Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Insular Viewpoint

MOST AMAZING about my brief foray onto HTML Giant is that few of that crowd can conceive of the idea of writers existing outside academies or other kinds of institutions. Yet many great American writers did exactly that, from Jack London through Kerouac. (Even F. Scott Fitzgerald was a college dropout.) American lit has never before depended upon such a narrow class, with corresponding narrow outlook.

Not that the MFA degree has improved their kind of art. Most of them discuss issues through layers of academy jargon. Is that considered how to write well?

The focus of their art and their debate is as restrictive as academy’s walls. They’ll discuss vendors at the AWP conference, but not the AWP organization itself, which over the years has had its full share of corruption and scandal.

Still, a few HTMLers assert their intellectual independence. “I’m not a puppet!” a marionette cries, waving his arms about, though the audience can clearly see the strings attached.

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