Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Puppets and Stooges

While I've made a strong case that there was an orchestrated campaign to discredit myself and disrupt the ULA, many loose threads remain.

(The campaign was quite successful, to the extent that many, including the ULA's "Tin Pot" leader/non-leader, actually believe that I was the ULA's chief problem. Me! Even though it was my work, my boldness, and my strategy which provided the ULA its great string of historic victories.)

An opportunity to fill in a few more pieces of the puzzle has been provided by Noah Cicero's inexplicable defense of Daniel Handler in a recent posted comment to this all-but-defunct blog, which I've been trying to push into retirement. It appears Mr. Handler is backing-- vocally if not financially-- Tao Lin's new small press venture. (Tao Lin, a seldom-employed pianist, has no visible means of support.)

Tao Lin played a major role in Noah's loud departure from the ULA in 2005. The departure was accompanied by a Tao Lin interview with Cicero, which was applauded at the time by literary preppies.

Yesterday I reread the interview. Four years later, I'm struck by its extreme malice and mendacity. It's a full-scale attack on the ULA; on myself; and on some of the underground's most prominent writers. Was it really necessary? Whatever the perceived grievances and differences, why would two ostensibly underground writers, Lin and Cicero, engage in this kind of all-out attack? Noah could've left semi-quietly. Was more going on than met the eye?

A clue is given in the interview, with Noah's remarks about Daniel Handler. Noah claimed I had attacked Handler and Sedaris. The reverse was the case-- Handler had presented, in the pages of a lit journal, a faked letter that was claimed to be from me.

If memory serves me (one can check this blog's archives), I'd already discredited the fake letter before the Lin/Cicero interview. I'd asked Handler for a copy of the letter and its envelope. One was never provided. Yet Noah took the lie-filled Handler line regarding the controversy. Why?

Were Tao Lin and Daniel Handler tight as far back as 2005?

This was, of course, before I knew Handler and others would conduct a four-year harassment campaign against me-- the knowledge of which now throws upon what happened a different light.

SIDE NOTE: The discussion following the long interview is enlightening. It's claimed in it that I "hate" everybody. Yet, despite endless insults and provocations, I kept my head well in my remarks, maintaining an argument that was tempered and reasoned-- while others spewed vitriol. Interesting.


King said...

When I think about the ULA's recent history, I'm reminded of the famous story of the last meeting of the Utah chapter of the Communist Party, which was disbanded when they realized everyone at the meeting was an FBI plant!
I don't mean to dis the ULA-- but what ULA? There seems to be more than one right now. One part of it is way cool. Another version of it I don't recognize.
What was done to it-- by Handler or by whomever-- was truly masterful. A series of moles were let into the organization, so that at any time a signal could be given and part of the ULA blown off. Which is what occurred on more than one occasion.
The egregious Tao Lin/Noah Cicero interview and the discussion which followed throws light upon other things-- such as what happened in Dec '07. What was being proposed and intended went against all sense, from a ULA viewpoint. It was idiocy itself. At minimum-- minimum-- it was guaranteed to be divisive. I mean, reread the Cicero interview thread! Please. Yet those pushing the idea wouldn't abandon it-- and it was being pushed by some of my strongest colleagues.
The most amazing thing about the incident is that I've never received from them an explanation. Only a wall of silence.
Did they really believe I was the ULA's problem? Apparently. . . .
My promotional abilities are unique. I said from the very start of the ULA campaign that for underground writers I was an asset to be utilized. Collectively, undergrounders decided-- or were talked into-- not utilizing my abilities. Where does this leave them? Back to where they were before I appeared on the scene. Square One. For them, a blunderous decision. Stupefyingly blunderous.
For me, it saves me a ton of stress and effort, and allows me to get on with my life.

King said...

Did everyone read the Tao/Noah interview???
It wasn't just me who was attacked, though I'm always the obvious target. Nor just me and Tin Pot. Also smeared were some of the underground's best writers, like Urban Hermitt and Crazy Carl Robinson. Even legendary Aaron Cometbus was thrown under the bus!
An organization HAS TO BE WILLING TO DEFEND ITSELF against those who work to destroy it, or it won't be an organization for long.
The most egregious example of how the ULA was betrayed from within happened a little over a year after the Tao/Noah interview, on the then-version of the ULA's review blog. This was: Noah and Tao, the very same people who'd viciously trashed the underground a year before, writing ultra suckup reviews of EACH OTHER'S books. I was tarred and feathered within the ULA for opposing this. Remember?
My own review of an establishment writer's book, meanwhile, was deleted from the site for not being "positive" enough. We weren't allowed to be negative about our movement's opponents. At the same time, EVERYBODY was allowed to be negative about us.
Some good undergrounders continue to be duped by those who've worked hard to derail the underground literary movement.