Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Pomo Con

In a eulogy to David Foster Wallace in Harpers, Zadie Smith refers to "pomo relativity" as she and other esteemed commentators gush over DFW's writings. It all comes across like Keith Gessen defending global warming-- hysteria and bluff contradicted by the real world.

This is the point: to pomo thinkers, reality is what they say it is. It's all relative; i.e., made-up.

DFW produced an outpouring of verbiage and was a very sensitive guy, but he was no literary artist. He literally had nothing to say, in that the end of his thoughts was: nothing. Like the solipsistic ruminations of his character on a diving board, his art ends in a void. Is this what the public wants from its writers? Pomo lit is a dead end, a sad waste of effort. The worst period of American literature. It consist of armies of expensively trained writers who like Foster Wallace expend gargantuan numbers of words saying nothing.

THE ELITE CON
How do they get away with it? As their writings are largely incomprehensible, but LOOK impressive at first glance, readers assume they are. That the reader gets nothing from it is his own fault! (So it's thought.) Perhaps a tiny Elect does get something from it-- the pomo gang themselves. A circular argument. "WE are great because WE say we are." A swiftly-spinning spaceship rising higher and higher into the void, away from the general public.

6 comments:

Christian R. said...

I'm interested in hearing from you how you feel that "pomo nonsense" is in fact unrelated to rebellion. It is neither aloofly academic nor elitist to point out that the sorts of games that you deplore are often devoted to rebelling against literary convention and are connected quite directly with an implicit or explicit critique of the establishment of which you so disapprove. It seems to me that you're the actual conservative, seeking to retrench against developments and trends that you find threatening to some vague tradition that you would prefer to see continue uninterrupted. Although most of the practitioners and originators of "pomo nonsense" have traditionally been marginalized, you insist on seeing a huckster like Dave Eggers as the rule, rather than the exception, and on confusing the insularity of an essentially conservative outfit like The Paris Review with a heedless vanguard unconnected to "folk." Interestingly, David Foster Wallace was alienated in the extreme from the hype about his work for which you, apparently, hold him responsible, and tried, almost routinely, to write about the sorts of people, and their difficulties, that you have insisted are the true "stuff" of literature. It's hard to evaluate--rather than simply dismiss--a critique like yours when you don't appear to have thought through your positions. You attribute the revanchist impulse to the innovative work, endow deeply reticent personalities with self-promotional attributes, you manipulate reality to create a set of "facts" that you find useful, although even then your arguments are never convincing, only consistent.

King said...

What you're still giving us, Harland/"Christian," is the pov of the status quo, ig noring thwe fact that the "pomo critique" you celebrate is coming FROM the academy and other large literary institutions.
Your argument is simply more sophistry. It sounds plausible within your bubble world mentality, but is contradicted by reality.
Btw, I have not called the pomo crowd conservative, but reactionary-- it was part of a reaction against American populist literature which became dominant in American letters in the 30's and 40's, including in the critical realm. This is easily documented.
To pick out just a couple points from your misguided post:
Practitioners etc of pomo lit "traditionally been marginalized"??
On the contrary; they either have come from the heart of the academy like Barth, or from the uppermost reaches of Caste America like Thomas Pynchon.
The two biggest forces of more recent years, William Vollmann and Foster Wallace, have been overeducated to the max. (DFW had a Phd.) Weren't in both instances their parents from deep academic backgrounds? I'll have to refresh my memory on that.
Paris Review? I'll be discussing this some more. It was in no way "conservative." It was liberal, reactionary, and anti-populist all at once.
You say DFW was alienated in the extreme from the hype about him and his work-- but he never moved to stop it. He continued to make public appearances, give commencement addresses, accept large advances, publish well-hyped books, et.al. Hardly a recluse.
Was he that much owned by the Machine that he had no say in how his own work was propagated?
It's kind of ridiculous to compare him or any pomo-er with, say, experimental populist writers like Jack Saunders and Bill Blackolive who have no machines of hype behind them; no cushy academy jobs; are in fact barely surviving economically and are truly marginalized.
It's YOU who enjoy dummying up facts and applying terms to your own crowd which don't apply.
My argument stands well and will be only further strengthened in future posts. Postmodernism was designed to alienate the audience. For its purveyors, this is what their "rebelling" against literary convention results in. They don't use new techniques to bring more of the audience INto the wonders of literature, which should be the goal of the true artist.
p.s. excuse me if I don't engage each and every one of your continuous comments. You spend an enormous amount of time reading and commenting on this blog. Do you not have a job? Are you being paid to do it? It remains curious. . . .

King said...

Here's a brief snapshot of some of this character's recent activity on this blog. (He also seems to post under different but similar IP numbers.):
*****************
Date Time Type WebPage
29th December 2008 23:15:36 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
30th December 2008 01:00:06 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
30th December 2008 18:10:50 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
30th December 2008 18:13:23 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3320250538973345395
31st December 2008 15:05:51 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
31st December 2008 15:06:28 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8536295021034914931
31st December 2008 15:15:01 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
31st December 2008 15:15:02 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3320250538973345395
31st December 2008 17:41:48 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
31st December 2008 20:33:16 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
1st January 2009 09:55:42 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
2nd January 2009 09:04:13 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
2nd January 2009 09:04:51 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=97818209972345897
2nd January 2009 09:19:58 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/
2nd January 2009 20:43:24 Page View No referring link
kingwenclas.blogspot.com/


Display Page URL not Title

Exit Link/Download Archive
Date Time Type WebPage
8th December 2008 20:13:39 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=5492729466461045602
10th December 2008 16:07:00 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=5492729466461045602
10th December 2008 16:07:21 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=5253154670773113233
11th December 2008 09:20:50 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=1272315627716162933
11th December 2008 11:36:45 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3961230366956763050
11th December 2008 11:37:00 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3961230366956763050
11th December 2008 11:39:59 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8834692484240301160
13th December 2008 17:23:31 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3961230366956763050
13th December 2008 17:24:22 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8834692484240301160
13th December 2008 17:27:34 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3883867595586533566
13th December 2008 17:30:33 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=2467297211276042663
16th December 2008 12:57:11 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=1016528553739558277
16th December 2008 12:58:35 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=7828774996123674260
16th December 2008 12:59:03 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8834692484240301160
16th December 2008 12:59:31 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=7170335592899818498
16th December 2008 15:57:26 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=7828774996123674260
17th December 2008 10:25:32 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=2467297211276042663
17th December 2008 10:28:56 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3883867595586533566
17th December 2008 22:43:52 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8832987092474434171
18th December 2008 13:17:30 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=587058785927400648
18th December 2008 13:31:55 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8832987092474434171
18th December 2008 13:32:37 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=1016528553739558277
18th December 2008 13:33:35 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3883867595586533566
18th December 2008 13:34:02 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=7828774996123674260
18th December 2008 13:34:12 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=3961230366956763050
18th December 2008 13:34:56 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=5492729466461045602
18th December 2008 15:27:56 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=587058785927400648
18th December 2008 15:28:21 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=6296372262561435731
18th December 2008 15:38:45 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8832987092474434171
19th December 2008 17:11:32 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=2397071886538669852
19th December 2008 17:12:35 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8356820680686073943
20th December 2008 10:39:05 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=8832987092474434171
20th December 2008 10:39:49 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=6296372262561435731
20th December 2008 16:31:10 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=2932534234838303225
20th December 2008 17:00:40 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=1048639675075402650
20th December 2008 17:00:51 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=1559592086558042797
20th December 2008 23:21:37 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=2932534234838303225
21st December 2008 11:50:29 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=168351262044575313
29th December 2008 17:34:12 Exit Link http://www.blogger.com/profile/08426549415270629093
29th December 2008 17:37:00 Exit Link https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7983462&postID=5883390083143522046

Host Name - Red text is the user's host name.

Web Page - Grey text is the webpage visited.

scofflaw said...

Sweet, KING turning the mirror (technology)up into the face of the Spectacular Heil Society turning their peeping-tom geek anonymity inside out and holing it out to them in public.

Sweet as a white Russion or a Black Russin or is it a black mule?-- absolut'ly--- go git 'em daddy-yo, hit 'em where it hurts!

King said...

Re the Heil society you mention: watch for my review of the movie "Valkyrie" upcoming on my Happy blog. I recommend the film to all resistance fighters.

Jian Zhuo said...

christian louboutin sale
ralph lauren outlet
nike free 5.0
adidas nmd
ugg boots outlet
ugg australia
supra for sale
ugg sale
nike tn
discount oakley sunglasses
20170112