meaningless.
And beside the point as far as literature is concerned-- because here the advocates of integrity are the most exciting writers going.
We reject the Society of Lies which has been built for us.
We realize the answer is to make a new beginning.
The ULA is nothing more than that honest and fearless beginning.

fdw said...

"a new beginning" is right on!
This is the way of nature, this is Dhamma. Renewal and transformation -- to paraphrase the great Chuang-tze-- is to return to the source.
And this is the pattern in chaos of all the great and greatly mattering literary/culutural"movements" in the past hundred years. Dada, surrealism, situationiste, fraught with schism beset by reactionaries and Spectacular cooptions they continue in the trasformation of the radical subjective of individual literary rebels. This is the "sign" of the writer/poet's viability and even the quality of their practice. More working- living less labor-survival.

On the record now and to strike literature into the hart of the ill-literate the indefatigable Underground Literary America tour just reporting in from ULA press publisher, Jeff Potter's back yard in Upper Darby!

Check the ULA main site to see Pat Simonelli's facilitous audio-tour pages!

fdw said...

Upper Michigan!

JeffOYB said...

I'm back from a weeklong camping trip. Somehow it ended up being scheduled while Wred and Crazy Carl were on their big national Underground Literary America reading tour.

I was home just a few hours when they pulled in with bells'n'whistles. The kids were thrilled to see them. Our AllStar writer heroes were quickly handing out wacky presents, including some to the neighbors who pulled into the driveway. Sadly, the wife and daughter had to take off, but the boy and I got to enjoy snacks and wild backyard pool splashing and bellyflopping action with our dynamic duo as they unwound after hours on the road.

Henry never saw such sights. Carl told him "You know, Henry, it says in the Bible that you and your daddy and I are going to jump right into this pool. It's in the Book of Revelations." The poor boy's eyes were bugging out---but a kid who thrives on daily battles with dragons is on a good level for CC.

I hope that our phoned-in report from the "reading" in Michigan wasn't too incoherent---I did a big bellyflop after my input.

I think the tour stop at the Northwoods Bureau of the ULA was good for the lads.

(The big local indy bookstore was excited about them coming here---but it was trashed from Harrypalooza the previous day so they couldn't host an event. The managers told me they wished they could've done a ULA show instead! I was surprised at such an eager response. But, hey, our message is plain and strong---in the real world the MFA naysayers don't have the impact that they do in the blogosphere. I keep getting good bookstore response---and I look forward to getting the whole ULA book line launched for max impact.)

Here's hoping that our ULAers have a good Pittsburgh reading tonight! It's at a large, high-end indy bookstore.

There are no writers out there today who are more entertaining!

I still think that Wred should bring his guitar and amp to readings---he's great at both! But he said they didn't have room in the car. He's a rockin' reader---literally---it's one of the things that are special about him---and a surprise is what people like. Those two blow them away at readings---what a tame term! When ULAers show up you don't get a "reading." It's a show. Wred and CC bring rock'n'roll and the WWF to their venues...a fresh change of pace!

Here we have a book about hapless rockers and another book about a guy who trashes every taboo---yet they both deliver unexpected uplift, laughs and insight---what a treat! How many system writers out there strike a reader like they're getting a wild gift? We'll keep swinging---one of these days one will go out of the park and the US lit scene won't be the same. Wred's EMUS, I note, is starting to get more extensive reviews in diverse media---all good---like a hot new one in the zeen Razorcake. We may be a ragtag outfit but our momentum is building!


JeffOYB said...

PS: Our guys were able to stop in at our house because they were on the way from the Quimby's gig in Chicago to their Pittsburgh finale...

Patrick @ LitVision said...

We have a page up on the ULA site with audio reports from the Underground Lit America Tour stops, hilarious voicemail left on Frank Walsh's cellphone. Wred holds it all together but I like Crazy Carl's reporting style the best. Take a listen:

Underground Literary America tour page

Sounds like a fun time. Guys: Need some photos from the readings if you have them ready.