Tuesday, May 13, 2008


ONE of the favorite tactics of the literary establishment and its advocates is to intentionally turn reality on its head. Or maybe they really believe I'm this powerful onrushing force liable to put all of them out of their jobs. And so the radio commentator last year assumes "eternal outsider" myself will somehow exclude literary darling Jeffrey Eugenides, who by the way continues scoring huge advances while I score sandwiches meant for the homeless. Or editor Aaron Hicklin takes an unnecessary shot at me in the Foreword to the Black Book anthology. I may be a lone nut on the sidewalk but they're eager to knock down my stand and throw me into the street! (Exactly what happened to me, incidentally, when I was with a few other writers outside the New York Times last year.)

The latest demi-puppet to wade into battle on this blog talks about tiny deviations from my 'program." Program? My program is more an anti-program. Even if I had a "program," I have no power to implement it. I have no power whatsoever. Remember, I'm the guy on the sidewalk who was futilely standing with my underground brothers outside huge entities like the Conde-Nast building.

The workers inside must get panicked by a mouse. "There they are! Look out the window. Those dots far below. It's them! Those grubby undergrounders. They don't tolerate the dissent that we in this billion-dollar skyscraper represent. They're trying to impose their Program, on us! Do something! Security! Police! Help us!"

(Would that the underground had a program.)

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