Friday, October 28, 2011

Where Was Jennifer?

On Thursday evening so-called 99 percenter writer Jennifer Egan was in Philadelphia giving a talk to a decidedly upscale audience at the main Philadelphia Free Library. Did she visit the Occupy Philadelphia site later?

When I got off my job after 9 pm, I took a walk through the Occupy Philly site, where people were snuggling into cold tents against the chilly night. I looked around. I didn’t see famed novelist Jennifer Egan anyplace.

I suppose that after her event Jennifer took the Amtrack straight back to her yuppified Brooklyn enclave. Back to the illusory comfort of the polished pots and pans carefully arrayed in her pristine kitchen.


Petters said...

You realize, don't you, that the entire tone of this makes it sound as if you're stalking Jennifer Egan?

King Wenclas said...

Oh please. Is that the best you can do? I'm making the point that Ms. Egan was with the affluent when she could've been with the Occupy community she professes to be part of.
And who is she, anyway, or any of these privileged literary people?
My experience with the lot of them is that they travel in secure bubbles, treating themselves like royalty. Dare not say anything to these precious people. I've gone to that same library before, attempting to ask questions, publicly, of our aristocratic writers-- and been bounced by security. Sure, I now give them their space. But that isn't democracy. No way! I'm isolated, blackballed, a pariah-- for questioning the corruption of the current cronyistic literary scene. Stalking! Such a weak tactic. Requesting of these characters anything, like honesty or integrity-- none of which we're seeing-- can be squelched with such a trumped-up ridiculous defense. You think so? Try it elsewhere. I'm stalked-- stalked by this f'ed up society every day, with no defense at all, no security anyplace. . . .

King Wenclas said...

(p.s. An anonymous demi-puppet? Unable to use his own name? Who's the real stalker here. . . .)

The Ghost of Hanns Eisler said...

"On Thursday evening so-called 99 percenter writer Jennifer Egan was in Philadelphia giving a talk to a decidedly upscale audience at the main Philadelphia Free Library. Did she visit the Occupy Philadelphia site later?...When I got off my job after 9 pm, I took a walk through the Occupy Philly site, where people were snuggling into cold tents against the chilly night. I looked around. I didn’t see famed novelist Jennifer Egan anyplace."

Let's take you seriously for a moment: if you were working till 9 PM on the night of Egan's reading (which she shared with two other writers, Jaimy Gordon and Karen Russell, in case you're in need of anyone else to hate), I presume you were not in attendance at the event, since it began at 7:30 PM, according to promotional material still online. (For the record, I wasn't there either.) Did your psychic ability allow you to determine the "upscale" makeup of the audience? I have been to more readings/author events at the Free Library of Philadelphia than I count: "upscale" is not how I would ever describe any of those audiences, but "regular local folk" wanting to see/hear a celebrated (perhaps, in my opinion, undeservedly so) writer in the flesh. Knowledgeable people, to judge from their questions, serious readers, with the occasional schizophrenic. But "upscale?" Are you sure you're familiar with Philadelphia?

Further, at precisely what time were you walking around City Hall? Those author events sometimes go as long as 90 minutes. I presume that at 9 PM or so, Egan was signing books for a long line of people, while you were wandering in the cold dark. Or maybe you should have brought a flashlight? Did you have one, was it bright enough? Did you try calling her name? Maybe, Officer Wenclas, she was there and you just barely missed her....

Petters said...

But you don't "ask questions, publicly, of our aristocratic writers"--you heckle them. You've proudly documented this. Do you expect not to get "bounced"?

Obviously the usual reality-slippage is in effect here. Whether you're talking about a formal gala or a bunch of middle class people turning up to see a well-promoted free public event, it's upscale, insular, and exclusive. If you get thrown out for disrupting it, and then decide not to show up any more, you're "blackballed."

What if Jennifer Egan had shown up at Occupy Philadelphia? Would you have posted something saying, "I was all wrong about Jennifer Egan -- she stood with the 99%"? Or would you have found some way of declaring her attendance there phony as well? Maybe she goes to the site in New York, although faithful readers of Attacking the Demi-Puppets will know ahead of time that ANYTHING that happens in New York is inherently phony.

King Wenclas said...

Wow. I seem to have hit a nerve. Curious that you chose this post to try to discredit. Why not the others?
Can you at least please take off the masks? Otherwise your presence here is creepy.
Look at the difference between how the two sides behave.
I make my criticisms and arguments upfront, under my own identity, and ask for response.
You skulk in the shadows, creating twisted narratives and spreading them behind the scenes-- often with the victim given no opportunity to reply.
It's what you did with the ULA.
Now you're dealing with one guy.
Am I really a threat?
Re this post.
Er, that was not a free event. Admission was $15.
While I wasn't at this particular event, I've seen and been at similar. (At most of the ULA's crashes, all we did was ask questions-- or try to!) Believe me, the crowd is very bourgeois. Not 1% but definitely 10% people, with a smattering of college kids who assuredly will soon enough join their ranks, given a U-Penn style pedigree.
I'm sure you two anonymous posters are never in the 80%, so are unable to distinguish the difference.
The audience was certainly upscale and very much not like the vast majority of the Occupy Philly campers-- the bulk of whom seem to be homeless people.
The way things are going for me, I may have to consider joining their ranks. . . .
(FYI: I walk two miles home from my job. I walked out of my way to see how the Occupy people were doing. No, I wasn't there precisely at 9 pm. It wouldn't matter if I were, because there was no way Ms. Egan was going to stop by there. She can pose for photos for web sites to sell books-- the timing of her photo plastered everywhere was certainly curious, coinciding with a book tour. Confronting the system for real is a different matter.)

King Wenclas said...

I should add that the double standard shown here is very great.
The ULA, in its heyday, was protesting the same things that the Occupy groups are protesting.
Namely, plutocracy, monopoly, corruption, a closed system, elitism, and vast inequalities.
We were a bit more focused with our targets, but then, we had to be in order to get attention for our noise.
Are you taking politeness meters to the actions and statements of the Occupy people?
It's hard for me to say, because you fail to give your identity.
You might be Mr. Handler, who was documented making hundreds-- yes, hundreds-- of pseuonymous postings on this blog against the ULA.
Do you think those 13 or 15 principles that he laid upon the Occupy Writers site were applied at all to us?? No way!
Or, you might be someone from n+1, which is claiming to support OWS at the same time they're marketing a News Corp book in a large banner on their site, part of a joint deal. In other words, owned by the plutocracy.
Where were these concerned writers when I pushed a petition two years ago giving a concrete step toward democratizing our literary scene?
I said on it that the recession was going to destroy many underground writers. It's done exactly that.
Why don't you stop the phoniness and start living up to your own ideals for a change?

Petters said...

I thought it was free, sorry.

King Wenclas said...

Ya know, I'd bet that Jennifer's publisher has demographic info about her reading audience, an audience likely roughly comparable to that which was at the Free Library that night.
Once upon a time many years ago I wrote Granta a note requesting info on ad prices. They sent me an entire packet which included every possible demographic analysis of the Granta reader. The emphasis: very upscale. Income levels; higher education; tastes-- it was all laid out. I have to admit I was not in the Granta category!
I'd bet The New Yorker has a similar packet, and that their reader profile is at least as upscale.
Isn't this the standard profile for readers of "literary" authors? Doesn't Jennifer Egan fit that category?
What Lit's top 1% embracing "the 99%" shows is a kind of false class consciousness on their part. They were educated to be liberal and they want to be just common folk, they really do-- but their privileged positions in actuality are there getting in the way.
In a day when even the rich dress down, when likely Gates believes he's only middle class, confusion from observers is understandable. You have to glance behind the look, the pose-- the mask.
So, what was your point? You jumped on my most vulnerable post to try to discredit me, and failed. Do you wonder that I'm alienated from your scene, when the ULA and myself faced nothing but hostility?
If you truly believe in your "99%" principles you'll lift the virtual death sentence that was imposed several years ago on the ULA and its writers in particular, and dissent against the lit system in general. You'll drop your very narrow academy-imposed aesthetic principles as well, which has given us a very narrow, slow moving, unexciting literary art. Freeing up the system to include new, more dramatic, more democratic voices can only reenergize it.
Free speech is for everyone.