Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: A Shameful Year

2006 was a shameful year for a literary establishment sinking deeper into corruption and irrelevance.

The "Nasdiij" affair exposed the patronizing racism of organizations like PEN.

Unlike Nasdiij, J.T. Leroy continues to be embraced by the literati, even though "his" life story was revealed to be an embarrassing fraud. Leroy's novels glamorized, for the amusement of a conscienceless elite, the notably UNglamorous world of child prostitutes. (This would stand as a nadir of establishment literary behavior were it not so typical.) Literary decision makers readily embrace phoniness while disdaining anything real.

The insular and predictable choices of the New York Times Book Review's best fiction books of the year demonstrate the ever-narrowing viewpoint at the top of today's literary world. The applauded authors are all well-connected well-trained house pets; safe and predictable.
What of the lit-world's behavior concerning the one true voice of literary integrity and independence, the Underground Literary Alliance?

It's more egregious than ever.

In the spring the ULA (along with the reputations of Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac) was publicly denounced by establishment attack dog Phillip Lopate from the stage of Columbia's Miller Hall. The contentious event raised scarcely a murmur from the sheep of the literary world.

Neither did my two-part expose this fall, appearing at the ULA's "Monday Report" (www.literaryrevolution.com) describing the big-money takeover of small press vehicle the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.

This signal example of the monopolization of literature would be ignored even if the ULA weren't involved in breaking the story. Criticizing the takeover would ruffle too many feathers of too many important literary people. Conclusion: Those who should have made noise about this are invertebrates. It's useless to look to them for change.
We're hated because we hold a mirror up to the cowardice and corruption of go-along-to-get-along lit folk. Their "progressive" profiles are shown to be cardboard cutouts with nothing behind them.

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