Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Healthy Underground

All the contention on Brady's blog (see below) shows me that the literary underground is alive and well-- a ferment of activity, with the emergence of many strong personalities, including Walsh, Pat Simonelli, Pat King, Brady, Potter, and even "Whocanitbenow?" whose identity is no mystery to me. As I disagree with him, as I disagree with Mr. King and Mr. Potter, I'm still glad they checked in.

Brady seems to have gotten more than he bargained for. . . .

NOTHING changes without a leader. The American Revolution was fortunate to have Washington, who if not smart enough was at least big enough to keep everyone in line.

Did the literary rebellion emerge in my head? Not really. I was merely swept up in the zine scene of the 90's, which was called again and again the "Zine Revolution." I guess I took it all seriously.

But-- ideas have to emerge from somewhere. Did the Russian Revolution emerge from Lenin's head? The Mexican Revolution from Zapata's? It didn't make the rebellions any less real or relevant. SOMEONE needs to start the ball rolling. "WHO" in his cynical way is grasping toward some truths which he's unable to see clearly-- mainly, that the literary establishment is manifestly weak. It screams weakness. This may be what I was reacting to when I kicked off the ULA. Opportunity!

Or maybe it's that I love reading-- literature, by extension-- and know it can be much better, but for that to happen we need some housecleaning.

An example of establishment stagnation compared to the noise of the underground lit scene: in N+1 a couple issues ago there was an exchange of letters between two supposed literary heavyweights, James Wood and Jonathan Franzen. Their contention was hardly contentious at all. They were hitting each other with wet handkerchiefs. This is what results when you isolate literature into a bubble. We undergrounders, with our different tactics, are trying to break the bubble and free the art.

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