Thursday, March 24, 2005

Why You Should Read the ULA Site

Because it's the only place where you'll find truly alternative thoughts and views about current literature. No other lit-group steps very far outside the accepted lines. The ULA steps ALL the way out. We're also the only lit group that's truly independent.

If you want to challenge your own received opinions about writing, culture, and books, then you have to read us.


Anonymous said...

I read everything I can regarding the ULA and every other group, I am open to all viewpoints, but as a Recusant I call it as I see it free of bias.

-The Unabashed Truth

- Leopold said...

I'll quickly throw in my viewpoint here and be done with it, because it's pretty frustrating reading posts from a bunch of anonymous strangers bitching and complaining about how this blog bitches and complains too much.

All I see are self-serving arguments complaining that the ULA is not a positive force, just a shallow group of whining losers. But all you're doing yourself is coming onto sites where you have failed to ever post a positive or constructive comment yourself - appearing in mass to take on the same traits you accuse KW of having.

The ULA may not be perfect, but it's honest and open and as far as I can see no one else in the literary scene is really doing that. Not sincerely, anyway. I have been writing for 10 years and have taken initiative on my own to promote and publish the work of others and myself. It's tough out there and all I see, for the most part, is idiotic, elitist pissing-matches between writers over who is a better member of the club - rather than working to build a system that helps people be heard whether they are strippers and truck drivers or businessmen and pilots - as long as it's entertaining and it's stuff they FEEL.

All i can speak on is what I have personally experienced. There are loads and loads of lit mags out there that claim to help or work with emerging talent but the ULA is the only place that i've come across in years of doing this that actually DOES work with new and underground writers.

Not a positive force? Not making a difference? The ULA publishes Slush Pile providing a source of publication outside of the guarded lit journals that are locked in withthe long-entrenched (and, frankly, boring) establishment for those who's work comes from outside. It has provided a group of like minds a place to help critique, promote, connect and coordinate with each other to get their writing out. It has taken initiative in pointing out flaws in the current established system. It seems to me that Tim Hall's book and Undie Press have benefitted greatly from association with the ULA. In the near future we expect to see the publication of ULA writers by the ULA itself and ULA members. Patrick's Lit Vision, Marissa's Antipatico and my Red Fez have all come into contact through association with the ULA and, I like to think, have all benefitted from that connection.

The ULA isn't a homogeneous hump. We - if I can be so bold as to speak for such a non homogeneous hump - don't even agree with each other all the time. The fact is we are working hard, against an obvious wave of people who resent people trying to strike out on their own. We make noise if only to be heard. To be honest, the rest of the literary establishment seems content to stick to it's own hideaway caves like wallflowers who seem more than content that literature never leaves the clubs in their dark basements. Frankly, i think they're afraid people WILL start reading becuase then there goes their club! In fact, I see a lot of the posts recently on this site as a sign of that. Writing should be relevant and entertaining. Part of our noise is part of the show - punk rock musicians don't mumble lyrics in their basements. People aren't terribly crazy about watching sports like lawnbowling.

You can brush us off as 'lightweights' etc... without ever having read our work. You'd probably keep your opinion after reading us anyway - either to stick to your steadfast opinions or because you don't understand what we're trying to achieve. Fine. But we do have a vision for literature. We are working for it. But we care about it and caring about it makes us dislike people who treat writing cynically.

By the way, please be reminded that this blog is one member's blog and, if I understand it right, is meant more as a behind the scenes resource for ULA members to communicate, keep up to date and plan the future. If you want to comment on the ULA, what it means, stands for and does, take a look at the website which is what we present as our face. But, again, this is just one member's opinion.

Of course, if you get your kicks from sailing into blogs as phantom contrarians who will just say the opposite of whatever is in the blog - if it makes you feel high and mighty to be beyond reproach because you will perpeutually exist outside of whatever argument we make - in fact, DON'T EXIST, well, then there is nothing we can do about that. But know that we will continue anyway.

Anonymous said...


Finally, someone reasonable to talk to. The little secret about the "vast conspiracy" of elitist publishers and editors that are the object of so much fantasized envy on this site is that they are people with jobs who are trying to get ahead in those jobs, and getting ahead means publishing books that sell or at least garner critical acclaim.

If publishing some brilliant "underground" talent would help them do that (ie, if they believed the book will sell) then they will do it, and there are tons and tons of examples of memoirs and novels, written by the type that is romanticized by the ULA, that *are* published, and do sell.

This argument can't be unfamiliar to the faithful at the ULA--who seem obsessively focused on the slights, real or imagined, they have suffered by not having their work published or appreciated by the evil publishing conglomerates. So if they choose to believe that editors are instead passing up the opportunity to publish talented writers and make money because they are elitists who hate the underclass, well, I wish them lots of luck with that world view--they'll need it.

I think it is this sense of victimization that the people who have come here to mock find so distasteful. You profess to know that there are people out there with real problems, that you are down there with the down and out, but so much of your energies--SO MUCH OF IT, is spent in childish immature attacks on other writers, the motive of which, as far as I can tell, is naked envy, or some award that was given out years ago. This envy is dressed up as a crusade against "unfairness" but in almost every case I've noticed, you haven't done your research, or you make wild accusations. Needless to say some of the "historical analysis" on this site is laughably uniformed, and presented in the strident tones of goose-stepping brownshirts, which doesn't help the cause either--at least among people who are turned off by cultishness, bullies, and ideologues--ie, most people who like literature.

It's not as if the publishing "elite" doesn't have the same goals as the ULA--higher literacy, new markets, in short, people passionate about reading. I myself grew up in a lower middle class family in an old, industrial town and I'd say--because of TV and other entertainments, that reading is going to be a tough sell to the people in my family and in my family's neighborhood. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope you can accept that this is not the product of class hatred but rather a dismal depressing fact. So good luck to you guys, because it's not as if the publishing "elites" control the means to reach these people. You guys have a web site, there are tons of avenues for publishing out there. It looks like you're taking advantage of them, so you can let the people decide. Good luck to you, I mean it.

It's a pity you aren't the public voice of the group, Leopold. A responsible group would put a muzzle on the lunatic ravings that come out of some of your members.

- Leopold said...

Thank you for the compliment, however, I am not the sole member who feels this way and the way people have posted in the last few days has been equally to blame, in my opinion, for the responses they received.

The ULA, as I see it, does not have a VOICE or doctrine to be followed. Reigning in members is not our task - in many ways that's counter productive because we have differing - if not sometimes clashing - points of view. But the one singularity among us is a care for writing.

You seem to think that many of the members of this site are here merely because they are upset that they haven't been published by the mainstream presses, but I'm wondering exactly where you are getting that from? What makes you think that people from the ULA are trying to get published (or would even want to be published) in the presses they criticize? That paints us as a bunch of hypocrites and through my association with this group, i don't think that's fair or accurate.

I have been much more impressed by the work of ULA writers than any of those published in the mainstream and literary journals. That is my honest opinion. I think the main ULA beef is that mainstream presses are content to publish over and over the same inane work. Yes, you can argue it's about money, but our (or my) argument is that "should money be the guiding factor of our culture?" And when you involve money you involve class as well. Lit journals only publish writers with literary education. 95% of the world does not have a master's degree, so why is it that nearly 100% of writers in lit journals have them. What kind of 'fair shot' at expression is that?

Most people will admit that television is filled with crap yet people watch it. There are alternatives to TV, but how can they compete with the hegemonic domination of the conglomerates out there - backed up by the relentless advertising dollars of companies who don't want to 'make waves.' The book industry is in the same slump. Commercial presses make money - and usually put out mediocre crap - much like any mass cultural entertainment - hollywood, TV, etc... This would be easier to take if the supposed bastions of literature - the lit journals, etc... - were doing something about it - but instead they've sealed themselves up and seem to be unlitareally terrified of stepping out of place, standing up, making change. Nobody is going to stick up for us if we don't. What really erks us is that we are belittled for caring and trying to make change. Let me remind everyone that none of the journals or publication houses today started off as massively funded ventures - groups of like minded people started them - just like the ULA is starting its thing.

You argue that the ULA is made up of writers just bitter because we haven't been published by the proper channels - lit journals or the mainstream. No, we aren't being published by the mainstream presses and lit-journals. But does that make our writing bad? Does it make it not worth fighting for? Noah Cicero isn't going to be picked up by the Paris Review or Random House anytime soon. In most people's minds that means 'oh, he's not good' rather than 'why isn't there a place for Noah's writing?'

When the mainstream and the lit-journals are the only places that decide what is 'good' writing and those places are increasingly exclusive, inbred and, in my opinion, visionless then writers who aren't being accepted have the right (and probably the responsibility) to stand up against it. To fight it and those who blindly support it. Honestly, I think the decline of readership is a direct cause of the poor job that is being done out there. You don't see TV complaining that movies and video games and music are taking away from their revenues. The fact is that most books out there are boring and inaccessable.

We believe in our work and believe we can do better than what is currently on the table. A lot of people like to use the whole 'well, supply equals demand therefor you're not in demand'. I argue, we're demanding a better supply, in fact, we're PRODUCING it. Just the fact that the ULA exists and is gathering steam showcases the problems with the current scene. If good writers weren't being unfairly excluded, the ULA would have little support.

Noah Cicero said...

The demi-puppets arguements analyzed:
1. We are jealous because of their success:
Question: Does the ULA attack Steven King, John Grisham, or Anne Rice.
Answer: No.
Question: Why don't you attack those writers?
Answer: Because those writers do not take undeserved grants, awards, and posture as great writers when they aren't. When Adam Hardin does his research he never finds those names among the people who are corrupt.
Question: But aren't Steven King, John Grisham, and Anne Rice the most successful writers, so therefore if you are envious of of successful writers you should be attacking them and not writers who only sell a small amount of books compared to them?
Answer: Why would The ULA attack someone who is just doing their thing, who doens't bother anyone, and doesn't take undeserved money. That is silly.

Also a strange thing about the being envious of successful people, when the demi-puppet says that it is very general, it sounds like the ULA hates anyone who is successful. But we never attack successful engineers or restaurant owners do we? We only attack a small group of writers based in New York City that graduated from a few select colleges.
The ULA does not attack Chicklit, Dan Brown, Peter Straub, Tom Clancy, or Francesca Lia Block do we? They are all successful. Why dosn't The ULA attack them. Answer Demi-Puppet.

Ask yourself this Demi-Puppet, out of all the genres and all the writers coming out today, why is The ULA only attacking randomly twenty writers at most, and specifically only like five.

I assume most of you demi-puppets are liberals, do you contact the EPA and The Sierra Club when they target a big business and say, "You are just bitching at them because you are jealous they are successful!"
Do you? I want a response to that.

2. Hypotheticals: This arguement is a bad one to use. let's try it. If this was 1860 France the ULA would be the impressionists and you would be the Salon. Can you name any writers of The Salon, I can't.
If this was the 1500s, The ULA would be the Renaissance and you would be the decayed Christians trying to remain on top.
If Wenclas and Dave Eggers were both in a Taco Bell bathroom with Allah, who's hand would Allah shake, Wenclas' of course.
See, hypohtheticals don't really work, we could both use them. We don't because we have facts.

3. Conspiracy and taking over the literary world theories: I don't recall Wenclas ever saying the word conspiracy or that we were going to be so awsome in power that people were just going to stop selling Eggers books. I think you the demi-puppets have made The ULA bigger than it is. I assume from that the simplicity of The ULA is what terrifies you. That The ULA only attacks like twenty writers and not the rest of them. The Demi-Puppet must ask himself everytime he sees The ULA website, "Why do they only attack the writers I like and not John Grisham or Stephen King or Romance writers, those are supposed to be the bad ones?"
I assume you want to think we are attacking the whole literary world because you don't want to believe you participating in something currupt and unfair. You say the word "conspiracy" to make us look nuts. That's what Bill O'rielly does with people who disagree with him, he says they are nuts.

Underground writers are no good: I've read Frenzon, Eggers, Bellers, and Foer. Their writing is just filler. Eggers doesn't give women character development, but he doesn't get called macho or sexist. Foer writes movies not books. Frenzon writes about rich people having petty problems. Bellers doesn't even write, he kind of just throws words at the page.
Kostecke, Tim Hall, Michael Estabrook, James Nowlan write about what it means to be a person living in this world struggling, going to strip joints, getting drunk, going to work and dealing with a bad boss, and the writing is fun. There is a large amount of people that would love to read stories like that. But The ULA knows that people have jobs, kids, bills to pay, places to go, they don't have time to be searching through the internet to find books. A casual reader goes to the store and browses for books, and if they see one they like they buy it. Almost everyone I know reads. It is only the NYC clique and the demi-puppets who make the statements and I have it from their mouths, "People are stupid monkeys, they don't read." If people don't read why does Stephen King, John Grisham, Dan Brown, and Anne Rice sell millions of copies? Who bought those books? Please answer that.

Concering Stephen King: If you ask a hardcore Stephen King fan why they like Steven King the answer will usually be this: Because he uses regular people just like me. and he shows how regular people would act in the face of great danger.

Personally i don't care if someone reads Dan Brown or Stephen King, if someone was at Borders while buying the new Stephen King book and bought my book because they thought it looked interesting. I wouldn't mind at all.

The facts: Adam Hardin shows the facts every time he speaks. He shows what kind of contests they run, how they pick their editors, how the MFAs actually work, who they give their awards to and why. Adam Hardin shows it, he doesn't put any emotional language into it, he rarely uses adjectives or adverbs. He just writes it down. Wenclas puts on his blog what absurd things that certain circle is doing in New York City everyday. Wenclas does write his opinions which can be argued with. but a large portion of what he says is just fact and if you contact people they will say that is true. But the facts are never disputed by the demi-puppets, only random opinions by Wenclas are.
And that Monday Report is still up. We have empirical evidence that our writers are more entertaining and that small clique of NYC overdogs are corrupt and in reality very bad writers that the American people dislike. if the American people didn't dislike them why does only 10,000 Paris Reviews sell.

If you can tell me that clique of writers in NYC aren't corrupt and prove they are good writers, and prove that not one ULA writer would sell if given publicity like those writers have directed at their certain demographic. I will consider this arguement over. But you cannot do anything but state hypotheticals, and call us nutballs who believe in conspiracies.

Noah Cicero said...

Note to Demi-Puppets. This is the UlA Manifesto by Michael Jackman
The manifesto is aimed what The certain MFA programs mentioned before produce and uphold as good literature. The ULA has selected a certain group for a reason, groups do not attack other groups for no reason. Or maybe you are like Bush concerning 9-11 and your conclusion is, "They are just evil."

King Wenclas said...

What people don't seem to get is exactly what Leopold said-- that this is my blog and my take on the lit-world.
This is why I've refused time and again to sign on (or sign the ULA onto) someone's political agenda. Our agenda is literature. I can't speak for the ULA beyond the basic outlines of that, because I know our group consists of many diverse viewpoints.
Still, to insist that the lit-world isn't corrupt is to have your head in the sand. Look up my "Special Report" on the NEA a few years ago. That documented the situation in just that one aspect very well.
As Noah points out, we also are confronted by "liberals" who complain about the corporate dominance of the culture-- except, apparently, when it comes to literature. Then they're quite eager to do business with the monopolists.
To those lit-gruntworkers out there trying to make it: Can't you see that the present hierarchical system gives the writer no power or leverage (unless you're well-connected)? We're trying to change that, by seting up a horizontal, cooperative system where the artists themselves are in charge. I've explained this concept again and again on this blog-- but our opponents are incapable of understanding it. They are simply unable to look outside the walls of the present system's box. They won't even consider alternatives to it. Their minds, unfortunately, are closed.
The most ridiculous accusations, from my perspective, is that we want to be just like Eggers and Co. That we just want to sell out. If so, I would have done it. In the 90's my newsletter had as paying subscribers a "Who's Who" of trendy young writers. I could list them all here-- to do so would embarrass them. I could have played the same ass-kiss game that Tom Bissell has been doing (or that, in his own way, pathetic Raymond Carver did) to try to be a member of "The Club." Instead I burned my bridges to them-- all of them-- with the ULA's Moody Protest, because ALL of these lauded and approved writers insisted on turning a blind eye to something that-- however much one wishes to rationalize it-- was BLATANTLY wrong. (If you think that a super-wealthy guy who lives on the most exclusive enclave in America should be receiving philanthropic grants, then you're entirely clueless.)
My fault was in believing in my principles and standing by them.
Do I want to sell out? Do you think I'm not for real? That I'm just out for myself? Then come to Philly (or Zytron) and see how I live.
Well, golly gee, the literati were okay with me reviewing J.T. Leroy in the pages of the ultra-trendy Insider mag Bookforum in 2000. NOW though they don't like what I'm doing-- because I and my allies sincerely want to improve literature, to make it relevant and democratic; to live up to the principles which the phonies will advocate but don't actually live.
(FACTS FACTS FACTS: Check the mastheads of mainstream large circulation magazines, those which determine the direction of the culture, that decide which writers and artists are covered, and you'll find, invariably, nothing but Ivy Leaguers, with an upper-class Brit or two thrown in. Is this representative of our culture? Is this the way things should be? I say not. What say you?)

King Wenclas said...

By looking at the "Poetry" thread below, we can see what sets people off about us.
1.) That we speak the truth. (As that post does.)
2.) That we exist! People really got bothered when I said that the ULA was growing and I liked its progress. Then all hell broke loose.
Close those eyes and ears! No contrary opinions allowed.
The lit-world: "Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.")

Jeff Potter said...

To the guy who said about Leopold that he was finally someone reasonable to talk to. What's up there? I'm reasonable! I respond to details and give specific responses. Reasonable, I tell ya! And I see reason popping up everywhere on our side, sometimes in unfamiliar garb but it's there!

Then the (Anony)Mouse guy brings up one of the hoariest illusions in America. And he's supposedly literate! The subject of most modern literature is that his idea that "quality will out" is dead wrong! His remark was that if underground writing seemed like it would sell to any editor then they would publish it. That's rich! Yeah, the "free market" is really free. Corporate life is simple! Yeah!

Then several people, including him, mention publishers doing things only for the career and the money. Well, life ain't that simple there either. For sure, the career is biggest to them: but results aren't what bring advancement today. Have results ever determined careers in bureaucracies? Hello? As regards money: lit-publishing is IN THE TANK. Literary houses have been in a free-fall for about a decade now. (Didn't about half the univ presses fold a year or two ago?) C'mon, people, let's be aware! Literature is today in dire straits in terms of business. That's a big reason why people are so responsive to us. We are going to outsell them, but that won't be hard. They're going under. But my own OYB d-i-y project, in contrast, is in the black and building steam. We're not resentful of success. How simplistic!

Leopold seems to have mentioned something about even the lit journals didn't start out with a big bankroll, or some such. Maybe his typing got out of hand, but actually that's how many lit journals did start out: bankrolled by an out of touch fat cat. This hasn't helped their viability or relevance! But it did keep them in print and in soirees.

There's actually a fascinating dynamic at play. Insiders have been exposing and exploring it to a small, fragmented extent within the pub-trade for years but we're popularizing it. And we're upping the ante. Our goal is to bust lit out of its smug, low-sales straitjacket. We're not only questioning overt assumptions, we're challenging actual behaviors (which, typically, go against stated ideals). And we're showing another method in the many things we DO.

Another small example of the complexity relates to the literary journals someone mentioned: the obvious case is that no one reads them, but that people buy zeens, even the challenging ones, by the thousands even though they have no real distribution system and even though there's no career benefit from reading them. The zeen model points a way to hope and success that's superior to the literary journal model in every way but the bureaucratic.

Another example is when the guy says that mainstream publishers cover the underground all the time. Yeah, well, it helps to see how they cover it, what they pick, and what happens to those books after 6 months. There are worthy details to note here!

This is actually a complex project. We are up front and detailed about what we do and why, every time. Sure, we're tactical and keep surprises in store. But our backtrail is there for all to see. Every act stood up for and SIGNED.
Keep up with where we're going if you can. Pick another act to track if you think something else out there is better. And while you're at it: if you find something better, let us know what it is, and why, and how it's worked for you.

Yeah, we're not exciting. And someone else is? Or are you just negative? Dudes, when you say we suck, say who doesn't, or else you're a loser.



- Leopold said...

Re my comment about lit-journals starting out small:

I meant this in a general sense - a lot of mid-sized presses and big-sized (pre-random house, etc... takeover) presses that had been around for a long time started out small. I'm not sure about the lit-journals in the US, but several of the ones in Canada when they started were something freah and independent but basically grew into the staid status-quo enforcers they are now. Even the Paris Review was a new kid on the block at one point. Bankrolled, elitest or not, it got where it was (whether you believe it's doing a good job or - like most of us - not) by working at it and putting it's money down on what it wanted to do. People come in when we're doing the same thing - although, with a much more democratic goal - and say we're only doing it because we're jealous...and that we'll never amount to anything.

Certainly, if you look at publishing in the last twenty years, it has increasingly become a hobby for the rich who either buy up or squeeze out more ground-based organizations.

I probably should have been more general since i basically meant that no organization that truly makes change starts out with backing and wide-spread support from those in control: lit-related or otherwise. Mainly, I was trying to make our actions understandable within the limited economical-slash-'meritocracy' perspective our adversaries exist inside.

And, for the record, I wasn't lobbying for or think I am the 'voice of reason' for the ULA. It's a clever little tactic to try and divide us - remember bullies in school? - but I think we're all above falling for such nonsense.

- Leopold said...

Oh, and I don't want my argument above to be taken as saying that becoming like the Paris Review is our goal, because we are working for accessible writing, we are doing it without financial OR moral support from the literary or upper crusts and we are working to put writing into the hands of EVERYBODY, particularly those who have been ignored, not just those priviledged few who have the money or the connections to start a fun little exclusive tree-fort.

They have done everything in their power to crush us - even before we were a cohesive movement - when we were just lowly unpublished 'losers'. We attack that particular publication so much because it is an effigy for everything we see as wrong in the scene.

Noah Cicero said...

To Wenclas, Potter, Hall, Leopold, Renello, Nowlan, and the rest of the ULAers, a poem by Ezra Pound called "The Rest"

O helpless few in my country,
O remnant evnslaved!
Artists broken against her,
A-stray, lost in the villages,
Mistrusted, spoken against,

Lovers of beauty, starved,
Thwarted with systems,
Helpless against the control;

You who can not wear yourselves out
By persisting to success

You who can only speak,
Who can not steel yourselves into reiteration;

You of the finer sense
Broken against false knowledge
You who know at first hand,
Hated, shut in, mistrusted:

Take thought:
I have weathered the storm,
I have beaten out my exile.

Anonymous said...

Leopold, I agree with you 100%. The ULA has been successful in uniting great minds: Yours, Pat Simonelli's, and my own (Ahem, let me rub my knuckles on my chest).

Each ULA member has their own individuality: this has to be driven into the minds of this blogs readers.

The political mumbo jumbo from the previous blog is so...March 15th Tony Christini. The same shit over and over.

Ya' know--I try not to be ignorant. I do actually read what has been said on this blog, from ULA members and the anonymous alike. I take everything said into consideration too!

I'm not quick to respond to negative feedback--If someone doesn't like my poetry, fine. Fuck 'em. They don't have to read it. I actually feel flattered that they went out of their way to waste two minutes of their life to announce "Poem by Marissa Ranello...this is bad poetry."

If it was that awful--than I obviously left an impression. And that's my goal, like it or not--to leave a gender-bending-after-taste on society.

But I actually did take the time to read some of Tony Christini's shit last week, and he wrote a piece titled "Blissfully Free of Politics." In this piece, Christini proposed the question, "Why is it assumed that a writer fitting these descriptions [black, or gay, or Arab, or handicapped, or HIV-positive, or Jewish, or raising a child alone, or Latina, or living on a reservation] who nevertheless wants to write a book, fiction or nonfiction, that doesn't "intervene" politically is unusual, even an aberration?"

1 - Monica Ali (Bengali)
2 - Zadie Smith (Black)

As a matter of fact, Granta 81, Best of Young British Novelists 2003 features some great (although I'm not insane about Smith) non-political works.

Where are gay non political writers hiding? Take a look at my site, and Simonelli's site--I'm sure there's a few there. We have black writers, gay writers, Jewish writers, Janet Buck (Ugh!) is a handicapped writer who has affiliations with many non-political organizations. So why FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE PUFFS is it so hard to understand how a group can identify themselves as "apolitical?".

Anonymous said...

A couple of falsehoods need to be cleared up. Marissa, you're quoting Dan Green on his weblog, not me. If you want to read something I wrote you might try my first Monday Report, "A Few Notes on the Literary Establishment," or the second one. Or see my websites.

The ULA manifesto establishes a number of political principles, as well as aesthetic ones.... So the question isn't whether ULA is political, but to what extent in what ways. ULA would have to stop doing a good bit of what it has been doing if it wants to be apolitical.

There are quite a number of apolitical ULA aspects, some of them quite valuable, in my opinion.

As is commonly known by now, I'm more interested in the politically progressive side of ULA than anything else, partly on principle, and partly for personal reasons, and partly for aesthetic reasons (though again I value the exposure to the diversity of other writings).

I've also suggested that an increased emphasis on independent popular progressive political priorities and realities would benefit ULA strategically. This is my opinion and a suggestion, not advice, and so surely not out of line on an open discussion forum.

(Also I have no problem understanding how a lit/writers group can identify themselves as apolitical. Having apolitical aspects, at least, makes lots of sense for such a group. But nothing could be more obvious than the many political aspects and actions, formal documents even, of ULA--that is unless we ludicrously restrict our understanding of the "political" to the grotesque theater and p.r. operations of the two dominant so-called "political" parties, the Democrats and Republicans, the paired extensions of the business establishment.)

King Wenclas said...

I agree, in that sense (the broader meaning of the term) we are political, in that we're involved in discussing ideas publicly; we understand the notion of a polity.
In a sense, this is our reason for being. In a true democracy, every citizen has equal access to the arena of free speech-- is able to add, on an equal basis, his or her voice to the mix. This society isn't in any way a democracy (and wasn't really intended to be; Hamilton would be shocked at the idea). A Rupert Murdoch-- or George Soros, if you will-- has ten thousand times the "free speech" than does any one of us.
The only way we can counter this is by working together, as writers and artists, to build a platform on which we can stand to be heard. The ULA site is our voice-- and yes, we're a diversity of ideas, voices, viewpoints. We're constructing our own delivery system for writing. That's our only platform.

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