It’s funny, in a way, that an outfit which has been inactive for four years, the Underground Literary Alliance; many of whose remaining key members were destroyed during that period by economic circumstance, or by life; could still achieve today from the supposedly UNmonolithic established literary community widespread and unanimous hostility. Slur and smear against us continue to appear in esteemed publication after publication. Not one “reputable” writer will take our side—or acknowledge we have a side.
Instead of republishing an essay filled with distortions, with every available alleged crime of the ULA he could find, it’d have been more interesting if Tom Bissell had instead gone after the real story. If he’d presented the deeds done against the Underground Literary Alliance, beginning with the reams of hate mail we received from the moment of our founding; or bookstores pressured by the Eggers gang not to carry our zines; literary writers we were reaching out to pressured not to show at our events; publications (such as Punk Planet and Zine Guide in Chicago) pressured not to participate in or cover our events; fake letters and emails and web sites created in attempts to discredit us; endless anonymous attacks against the ULA in every public forum available, including Amazon; including this blog; ULA members pressured to break ranks and turn on us, and so on. A hurricane of hostility which continues to this day, though, for all intents and purposes, there remains no ULA. Only the name and the memory.
That story would be fascinating and revealing, but it’s a story which can’t come from me, only from those inside the established literary community, or inside McSweeney’s, and they’re not talking.
(The new ebook The McSweeneys Gang is fiction but it’s also real, if you know what I mean.)