Friday, February 15, 2008

More Raymond Carver

MALEVOLENT LIT PART I

We in the underground least of all should be blaming the victim when a fellow writer is abused by literary Overdogs. Ray Carver is a tragic figure and deserves our sympathy. He was an ambitious working class writer who was played for a fool; used as the class clown at writing programs then later turned into a Frankenstein monster or freak show attraction.

"Look at him! The Minimalist! Get yer tickets here, folks. Step right up! Behind this curtain, we have for you. . . ."

They tamed and mutilated him, then gave him to the public as if to say, "Here! This is what we can do to a writer."

Carver knew what'd been done to his work, and to him. He'd been psychologically lobotomized, as helpless as Winston Smith at the end of Orwell's masterpiece. Isn't this how so much of Ray Carver's work sounds to the reader? The stories were lobotomized. And so, trendy Overdog writers like Ann Beattie, Susan Minot, and Jay McInerney gloried in them.

It was subtle, what'd been done to Carver, as cruel in its way as any censorship devised by totalitarians. (Maybe because it came from literary totalitarians.) Ray Carver was censored and celebrated; celebrated BECAUSE he'd been censored in some kind of sick inside joke.

WRITERS CAN BE DANGEROUS. They're not wanted by the establishment if they've shown signs of too much independence. We see in the pages of lit journals and New Yorker magazines the domesticated pets of literature. Literature has lost its anarchy, its rebelliousness, and its excitement.

Safe pets all: editors, critics, poets and writers alike. Line them up in a row and that's what you'll find.

It'd always been a mystery to me why Raymond Carver was lauded as a great writer. He was a good one-- his longer stories like "Boxes" were pretty good-- but critically there was a wild overreaction to them. Something else was going on.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a moron.

Anonymous said...

http://timhallbooks.com/wordpress/2008/02/14/not-with-a-bang/

john fitness training austin said...

I don't read too much into(sorry about that pun)whether or not Raymond Carver was appreciated by critics. I have all of Raymond Carver's short story. His short stories stay in my memory for years in a way few other shorts stories do.

FDW said...

Blaming others for what you are responsible for does seem to have it's day in court lately.
People are always foisting up the corpse and claiming look what they did to him or her claiming the dead body proves that their ideas of whatever are valid and claimed by dent of belief in those ideas, when all the stiff does is present the eventuality of death, an end to all those on either side of the Gross Room aisle.
Is Carver tho a tragic heroe then, or a mundane martyr simply put down by your typical cannibals who simply and mechanically do what comes naturally. Ignorant people pulled into opposite directions of the same common denominator?
It occurs to me tho, or so I thought, that what strikes me here and also the info I've derived from reading about the Systems take on those of Carvers unpublished works that his wide based and diverse fans and public want to see for themselves is that they-- the leading cannibals and shysters who serve as editors, agents and overseers in the Plantation called NYC-- have in fact taken them, have taken ownership of them. And will not ever give the people what they want-- to see the naked body of the victim of the fallen man from whom --which these readers felt the spark still came thru despite the translation-- his fans and inspired younger writers derived a feeling of communion wit.
That's supposed to be the point, the rallying cry as Free The Beats was in '06 free our writers' ghosts. Self determintion or Death?

King said...

FYI: I read the Tim Hall post. Very sad. He doesn't say who "Chilly Charlie" was, and gives not one speck of an argument that I had anything to do with it-- which I didn't. I've frankly been busy enough the last couple years.
I've tried to ignore TH during that time-- and wish to continue to do so.. The fact is that he's been acting like a crazed stalker, posting attack after attack against myself on-line.
Sorry, Tim, but I don't operate through fake identities and never have. I consider anonymous posters the bane of the Internet. I've struggled with them here.
What your gripe with me is remains unknown. During your very brief stay in the ULA we got along well enough. Where the axe you've been grinding came from, the reasons behind it, remain unknown.
Was I not successful ENOUGH with the ULA? I'll grant that. I've taken full responsibility for everything that went on in the outfit.
To not acknowledge the many successes we had, against impossible odds, is to remain ignorant. The noise I made for the cause of underground writers is easily enough documented.
The backbiting I received from members was hypocritical at best.
Such as: I didn't do ENOUGH for Jack Saunders when he came to Philly for a show-- according to one sniper who of course did nothing for Jack himself.
(One of the things which pissed you off, Mr. Hall, during that period, if I recall, was the work I was doing for Jack's book, which you thought would detract from your own project. I was in a no-win situation, expected to do everything for everyone.)
Now, however, that's over. Yes, I'm on my own, and am responsible only for my own progress.
Goodbye and good luck.