AMAZING to me is the societal blindness of those who've been posting on this blog-- society's approved writers. They're proving they don't understand their own country. They can't even see it! This alone disqualifies them from their self-designation as the nation's best writers.
Visualize a pyramid. Socially and economically, that's what America is. Its structure is not all that different from ancient Rome or ancient Egypt. In many ways it's becoming an artfully masked slave-ocracy.
From what part of the pyramid comes William Vollmann? I believe both his parents were university professors, in Cali, which means he comes socio-economically from the top 5% of the pyramid, albeit near the bottom of that 5%. (He's from the top 1% intellectual class. Maybe you think this makes no difference; or maybe you realize, as I do, that his outlook on the world, BBC-liberal though it may be, is vastly different from, say, a Noah Cicero's, native of collapsing Youngstown, Ohio.)
Also from near the bottom of the top 5% is Francine Prose, whose parents were physicians. Ms. Prose portrays herself as a college dropout. When did she drop out? In the middle of her Phd program!
Are we beginning to see the unreality of today's literary class?
We may as well detach that top 5% peak, and set it alongside the real pyramid, because for the cliquesters of literature like Eugenides, Beattie, Hempel, Jorie Graham, Miranda July and Company that smaller pyramid is all there is. The other is out of their viewpoint. In that other, even the ULA comes from nowhere the bottom. More like halfway to two-thirds down, because beneath are the millions and millions of underclass; most who are people of color; from the millions in our nation's jails and prisons to black inner city dwellers to the more recently arrived twenty million illegals, who are here to serve, in some way or other, the Overclass-- those in the much smaller pyramid we've placed alongside, on the ground.
When I use the word "Overdog," it's an accurate designation.
What made the ULA hyper-- at least me-- was the realization that we were falling within the main pyramid. Falling, falling. Falling! I've arrived back in Detroit to see that, yes, this city and other cities of the industrial heartland are still in freefall.
But let's go back to the mini-pyramid, of the top 5%. Do you hear the chattering? Enclosed in there is the nation's intellectual class, almost in its entirety. Their premises, their perspectives, seldom go beyond their own little world. When they do look at the larger pyramid, it's from a great height.
Within the mini-pyramid circulates virtually all of literature's largesse; from large advances to grant money. You know what? For them, this is okay! Never mind that this money comes in large part, or is sustained by, taxes or monies paid by those in the larger entity. No matter! To the top 5% there is aristocratic entitlement. On this they thrive.
Sure, there are writers who make it from the larger pyramid into the smaller, elite one. Those like Ray Carver. What price do they pay?
I've been saying on my blogs that we need to free literature from the dominance of the top 5%; to bring it out of the mini-pyramid. Maybe I'm also saying that we need to dismantle the pyramids.