Monday, June 02, 2008

My Response

Patricians vs. Plebians Cont.

BLOODBATHS
The Overdogs have called their posts here a "bloodbath." They've stormed onto this blog while simultaneously a Petition blog I attempted to set up has been frozen. The sound you hear in the background is the patricians high-fiving themselves at the mansion.

Their actions work on several levels. The millionaires need to justify themselves to themselves. They need to defuse my arguments. They hope to discourage me or shut me up. Part of their thinking is to use me as example; as warning to other underground writers who might be tempted to call them on their machinations. The dissenter strung up.

What they really show is the reactionary mindset behind this country's literary aristocracy centered in New York. They control enough key intellectual centers of the literary apparatus, like PEN, to keep their influence dominant. As PEN's President they have Francine Prose, who in terms of theory and aesthetics is one of the more reactionary literary critics in America.

More pernicious is the Overdog being heard from on this blog, to whom everything is fine because for HIS sterling person everything is fine. To him the Beat movement lives, though its current practicioners are nowhere published, because he's met a few aging Beat stars in their last years and feels qualified, from his high station, to speak on the movement. HE decides if status quo lit is okay, and has decreed it is. To him there is an alternative in literature because his kind helped create that alternative, and stocked it with fellow aristocrats like William Vollmann. How intolerable then to witness the arrival of a real, organic opposition. How necessary to stamp it out.

PROPAGANDA
The posts here from Overdogs and their demi-puppets are as much propaganda as the Susan Nagel book about the daughter of Marie Antoinette. The point of view is the same: the poor aristos in their Versailles palace being picked on. Woe is us! You resentful beggar. How dare you mention our eleven hundred horses!

Compare them. The similarity is obvious.

MY CRIMES
Conditions set for the aristocrats to be involved with their token tax-deductible programs to help people: that they be accepted as the great and generous liberal benefactors they imagine themselves to be. Watch them parade themselves at their black-tie "charitable" events while the bulk of money goes into their own pockets. If someone dares call these folks the a--holes they are in reality, the aristos are outraged.

What are my crimes?
1.) I've thrown a spotlight onto plutocrat writers robbing the grants process.
2.) I and my friends have enlivened a few staid establishment readings, waking up audiences at the kind of moribund lethargically dead presentations that have killed literature's audience.
3.) I've refused to kow-tow to rich Overdog societal parasites deluded into believing they're talented, so used to everything going their way they can't tolerate any criticism.
4.) I didn't get weepy (but hardly celebrated) when a much-awarded lit-Insider bureaucratic politician poet with absolutely NO talent-- none discernible whatsoever; example of everything wrong with System literature now-- kicked off.

Am I supposed to apologize? To who? The rich a--holes who've been coming onto my blog? I've worked enough shitty jobs in my life serving the plutocrats to know these are the most selfish most villainous most egregiously mendacious collection of mindlessly self-important jerks who've ever lived. Go choke on your hors d'ouevres and be happy there's not real revolution in this country, as will no doubt occur should current trends continue. I'm merely ahead of the curve.

RE CRIME #2
The Howl Protest was a good example. Those of us who stepped into the hall all agreed the atmosphere was that of a morgue. You had an audience of sleepy gentry and on stage were six or seven wax dummies in chairs. We woke one or two of them up. I guess at some point we offended blustery Lopate, outraged and outrageously lying about how tough it is to make ends meet on his six-figure tenured chair position. (Though compared to some other writers, maybe he could be considered "poor.")

Know what I thought sitting there? I thought, "Is this the best literature has to offer?" This tepid celebration of Ginsberg that had nothing celebratory about it? The celebrating and the real writers were outside! On the sidewalk.

The onstage folks write for museums. Their pretentiously wordy concoctions, despite a massive billion-dollar apparatus behind them, touch no one. Soulless artifacts. Lifeless furniture, indistinguishable from the chairs they sat on; Lopate a chair in more ways than one; his carefully-crafted Polonious essays as square and as wooden as a chair. Dead purveyors of a dead art. You should be glad we awoke you, you demi-puppets.

"TROUBLED"
The dissenter being called disturbed or troubled reeks of the Soviet Union, where anyone who opposed the monolith had to be insane, by definition. I love that word, "troubled." The fact is I'm enjoying myself with this campaign-- hearing the dragon's death throes. I suspect some people in high literary places are "troubled" I'm conducting it.

I've alienated a narrow claque of trust-funders and their flunkies who don't give a shit anyway about anyone outside their greedy circle. They've got theirs and to hell with anyone else. What's to lose? The good opinion of Hiram, Francine, and Phillip? I never had it!

CONTEXT
Meanwhile, the workforce in industries like automobiles and steel is a fraction of what it was thirty years ago; part of a huge nationwide shakeout in which wages have plummeted while cost of living goes up. Good-paying jobs for two-thirds of America have vanished. We've seen a massive wealth transfer from poor to rich. The great untold story of America is the economic destruction of an entire class of people. Who's writing about this? Instead, literary Overdogs erect thicker walls to keep the rest of America out.

UNFAIRNESS
Have I been unfair on occasion in my arguments and outrageous in my actions? Against a house deck of cards stacked against me and my kind 1,000 to one? Yes! I look for every opening and any advantage. But I also give opponents the opportunity to speak which they'd never grant me.
Funny how those who grab power in every form, so they control all the rules and every aspect of the game, and run up countless points on the scoreboard for themselves before the whistle's even blown, then ask us to "play fair." While on the football field they oppose out tiny clown car with a steamroller. "You're not playing by our rules!" they yell. No shit. I'm going to take your rules and your phony liberal poses of niceness and virtue; the smiling masks you wear hiding your Dorian Gray faces and decaying villainous hearts; and hit you over the head with them.

THE VILLAIN AS SYMBOL
Have I turned one of our rich foes, the ULA's first target, into a symbol; poster boy for our cause? I'd say he's turned himself into that symbol by remaining at the center of the apparatus which must be democratized before literature can move forward. He failed to take his own advice to "just write."

THE NADIR
The absolute nadir for contemporary American literature was the National Book Award a few years back handed to a ridiculously bad novel about letters to Peru or such by wealthy blueblood author Lily Tuck.

Bullshit scribblings from a dilettante's bullshit life. Diary entries from a debutante. The National Book Award-- representative of the best America has to offer-- given to a narrow sideshow of a glimpse of a narrow segment of society's narrow outlook. Who made this award-- to what purpose? Was the book the sound of America-- of its farms, factories, roads, docks, offices; throbbing hatreds and raging loves; of our massive, vast, mad and madly beautiful country? Uh, no.

ON BEING HECKLED
Someone said I've never been heckled. I have. At open mics and at the ULA's own events-- have asked for it and welcomed it; have loved the interchange, the opportunity to show, "This art form is not dead."

THE JOY OF REBELLION
When Allen Ginsberg spoke of throwing potato salad, he was speaking to future generations. First, to us. He was affirming the necessity of dissent in literature-- dissent not frozen at 1958 in the Beat heyday as the Villains and Overdogs of literature would have it. Dissent ongoing, perpetual, for all time; the kind of unyielding artistic dissent which is the only thing which keeps any art form alive. Print out this rant and tape it to your walls as reminder that it's the artist's JOB to dissent-- to dissent first against power, privilege, complacency, falsehood, and unearned arrogance, which is all I've been doing. "My family! the black-hearted villain cries when caught in the spotlight. He means, "My station. My inheritance. My caste. My legacy of leverage and largesse in this society which I've drawn on again and again." He means the plutocratic nature of America itself.

Who's the oppressor and who the oppressed? The Rebellion's targets have been the most connected writers around, privileged of the privileged, scions of affluence tied to literary power centers which control hype, money, and influence. Targeted have been the roadblocks to independent writers, and barriers to the writer's independence. Aristocrats from their palaces would have us believe opportunity is equal for all, and those not allowed into the show simply aren't good enough. "Jeeves, fill out that Guggenheim application, could you?"It's a sign of their refusal to change, to alter the ways and means of literature to the slightest extent.

If the System refuses to allow outside voices into literature's argument, then backwardness and evil will have won. As the bureaucracies and monied manipulators extend their control even over organizations dedicated to the small press (see CLMP) or to dissent (see PEN), this tightening of artistic control and lethargy must be balanced, if the art is to remain relevant, connected to the nation-at-large. Remember, I came to this subject as a reader, one unsatisfied with what the literary machine was handing us-- well-edited beaten-down "dirty realism" or the continuous posing of rich kids. I believed we as a civilization could do better. I don't care if I'm "published." What does that matter to me? That's never been my goal. If I can knock over roadblocks to other writers, I'll have done enough.

A harpoon has gone into the white whale of corruption. The screaming you hear is the result. For a static art, this is nothing but a positive.

The literary Rebellion which reached a peak through the actions of the ULA has been a joyful rebellion. Its actions have been among the most thrilling in literary history-- actions of boldness and exuberance against the decay of the art form. Actions which have woken the slumbering mummies. Amazing events. Read the history. It's there as a potato salad example for everyone.

38 comments:

King said...

Sorry, "John," but I'm running out of patience at the double standards of the ghosts. Free up my blog and I'll be more indulgent.
There's only one problem for the underground: lack of resources; i.e., money. It's amazing we've done as well as we have, given a total lack of a budget competing against large conglomerates.
The main zeensters have shown they sell their issues when people know about them; when the word gets out.
When we did get attention, in August 2003, and had the ULA zeen at Tower Records, the issue jumped off the shelves.
Yes, a seat at the table, to start leveling the playing field. Absolutely!
I don't see the Overdogs turning down their positions and their grants and their leverage.
You're posting here for one reason-- as an apologist for the literary establishment.
You're saying, in effect, everything is okay. You're well pleased with the status of the conglomerates, of the wealthy, and with what's being handed us as American literature.
I'm not! Get used to it.
There's more to say; a lot more corruption to expose.

Anonymous said...

Hands up, everyone who thinks King has officially gone mad?

John said...

Talk about double standards, King. The champion of free speech, speaking out against the underground being silenced: here you are deleting my post. And it's obvious, since you're now responding to a post no one else can read.

It's because I made good points that you can't afford others to see. But deleting posts just makes you out to be the totalitarian. Yeah, it's your blog, you can do as you please, but it undermines your whole message. You say you welcome opposition, yet then you delete. What are you afraid of King?

John said...

The King is running scared, now. First he just made a lot of repetitive posts to get the comments off the first page, now he just deletes them.

You are the biggest hypocrite. No wonder the ULA, a group you helped start, got tired of you.

John said...

Oh, and I'm surprised you hate anonymous posting so much. It's just guerilla warfare, a staple of revolutionary tactics. I guess you're just one of the old dogs, standing in a line, muskets raised.

John said...

Lastly, I hardly think it's a double standard to question why you don't promote new authors and their works more rather than complain on blogs.

The literary establishment at least creates new works and reviews them. You can argue that it's corrupt, but at least they have something to talk about and be critiqued on.

Anonymous said...

Nobody's accusing you of "crimes." Commenters disagree with you. That's life.

You make the following points:

1.) I've thrown a spotlight onto plutocrat writers robbing the grants process.

>Your conclusion, as far as I can tell, is that Rick Moody should be living off his family's money rather than applying for grants, which you see as mere tax shelters anyway and therefore either shouldn't exist or should be awarded on need. Well, that's your opinion. It's not that of Guggenheims. There's nothing "shady" about what they do. They award grants based on merit, not on need, and they think Rick Moody has merit. Obviously you disagree, though it seems to me that if he were as poor as a churchmouse you still think he shouldn't get a grant because you don't like his writing, and you don't think any other mainstream writers should get grants either, so basically you think that the Guggenheim foundation should either give awards according to your opinions or disband. Others disagree and feel that the Guggenheim can do what it wants with its money.


2.) I and my friends have enlivened a few staid establishment readings, waking up audiences at the kind of moribund lethargically dead presentations that have killed literature's audience.

>Judging from your own descriptions of your actions, the audiences haven't been enlivened; they've been annoyed. Annoying audiences is rude. I know you don't care about rudeness, but some people do. Some people like to sit quietly and listen to writers who they've bought a ticket to see. In other words, they disagree.

3.) I've refused to kow-tow to rich Overdog societal parasites deluded into believing they're talented, so used to everything going their way they can't tolerate any criticism.

>Mainstream writers have demanded nothing of you, least of all that you kow-tow. Nobody "demands" that you appreciate Jonathan Franzen. And nobody has done anything when you've criticized such writers, except disagree.

4.) I didn't get weepy (but hardly celebrated) when a much-awarded lit-Insider bureaucratic politician poet with absolutely NO talent-- none discernible whatsoever; example of everything wrong with System literature now-- kicked off.

>Again, others disagree. I didn't know Shinder and his work, but a poet who was a beloved teacher and who had a readership who appreciated him doesn't seem like a crime against literature. OK, you didn't like his work. And OK, you find the entire MFA system offensive. But others...wait for it...disagree.

Harland said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Hemmingson said...

I don't understand why you call William Vollmann an "atritrocrat" writer. he is far from it, and he does not hang out with the aristrocrat literary crowd -- believe nme, I know -- I co-edited EXPELLED FROM EDEN - A WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN READER (Thunder's Mouth) and have just turned in a critical book on Volmann to McFarland.

I do agree with you on the grants -- there are people who apply for and get NEA grants who do not need the money; they want it for the prestige and to say they got it; but I know of a few who got an NEA who have cushy $80K a year teaching jobs and/or personal money; I have a problem with these writers who are taking a grant from some poor writer living in an SRO who could have used it more.

Michael Hemmingson said...

Aristocrat even...have to stop typing in the dark...

King said...

Oops! Sorry, Rick. I seem to have hit the wrong button.
Most of your points are nonsense-- sorry if this sounds unsubtle-- but it's true. You just don't see the world as it exists around you.
No apparatus? No class system? No inequities of access?
Yes, as you admit and have admitted, you've been dissembling here. How can we trust anything you tell us? We can't. You have an obvious agenda-- are as one-sided on your part as, yes, I am on mine. At least I admit what side I'm on.
How do I know you're Rick Moody?
Who else would spend so many hours, and thousands of words assiduously defending the guy? A good friend; a paid hireling; or himself.
Also, there was the post a while back when you slipped into the first person when referring to Moody. But for me the giveaway was when you were demanding, in a fake "underground" voice, to see my fiction. Compare these posts to Moody's egregious intro to the Soft Skull CLMP book, when he affected an underground voice, and the similarities are plain-- the blatant insincerity most of all.
(Egregious because Moody sought to speak for outsider writers with whom he has nothing in common. How many of the writers picking up that book are published or will ever be published by the conglomerates, with large advances, ad budgets, et.al.? Deceit, or utter cluelessnes on his/your part.)
The focus here has been on myself-- this is the tactic to deflect questions about literature and how it's produced. But who am I that anyone care what I'm doing? The important questions go in the other direction. So I'll ask some.
1.) Tell us about the "plan of work" you filed, Rick, for the Guggenheim. Was that fiction and dissembling also?
2.) Do you truly believe that all these black-tie dinners with $1,000 tickets is the image American literature wants to send to the world, and to its own populace? How is this in any way "democratic"? Doesn't it reek of the aristocratic mindset I talk about?
3.) Is there not an unquestioning greediness about a certain coterie of affluent writer and editor, like yourself? Yours is not the only incident, by any means. Probably the worst was Jean Stein, publisher of Grand Street, receiving NEA grants in the early 90's. Jean Stein is a billionaire. When I wrote the NEA's Jane Alexander at the time about the matter, for my newsletter, she replied with statements to the effect that "Perceived need or lack thereof is not a criterion for blah blah.") Which results in the richest, most privileged folks in America receiving scarce grant money. Does that trouble you in the slightest?

King said...

Re John: Such tactics, when used against dissent, aren't "guerrilla" actions, but counter-insurgency. CIA death squads in Guatemala, if you will.
Keep turning reality on its head. People are "disagreeing" with me? Well, yeah. But you're looking at this upside down. It's more that I'm disagreeing with them; with a blind unanimity of opinion.
Is there anyone besides me strongly disagreeing with the way the literary system is run? Not many! It's a monolith of unquestioning people-- pods!-- mindlessly following the same-old same-old. I'm disagreeing with that.
That you spend so much time trying to counteract a lone dissenter says a lot.
(You might want to stop standing on your head.)
p.s. The Richette review is now up. Will you read the book, demi-puppet??

King said...

p.s. I'm but mad North by Northwest.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty shitty and cowardly to delete Harland's post, especially when to any non-crazy observer he clearly bested you in terms of rhetoric, logic, sense of humor, sharpness, and everything else. Isn't Moody the third of fourth person you've accused him of being? And why would Moody, now, after eight years, stoop to defend himself on one of your 4,000 blogs? King, get a hold of yourself.

Harland said...

Freedom of speech, as long as it's what the King wants to hear. Just the man to lead us. Clearly his skin is thinnest where it's closest to the bone. Now, maybe you can go and delete all my other comments and your posts can look like the way they always have, like those of a borderline paranoiac, ranting alone.

See ya, King.

Anonymous said...

(Prediction: in a few days, a posting here on how King took on all challengers and beat them. Then, lots of postings to clear the page. A few months later, yet another provocation, with one or two suckers lured into trying to argue with him rationally. Then, wild accusations from the King about these people, who will gradually realize they're arguing with a lunatic, get bored, and take off just as King is cornered and deleting comments. Repeat and fade.)

Anonymous said...

(Prediction: in a few days, a posting here on how King took on all challengers and beat them. Then, lots of postings to clear the page. A few months later, yet another provocation, with one or two suckers lured into trying to argue with him rationally. Then, wild accusations from the King about these people, who will gradually realize they're arguing with a lunatic, get bored, and take off just as King is cornered and deleting comments. Repeat and fade.)

John said...

He deleted one of my posts too and didn't respond when I called him out on it. Typical "King".

Anonymous said...

King is a fucking liar, or stupid, or both. Harland again and again granted several of King's points, and did so very eloquently and cogently. He then tore the core of King's secondary arguments to shreds. King can't seem to understand that he can somewhat correct (maybe let's not go nuts: correctish, correctoid) in his criticisms and be completely wrong on how to proceed. Imagine taking King hunting, and seeing a bear. The bear begins chasing you. "My," King says, running beside you, "a bear is chasing us!" "Yes," you reply, looking back with worry. Then King says, "Let's stop and throw pine cones at its face until it stops!"

The point: Just because you recognize bear does not mean your idea for escaping it is right. Harland saw the and bear, acknowledged it, and came up with many thoughts about it, and King now lies through his stinking teeth and denies this. Disgusting, and depressing, which for this blog is saying something.

Anonymous said...

Harland, I hope you saved that post. You should open a blogspot and put it up, because it was one for the ages.

Harland said...

Anonny: maybe I will. In the meantime:

King, you ought to accept that people who disagree with you aren’t necessarily either plutocrats or demi-puppets. I realize that people fall into one of three categories for you -- undergrounder, dupe, or overdog -- so I’m willing to concede that such acceptance on your part is probably impossible. If you’re going to persist, though, in this line of attack, may I suggest that you refine your top hat-and-monocle imagery?

Probably more difficult for you would be to shed your conceit that people are afraid of you and the threat to literature that you represent. Frankly I’m a lot more afraid of the corporatization of literature than I am of you, and -- since I actually do earn a chunk of my living from my writing -- I’m probably more afraid of that corporatization than you are. But of course by your peculiar lights, a writer who earns money through publication is ipso facto a plutocratic overdog insider. Right? If I publish I’m an insider, if I live in New York I’m an insider, if I like certain books I’m an insider, if I deviate even minutely from the -- well, I can’t call them “positions” since they’re not nearly coherent enough -- opinions you express I’m an insider. Or substitute any pejorative of your choice.

Nobody’s stormed onto the blog. You write a deliberately provocative blog, don’t you? You’re a provocateur, right? And you enable comments. You want to write unquestioned polemics, turn them off. Maybe once in a while some other blogger will link to a post of yours, but for the most part you’ll be able to thrive in the solitary paradise of your self-righteousness. You really feel this is an attempt to “silence” you? Just turn them off, King. I won’t care. I’m about done having fun here anyway.

I remain amused by your sense of the “literary apparatus,” as if you were some sort of rogue aircraft designer awaiting FAA clearance to use an airstrip to test your revolutionary plane. You hate the apparatus yet you seem to think you require its imprimatur in order to be freed to create “literature.” Why not stop leaning on Ginsberg’s name like a crutch and consider for a moment whether he gave a moment’s thought to “the literary apparatus,” whether the Beats you revere (without the slightest understanding of their work) ever considered Mark Van Doren or Ian Watt the way you obsess over Philip Lopate. Philip Lopate! As ridiculous as selecting Moody; his “influence” is strictly NPR-grade. The apparatus isn’t shutting you out of anything you (specifically you) should have the remotest interest in joining.

I wish that I could defend my own conduct on this blog, King, but to be perfectly frank with you I have conflicting motives for being here. I would like to assure you, although you won’t believe it, that I have never once here appeared as a representative, in an official (since you seem to think there are designated agents assigned to do these things) capacity or otherwise, of the “establishment.” I have not always been here in good faith; that is to say that I have on occasion attempted -- sometimes successfully, sometimes not -- to provoke you into responding intemperately. This has less to do with attempting to discredit you (particularly since I do not recognize you as having any authority whatsoever, either as a leader of some sort of identifiable literary underground, as a defender of innovative literary art, as a critic of American class politics, or as a person evincing the ability to analyze and critique writing) than it has with the fascination you hold for me -- your self-perceived mission, your unwavering focus, and the vast blind spots that surround it. I would apologize for the bad faith appearances here -- in fact, consider this an apology -- but I doubt we’d agree on which of those comments I posted actually constituted bad faith. My understanding of your view is that my every utterance is self-impugning, although even you would certainly agree that this view is based on a conception of who I am that I have assured you is completely inaccurate. Whether you choose to disbelieve my assurances is your business, but it wouldn’t do you any harm to consider that some people who disagree with you are neither rich, fabulously successful, or born with silver spoons in their mouths.

Of course, it wouldn’t do for you to consider subtlety or nuance. Which is where the *good faith* appearances I’ve made here come into play; because on occasion I’ve been obstinate enough to feel as if you might benefit from sympathetic disagreement and criticism. To you, though, it’s all of a piece. Pity. I hate to write you off I but when you start growling about what’ll happen to people like me when the real revolution comes your true colors shine like a toxic aura around you. The only “revolution” brought to mind by the idea of assassinating anyone found with a copy of “The Art of the Personal Essay” is that of the Khmer Rouge.

It’s true that the dissenter is often accused of mental illness. Even Howard Dean was accused of instability when he threatened the Kerry campaign. It’s a morally bankrupt and cowardly tactic. But, King, the shoe fits. I’m sorry. You’re monomaniacal, you’re inordinately resistant to any attempts to even gently reflect reality back at you, you view even mild disagreement as the equivalent of complete betrayal, you see all people who disagree with you as belonging to an organized conspiracy against you, you see yourself as unjustly persecuted, you have grandiose ideas about your own significance, and you tend to focus -- disturbingly -- on individual persons who seem to you wholly to blame for certain systemic or institutional “wrongs.” That’s you, King. It’s not just this particular spate of postings and comments. It goes way back. I read into your archives. I’m not the first person to come here and say, “Yes, but -- “ and then stand accused of crimes againsts humanity.

“The literary Rebellion which reached a peak through the actions of the ULA has been a joyful rebellion. Its actions have been among the most thrilling in literary history-- actions of boldness and exuberance against the decay of the art form. Actions which have woken the slumbering mummies. Amazing events. Read the history. It's there as a potato salad example for everyone.”

Great, King. But the significance of the Beats (and the artists of the Cabaret Voltaire, and the punk rockers, and the decadent poets, etc.) was more than the sum of their “protests” against the established order. They may have sounded an alarm against the decay of an artform, or even of civil society, but they did it through their creative acts. I suppose as long as you’re the “historian” keeping this history you can elide the conspicuous absence of any actual, er, significant literature arising contemporaneously with all of these energetic protests.

Anonymous said...

Dear Harland, and King, and Anonymous, et al,
I'd heard from a friend who's a regular reader that debate here is lively, and my is it ever! I was sorry to hear that one of the more interesting posts was erased. That seems rather out of bounds. Harland why don't you please start your own blog and let us know where it is? I've found your posts particularly interesting and I'd certainly seek it out. You could also simply post it on one of the other blogs that comment on this one and its author, such as Maude Newton and An Elegant Variation. I've googled King and seen there are lots! In the meantime, I have to say this fight seems awfully internecine. I can't see that the difference between published American writers and unpublished American writers... or would that be it be writers from a university-educated-background and writers from a working class background?... is analogous to the gulf in 18th century French. Credulity is stretched. Why instead are you not discussing the paucity of works in translation published in America and how its led to insularity and an isolated mind-set? What about the War in Iraq, and the threat of war in Iran? Global warming? Globalisation and American hegemony? It's a big wide world out there though it never seems to seep into these debates, lively as they are. But then I'm just a new reader here...

King said...

FYI: That post can be opened up at any time. I plan to. It contained merely the same-old same-old.
What I want is my Petition to PEN blog unfrozen simultaneously.
Can all you defenders of free speech agree to that?
(You don't seem to have even read my "Unfairness" comment on the Original post on this thread. You certainly don't get it! I'm isolated to my several blogs-- I appear nowhere else-- all of which we've seen are liable at any time to be shut down when the Overdogs complain. The hyposcrisy is staggering.)

King said...

Re Mr. Moody. He would have us believe that an absolute stranger to Moody is going to defend him as if he were Moody's lawyer or agent-- quite articulately, given the skewed viewpoint.
Why? Out of a sense of righting an injustice; the poor scion of wealth needing the protection? Sorry, but people don't behave that way, Rick. Most folks are wrapped up in their own personal fights. You seem to lack a grasp of what people are like. This isn't one of your novels!
Even if there were a third party to this debate who was such a lackey to the literary rich that he'd take their side with such energy-- Ed Champion the only possible candidate who comes to mind-- he'd want public credit for the words and time invested; the arguments made, and would use his own name. (Suck-ups generally want the sucking-up acknowledged, after all.) That Harland is anyone other than Rick Moody is inconceivable.

Anonymous said...

Idiot, he doesn't defend Moody. It's more like he doesn't give a shit about Moody. He goddamned grants you your point that Moody shouldn't have taken the Guggenheim, in a perfect world. He never defends the class structure you pitifully slash away at. First Harland was Tom Bissel, right? Now he's Moody. You're so convoluted you can't even get your conspiracy straight.

King said...

Checks on reality, Rick, is a good point. Should we do some?
I got a great reality check when I went in as an uncertified substitute to Philly's public school system-- places the school system couldn't get people to go into. Some of the schools were horrendous, with possibly hundreds of substitutes passing down the assignment before it got to me. When I went in, I quickly saw that as many as half the classes would be without teachers-- classes doubled up, which made them all the more unmanageable. The posts I put on this blog in August 2005 (did you check THAT archive, Rick?) were merely about one of my more positive assignments. The others, frankly, I couldn't face writing about.
Even at the large high school depcited-- not the worst, mind you-- virtually none of the students even took the SATs. I remeber reading the stats for all of Philly's high schools. With a handful of exceptions, the students from giant high schools taking college entrance exams could be counted on one hand.
And of course, in Philly only half the potential students ever graduate. (Detroit it's 25%.)
Yes, this was a reality check.
About two miles away from that high school in North Philly is the Penn campus. Ivy League. The best and brightest from around the country. I met and talked to many of them when I lived near that part of the city. For a school like that, the students almost totally, including foreign students, are from privileged backgrounds.
Does any here wish to dispute this?
can't you see what a skewed society this is-- and where the opportunity to become officially approved writers published by those corporations Moody mentions is going?
To make things worse, of course, the flow of money goes to the privileged-- not the downtrodden.
The classes I was in in North Philly had broken windows, broken lavaratories, were either extrremely cold or had intolerable heat; and very few resources for the students of any kind. The school buildings are old and shabby. (The situation in Detroit is ten times more deplorable-- I know someone who's a teacher here.)
Meanwhile, money flows and flows into the Penn campus, as exemplified by the constantly new and shiny buildings, and the gentrification of the area, chasing away the Beat(en down) people.
Do you really wish to examine reality, Rick.
I sure wish you did!
(re the "personal." We see that your arguments do not tend toward the reality of publishing, not to mention society, but ad hominen attacks on me, including calling me crazy, monomaniacal, and so on. Oh, I can rant and rave, with justice, but when I want I can also speak with clarity.)

Anonymous said...

--Oh, I can rant and rave, with justice, but when I want I can also speak with clarity

Any time you're ready.

King said...

??? Sorry, but Moody and his friends haven't granted anything about the Guggenheim. He's posted nothing but continuous rationalizing.
Oh, yeah, at one point he slipped and said in hindsight it might have been a mistake, but it wouldn't make sense to apologize.
Remember that? That's when he was speaking AS Moody.
If Mr. Moody really believes the lit-system should be democratized, why did he reject the olive branch I was holding?
When I free up the Petition to PEN, will he or you sign it, under your own identities?
Believe me, I'd love to have all of you on my side of things. The right and wrong is clear cut, and has always been.
Why then all this noise?

King said...

Re my revolutionary remarks in the main post:
Moody/Harland relates everything back to himself. When I mention revolution, it's therefore not revolution against society, but himself. The center of the universe.
But I was speaking generally, about coming revolution from others (I've read many prison zeens!).
What I'm doing, btw, is very much in a historical tradition. Think of Marat, Brissot, and Robespierre himself, who was quite a pamphlet writer. Or here, Mr. Thomas Paine.
Samizdat traditionally is NOT simply playing-- when the gutter press speaks about change, they usually mean it.

Anonymous said...

What, oh what, does the condition of school systems in Philly and Detroit have to do with literature? At the end of the day? Prediction: You won't be able to answer this question literarily, only revolutionarily. Literature is many, many things, and has many, many rooms. No one disputes this--but you deny it, constantly. If I had to read one of Rick Moody's novels I'd fucking kill myself. Give me your Richette any day of the week. That doesn't mean you're not an utter asswipe and monomaniacal buffoon. Admit what it is you want: a rigid form of art that you and you alone approve of.

Anonymous said...

He was speaking as Moody to bait you, genius. Read it again.

Harland said...

You know, I was telling someone that this was like eating potato chips, or like taking candy from a baby, but it's more like taking crack cocaine from a baby.

I am not Rick Moody.

As anonymous points out, I'm not defending Moody. I'm attacking your extremism, most saliently embodied in your fixation on a talented (but not overwhelmingly talented), successful (but not wildly successful) writer, who is hardly at the forefront of American literature.

"Most folks are wrapped up in their own personal fights."

Speak for yourself.

I've already told you why I'm not using my own name. I've told you several times. Looks like you want me to try again.
(1) You worry me and I don't need the tzuris of having you fingerpaint a target on my back.
(2) I'm just well-known enough that you'd immediately leap to attack me.
(3) I'd be embarrassed if anyone knew I was spending so much time chatting with you.
(4) Maybe I'm JUST UNDESERVEDLY FAMOUS ENOUGH that I don't need the attention as badly as, er, you do.

"That Harland is anyone other than Rick Moody is inconceivable."

Yes, you'd need an imagination.

King said...

Yes, literature is many rooms-- so why does all the attention and money go to the cliquesters up front?
Let's throw something to the back of the house, please!
My kind a writer certainly don't have a monopoly on anything.
All we want is one seat at a very large table.
Why the panic at even the notion of this?
Why so worried?
Why so frantic about ONE guy's contrary voice?
p.s. Please keep posting. You're entertaining my readers.

Harland said...

I got you your readers.

Mwah ha ha ha haaa!

John said...

The PEN petition blog should be unfrozen, I agree with that.

Anonymous said...

Harland,
Please... start your own blog, and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so we can find you.

King said...

??? A Harland blog would be no different than the blogs produced by the Mauds, Sarvases, and Champions-- telling us how great is the literary world today; presenting no new ideas.
Harland is nothing if not a reactionary, which is why he's here, of course. Strictly backward looking in that he really doesn't want to change anything, and if he did, he wouldn't have a clue how to do so, as this might upset people.

King said...

Btw, "Harland," if you've added to my readership-- I have a good core base anyway-- I thank you. (Last Thursday set a record for me, so I'll acknowledge what you're adding.) My goal, here, of course IS to have readers. Toward that end I make my posts, as you say, provocative. Why not? What's wrong with that? (If I were not widely, yes, blackballed, I'd have way more readers.)
You don't seem to understand the basic reason for my noise-- the necessity of the fact of noise. You see only the noise, not what lies behind it.
Yes, the literary establishment is missing an opportunity by clutching rigorously to the same-old same-old. They have no answers out of their box-- and neither do you, apparently.
Give me any opening at all as a promoter and I'll explode through it-- but I've faced instead reactionary after reactionary.
Scaries of all, Harland, is if you're NOT Mr. Moody or one of his flunkies.
What then does this mean?
What's your motivation for spending so much time at a tiny tiny farout corner of the literary universe; a blog run by, as you say, a crank.
If I have absolutely nothing to offer, why are you here?
What keeps you reading?
This is the mystery.
Could there possibly be some truth in what i say?
Btw, facing
scorn means nothing to me. Call it "monomania." It's simple focus, which is the only way to achieve anything. (Does Tiger Woods show monomania?)
Maybe if you had some of that same focus, you'd be a great writer. . .
Read history and you'll see that anyone who sought to change things faced widespread scorn. It comes with the territory.