Friday, September 21, 2012

How Do You Fight a Smear?

The republished Tom Bissell Believer essay, through those who reviewed it, and the book's readers, has created a multiplier effect. The result is like a boat with a hundred leaks. With the Times letter I plugged only one of them.

Everyone who reads Tom Bissell's book Magic Hours is receiving a highly biased image of the Underground Literary Alliance and its writers, as Garth Risk Hallberg did. Many of those who read Bissell's book are writers, editors, or other kinds of literary people.

To Bissell the essay was merely a casual hatchet job, a day's pay, his trademark touchy-feely prose-- the pose of sympathizing with us-- giving the essay superficial credibility. Tom Bissell doesn't realize he did real damage to we past and present members of the ULA, tarring us. Or maybe he does realize this.

It was unnecessary, as the ULA had ceased to be active as an organization, and therefore was a threat to nobody.

But WE the writers of the Underground Literary Alliance remained!

Either disavow the malicious essay, Mr. Bissell, or defend it-- if you're capable of defending your own writing.