Friday, August 29, 2008

Art as Criticism, Criticism as Art

Enjoy the serialized novel at while it lasts. Has there been anything like it? "Plutocracy USA" is a fictional story which impressionistically records literary history, and comments on that history-- and on the art form, and on itself. The tale investigates the literary psyche: group and individual alike, in a hectic search for truth and meaning.
In the meantime, THIS blog contains a ton of new ideas, with arguments and justifications for those ideas. It's an imperfect but formidable book unto itself, as you'll discover if you jump into its archives.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Post Mortem I

Several frustrations about my work with the ULA:

The ease with which the opposition implanted its talking points into ULAers. Which led, ultimately, to my being blamed for every ULA failure, while our successes apparently dropped from the sky.

Draw an analogy to a Delorean-style car company taking on the then-giants in the 1970's. Imagine the company attacked, with focus of criticism on the head guy. (DeLorean of course was set-up personally.) ANYTIME you compete with a monopoly you're going to create enemies. The front guy is always going to be attacked, and-- as with DeLorean-- destroyed. Toward myself, too many ULAers took the "blame the victim" stance. The fault for opposition to us was mine. Why? For competing TOO WELL; for being too vociferous, and therefore "alienating" competitors and their flunkies who'd never give us the time of day anyway.

Because some ULAers wanted to buy the myth of the level playing field, it was easy for them to be panicked and stampeded by any anti-Wenclas statement made by low-level literati. The thinking: it's him who's the problem, not us, so let's throw him to the wolves and everything will be okay. Which is what happened. ULA solidarity, so necessary, was broken time after time.

I see no difference between anonymous hate mail sent in letters to someone (which I've received) and anonymous comments posted on a blog. The motivation is the same-- to harass and embarrass the person without attribution, responsibility, or repercussions. The goal isn't to debate-- but on the contrary to close off discomforting debate.

It's amazing how consistently my opponents across the board held to the same script. To the end they didn't vary from it. This includes the entire parade of false characters from "Bryan Guski" to "Jimmy Grace" to "Quilty 10" to "Harland/May" to those behind the many anti-ULA blogs that popped up regularly.

The inability of so many concerned parties to answer ANY questions about these matters-- to instead stonewall or run away-- raised more questions.

There were four main internal disputes in the ULA: in 2001, 2005, early 2007, and late 2007. The final one succeeded in detaching me. What was gained?

I was in the dark about each of them; was caught by surprise-- blindsided-- and have yet to receive about them a credible explanation. Given that, is it any wonder I've had it with all writers?

A major impetus behind the ULA campaign was a search for truth; for honesty and transparency; which proved to be elusive even within the ULA organization.

(p.s. My serial novel is ongoing at About a dozen sharp chapters to come.)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Death of a Giant

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a true literary giant-- and a true dissident who stood up to bureaucratic oppression in his country. He wasn't beyond criticizing liberal phoniness in the United States. Needless to say, a man of absolute integrity.

As a novelist, Solzhenitsyn proved that the stuff of literature, presented in a basic style, is timeless.

More than this, Solzhenitsyn realized that what we present in the West isn't good enough, because our junk culture, including most of our literature, is detached from eternal truths and divorced from the human soul. Yes, literature, as art, is a LIVING thing. What counts are not the rules, the dots and jots on the page, but the truth and emotion conveyed. ("King Lear," which I've been reading and re-reading of late, is the perfect example of this.)

The writer, like Solzhenitsyn, must believe first in a foundation of honesty and truth. This was crucially important for him in a society, the Soviet Union, built upon lies, and it's almost as true for us in America today which is engulfed in the culture of the Lie-- which is the essence of postmodernism as we know it. It's why I've argued for tearing down the house of literature and constructing another on a wholly new foundation. It's a worthy cause.

From the moment I read "Denisovich" then the Gulag saga, I was influenced and inspired, to a high degree, by the work and life of Solzhenitsyn. Not a bad model to have!