Thursday, April 19, 2007

Philly Media Puzzles

A Contradiction:

The ULA appears to be circumscribed by the notoriety it received in its early days, criticized for it, yet that notoriety, including of myself, remains the focal point for commentators who write about us. Do we therefore jettison the notoriety or embrace it?

1.) An article in Philadelphia's City Paper today says some good things about the ULA-- "new and improved"-- yet the article is framed by obligatory knocks on myself. "The Madness of King Wenclas," a blurb on the cover says. Inside, a caption beneath a photo of me mentions the ULA's "puzzling" feuds with Rick Moody and Dave Eggers.
(What's so puzzling? The ULA went after Moody for specific causes, the misuse of arts grant money, and other misdeeds. Eggers has on more than one occasion gone after us.)

The photo, the emphasis on myself in the presentation of the article, is puzzling because we wanted a photo of other ULA performers to run, we requested this and made every effort to carry this out. I'm not in any way the focus of our 4/22 show and shouldn't really have been the focus of the article. (Though I well know unpredictable happenings come with the territory of going after press coverage.)

2.) A nice mention appeared from Steven Wells in the Philadelphia Weekly yesterday about our event, in a column devoted to U.K. punk writer Jon Savage. Sterling company. Still, it was only a mention, though the Philly-based Underground Literary Alliance is the most exciting writers group in America.

3.) The city's leading newspaper, the Inquirer, resolutely refuses to cover us at all. They have presented feature articles on the city's blandest literary happenings. What's their problem? Are we too much of a threat? Perceived competition to their talent? I don't get it. Top dogs should have more belief in themselves than that. You'd think their gray newspaper would be excited about our kind of literary fire. They risk being left behind as we take off-- and we will take off, to fill the vacuum in literary culture.

4.) Sister newspaper to the Inky, the Philly Daily News is simply unfathomable. Their leading journalist, Royko-wannabe Stu Bykofsky, produces puzzlingly irrelevant columns like the one which begins and ends with the words, "I am an elephant." Clearly Stu is in his own world. The mad hectic stress of the planet has become too much maybe for any commentator to handle. "Byko" sits in the Daily News offices drawing circles on paper. Then he wanders to the zoo in an effort to find a minute of sanity. What does he discover? Can he put the pieces of his shattered mind back in place? "I am an elephant."

It's all very puzzling.

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