Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's Wrong with This?


Here's a part of the wikipedia entry for the Underground Literary Alliance, pertaining to one event:

"Firecracker Awards
Late 2001, the ULA protested against McSweeney's Quarterly Concern being awarded Best Zine of the Year by the Firecracker Alternative Books Award because McSweeney’s does not fit their definition of zine. The jury of the Firecracker Alternative Books Award remarked that they didn't ask the ULA what was their definition of a zine, because the ULA wasn't the organization presenting the award."


Here are a few definitions of the word "zine" found at various places:
"An inexpensively produced, self-published, underground publication."

Urban Dictionary:
"a cheaply-made, cheaply-priced publication."

"an independently or self published booklet often created by a single person."
"a cheaply printed magazine published irregularly by amateurs."

You get the idea. McSweeney's of course was a professionally-produced publication, with a paid office staff, the thick issues printed in Iceland at considerable expense and shipped to America by cargo container. Copies of each issue sold in the neighborhood of $25. The project may have been started with seed money from Simon & Schuster, a large book company owned by a gigantic conglomerate. Yes, the ULA protested this award, absolutely-- and was right to do so.

FYI: Much of the ULA's original wiki entry was written by Steve Kostecke, now deceased. What he put there, the basic facts, has been greatly distorted by a series of anonymous persons over the past few years. The result is a distorted view of the organization, its motives and history. I'd suggest that anyone considering restarting the outfit, in whatever way, begin by correcting the malicious damage done to this record. (If I get the opportunity, between my blogs and writing, I'll make a partial attempt myself.)

The truth is important-- to some of us.

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