A VARIATION OF THE "WHERE'S WALDO?" GAME.
"Harland," to me, appears fairly transparent. He first appeared recently on an old post of this blog which people from Bennington were finding when googling for info about one of their dead colleagues. Several new comments were added to the thread-- all from Bennington folks. We can assume Harland is in some way a Bennington person as well, and since he hid his identity-- unlike the others-- likely of greater stature, or at least someone known to myself. He's not a poet, has not responded to poetic aspects of the discussion, confining his attention to novelists. This narrows the field somewhat.
Why would Bennington be hyper about what I say? It's the home of two main antagonists of my campaign, one of them being the overmuch mentioned Poster Boy of Literary Corruption, known to all.
Who's the other guy? Someone who has writing skill combined with personal ambition and an extremely narrow outlook on literature-- always concerned, like so many of his kind, that writers follow the arbitrary "rules" of the game. When he wrote an essay about the ULA several years ago, he excerpted a piece of mine written in a Kerouac/Hubert Selby style-- and made sure to point out all necessary commas and such which were supposed to be there. This was a sign of his well-trained obedience, his anality, which is one of the first things the Rebellion is designed to overthrow. We wish to change the literary mentality itself, of which he's an exemplar.
Beyond this is a refusal not only to look one step ahead-- to see what literature can and should be in this culture-- but even to see it as it is now; the tool of huge, enormously funded institutions, from conglomerates to universities to foundations, which working together have imposed upon the art and its practitioners an institutional mindset. And so, in the essay, he made absurd remarks, such as no writers in the past criticized the literary system because it's always been so fragile.
Well, if literature today is so fragile-- and I don't dispute this-- then WHY IS THIS? Given the enormous expenditure, the hundreds of writing programs, the billions of dollars being spent to, one would think, make it a vibrant, ongoing concern; as healthy in society as it once was, why hasn't this worked? Isn't this something which we should be looking at? The second point to be made is that the institutions which control literature aren't fragile at all. They include monstrous Time-Warner, Murdoch, etc.: media giants with enormous power. The literature of the past never faced this kind of control.
A gross ugly beast has its slimy, dragon-like paw around a delicate, ever-withering flower. I'm trying to slay the dragon to release the flower; to plant it back in the ground so it can reconnect with its organic roots and become healthy and beautiful once more.
(Please keep up with other aspects of this discussion at www.happyamericaliterature.blogspot.com, or really, all of my blogs.)