Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Literary Monopoly

I intend to tie the remaining loose threads together and show that the current literary system is a monopoly which excludes critical and contrary voices. This monopoly is maintained through implicit control of literature's watchdogs, from PEN American Center to the New Yorker.

Can we expect the New Yorker to cover corruption at PEN, including the public charity's close relationship to the handful of media giants, when the New Yorker's leading editors and writers-- David Remnick, Henry Finder, Adam Gopnick-- are PEN members who attend PEN's swanky galas and participate at PEN events; who in many cases are published by the media giants, and in some instances (Steve Coll) are the recipients of PEN largesse?

The reason I'm hyper about HarperStudio and Burn This Book is because it marks the coopting/stealing/destruction of the underground brand by a monopolistic giant; an underground brand which was launched in 2001 with large ads in major publications like Village
Voice. The "ads" weren't paid for-- they were feature articles obtained through ballyhoo-- but they were ads, generated with a purpose, all the same.

Now we have the fake-DIY employees of a fake-DIY section of Harper-Collins/Murdoch gushing in mock-amazement ("Wow!) at the appearance of their fake-radical PEN book appearing on a shelf at an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, as if they were genuine impoverished undergrounders who did it on their own. Left unsaid is the fact that they and that book are backed by billions of dollars.

Sweetheart deals cut by the media giants with the huge book chains Borders and Barnes & Noble is itself an important topic. Who's covering it?

I've documented on this blog the actions of Daniel Handler and his apparent agents (Tao Lin; "Quilty10") to derail the underground cause. The motive was to squelch even the weak competition we offered.

The motive for PEN's stonewalling against questions and criticisms is the same: to shut out competition to things-as-they-are. What they've done, through their silence, is create an irrefutable record of bias and inaction. Someone should remind them they're a public organization, accountable to the public.

Who's giving PEN its marchingorders?
Is there enough here for anti-trust action?

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