Monday, December 31, 2007

Literary Rebellion 2008

NEW LITERATURE like all new art can't be confined to institutions. The literary revolution underway is greater than conglomerates or MFA programs. Only by breaking out of the current system can one see literature for what it truly is: a great moving transcendent art.

Those inside the system are blind to what's happening. Their institutional walls mirror the aesthetic walls erected around their brains.

Can one live inside the walls and understand what happens outside them?

Can living art be catalogued and confined, quantified and put into a box?

One can't be revolutionary, an advocate of new literature, without breaking from the institutional walls of the old. Non-criticism of the status quo means you still are one with that status quo. You haven't broken with the present and so are unable to build a new future. Instead you're co-opted, subsumed, consumed by what is now-- the rigidly dead and decaying corpse of literature now. You're one with a corpse.

The Underground Literary Alliance is a vehicle for that which is literary and revolutionary. Nothing more.

To break with the present and become part of the new world of literature means embracing the historical break that has taken place-- a break in time, visible, which occurred on October 8, 2000; the onset of literary rebellion, of an upturned and renewed literary world.

The literary revolution can't be destroyed. It's an idea, an energy-- not a building or one person or group of persons. The flag has been planted. The break recorded. The call for new literature documented.

If the vehicle of the movement stalls and crashes, the movement continues anyway.

If the members of the cause are betrayed, or betray their own cause, yet the movement continues anyway.

The basis of the new movement is truth, honesty, integrity, independence, cooperation, commitment, desire for change and unflinching FEARLESSNESS in implementing that change in pursuit of revived literature-- literature not of dead words and borrowed postures but living art.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas?

REMEMBER the homeless person in the wheelchair I wrote about a couple months ago?

This morning I was walking through the burned-out outskirts of downtown Detroit on a bitterly cold day-- bitterly cold-- when I saw said person in wheelchair vanish inside a niche of an abandoned building; seeking shelter from the relentless wind. A quickly-moving bundled figure in a chair. There are parts of Detroit that would move Charles Dickens to tears of frustration for exceeding in tragedy anything he depicted.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Essay Awaited

Next up from the McSweeney's Gang: An apologia for record-setting baseball player Roger Clemens saying he may not actually be lying about his steroid use-- where's the definitive proof?-- and it's excusable anyway because everyone else is doing it! Success is All.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ten Landmark Movies

Here's my list, in historical order, of ten movies which came with the "shock of the new"; whose impact was greater than we can experience today. They redefined the art of film in this country-- for good or ill.

1.) The Great Train Robbery.
2.) Birth of a Nation.
3.) The Jazz Singer.
4.) Citizen Kane.
5.) The Robe.
6.) Psycho.
7.) Goldfinger.
8.) Bonnie and Clyde.
9.) Star Wars.
10.) Pulp Fiction.

This is a prelude to my next movie list, which will be less obvious and will come with explanations: The Ten Best Movies of All Time.

Movies: "The Godfather"

Remember the plot?

The Don won't compromise his principles. The other families are angry and put a hit on him, while trying to destroy his organization from within. Betrayals are common.

It's almost a history of the Underground Literary Alliance.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Open Mic

I checked out a decent open mic last night at a place called Beaner's on Woodward in Royal Oak, about five miles from Detroit. A report upcoming next week on my new Detroit blog.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I've stepped down as Publicity Director of the ULA until further notice. I'll not give my labor for free to those who'll betray it.

I remain as a Supporting Member, as I support the ULA mission, the web site and most of the current membership, the Philly branch particularly.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Coup Plotter #2:
He's a "can't we all just get along" kind of person, and presumably blames me for the dissension we've had in the team, people who've left, and so on. He doesn't realize that people leaving happens in any organization. I've seen more people come and leave in my present job than in seven years of the ULA. Conflicts will happen-- especially in an outfit whose mission is rebellion.

I've had time to think about the question of leadership-- when a leader is necessary. I've sought the ULA to have role models, not leaders.

Without leaders a group can operate ONLY in the spirit of cooperation-- which is not how Coup Plotter #1 has been operating.

Every revolution in history has had leaders-- which may mean in the final analysis nothing more than someone there to take the heat, which has been my role in my seven years as unofficial leader of the ULA. Someone out front to receive the inevitable brickbats. During this period I've tried several times to push someone else to the forefront. There were never any takers. It takes a certain kind of personality to take the responsibility and take the heat. A revolt-- even a literary revolt-- is going to generate heat. In many ways that's the point.

Have I riled people? Many many people. I have enemies all over the place. It comes with the territory-- with daring to make real change.

Revolutions have tried to move without leaders, or a series of leaders. The French Revolution failed because it had no overarching unifying force like a George Washington. Men like Danton and Robespierre took their turns but were swept aside by the conflicts and heat, the madness of those who could not keep their heads while making change and so lost them literally.

What dilemmas did someone like Robespierre face? He started as a man of peace and of utter integrity, then faced a choice between losing the revolution or compromising his ideals as the Revolution was assaulted from all sides; betrayed from within and attacked from outside. Easy enough for us to sneer at him from the outside, through the pages of history books, without understanding the choices he faced.

The same can probably be said for Castro in our own time. Yes, he's a monster, a ruthless dictator; hardly a saint. He's imprisoned many people. Why? Attacked from without and within-- he could either act or lose the revolution, what he'd created. One can agree or disagree with his cause but at the same time recognize that the moment he caves in to the U.S. and the monopolies that experiment is over. It will be dismantled, piece by piece, becoming swiftly enough what it was before he came on the scene-- a Disney amusement park for the corrupt and the monied.

I'm trying to prevent the ULA from being co-opted and destroyed. . . .

What kind of ULA will remain if the coup plotters succeed?

There will be no leaders, certainly; not a trace of a leader. no decision making. No actions done which create any waves. It will separate into fiefdoms feeding on the remains of the ULA's reputation. There will be no one to generate-- or take-- any heat, and so it will stagnate into just one more on-line place for conversation and back-slapping, while the two coup plotters recede safely into the background, satisfied there is no longer any noise.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Coup

I knew it was coming, in some ways willed it to happen.

I had left Philadelphia to give the campaign and myself some breathing space-- to lower the ULA's profile and give us a chance to regroup.

Remember what happened? The opposite of what I'd expected. Interest in this rebellion from our rivals and enemies suddenly went up. They smelled weakness and blood. I was attacked on "Gawker," of all places, and by others on this blog, the first visible interest in it in months. I played with this. I was experiencing real personal difficulties after my move. I wrote about them here, as readers know. I decided, "Let the sharks come out, from outside and within. Let them reveal themselves." The ULA seemed up for grabs.

In fact I've received many e-mails from likely and unlikely sources. From the ever-egregious Ed Rants, a System stooge through-and-through, urging me to quit the battle. From a McSweeneyite contact back east trying to find out where I was, what I was up to, and when I'd be back. Even from a prominent magazine editor in New York, friend of one of our major foes, prodding the apparently-dead corpse.

A maneuver was coming-- I only needed to wait for it.

(Next: The WHY of the matter.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Apparently a coup of sorts has taken place within the ULA, which has left me with no say in the organization I created. Consider me under internal "house arrest" at the present time. (Whether I can reverse this remains to be seen.)

In the meantime I'll be practicing my spoken word presentation-- instead of always winging things-- in preparation for becoming a solo act!

Monday, December 03, 2007


This is how I feel:

As if we've defeated over the years a series of the world's most evil and clownish villians-- the Joker, the Penguin, Doc Octopus, the Mummy, etc.-- and suddenly the entire group of them is brought back at once in front of our eyes.

Or, picture a line-up of eight jack-in-the-boxes popping up at once at the same point in the ridiculous music, all with the same painted-on idiotic grin.

Those to whom this refers will know what I'm talking about. Pardon me if I try to put you back in your boxes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

ULA Opportunities

2008 will be a good year for the ULA because the entire game board is open to us. Right now, Chicago is an open city-- a huge prize without the obstacles we've faced in the east. We have a base of sorts in Chicago-- a few great members; a couple media contacts-- but we need to strengthen it. I'm well-positioned in Detroit to access both Cleveland (a ULA base) and the jewel waiting to be taken that is Chicago. This I'll be doing.
(p.s. There's a great "ULA Monday Report" by Chicago-area writer Adam Hardin at Check it out.)