Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ben Marcus and Establishment Cronyism

I found amusing and revealing Marcus's mention in his Harper's essay of the band The Silver Jews as an example of artists marginalized in this society.

The Silver Jews are led by establishment poet-darling David Berman, yet one more American child of extreme privilege. (His father appears to be the owner of Bermanco, one of the more notorious corporate lobbyist firms in Washington D.C.) David Berman has been house poet at the trendy trust fund lit-journal Open City as well as The Believer, the journal Marcus's wife Heidi Julavits edits. David Berman hasn't been marginalized at all. Instead, despite having little musical or poetic talent, he's been pushed, funded, hyped, and lauded (including by the likes of Billy Collins) over and over.

Ben Marcus, in his post at Columbia U, and through his friendships, is immersed in establishment cronyism. This is why he couldn't see anything wrong in last year's National Book Awards fiction and poetry awards, which were dominated by the privileged; the winners and many of the nominees coming from the upper levels of society and centered in the city of New York.

(To be continued.)

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