I've used the term demi-puppets since this blog began to designate servants of the Overdogs and defenders of the status quo-- opponents to the literary rebellion who aren't Overdogs themselves. Demi-puppets have been the most vociferous critics of the rebellion which began more than seven years ago.
Have the demi-puppets acted against their own interest?
Many haven't-- if it's in their interest to work long hours in a hyper-expensive city in order to be part of the established publishing game. A great many demji-puppets are the foot soldiers and worker bees of the literary System as it exists today. This includes not just editors, agents, readers, et.al., but all the many English and Creative Writing lecturers and professors in universities around the country. Not all are chaired tenured profs like our disingenuous friend Phillip Lopate, who portrayed himself, with some exaggeration, as living in a dirt-floor hovel with countless mouths to feed. Many in the academy ARE barely getting by financially.
Another layer are those of literary bent who reside in the nation's newspapers; arts journalists and book reviewers; a vanishing breed.
The remainder of the demi-puppets could be called the lumpen literati: unpublished and underpublished writers, unemployed academics, and the like. Many lit-bloggers are in this category.
As the authentic underground which began rebellion may not be able to overturn the ancien regime on its own, the question is to what extent the rebellion can draw from demi-puppet ranks.
When it has, results haven't been promising. Boozhie writers who weren't true undergrounders were the quickest to betray the rebellion at every apparent stall or setback. But any gain they obtained from the betrayal has been illusory.
Many demi-puppets are getting little or no benefit from the current system, so their loyalty to it is perplexing. In many cases they're better writers and more intelligent readers than the well-connected aristocratic fops who inhabit the approved literary stage. It would serve their interest not to approve the System, or meekly comply with it, but oppose it. That would require from them artistic daring and imagination.
A rebellious demi-puppet is an oxymoron. The person will have to become no longer a demi-puppet. This will entail a new state of mind; a mind not of subservience and conformity, but independence, boldness, and freedom. It will require a passion for trailblazing, a love of the unpredictable, and an eagerness to make literary history.