Monday, October 31, 2011
The Motivation of a Toothache
Right now I have a toothache which causes constant stress and aggravation. I'm not sleeping. If you have no insurance, and no money, seeing a dentist is an unreal dream.
I had a tooth like it a year ago. Eventually the tooth broke up and fell out, not without a certain amount of pain.
Poor writers in this country are in a race of time to see what happens first: you die, or all your teeth fall out.
Here's hoping that the tooth at least makes for some strong writing!
(To read strong writing, purchase Crime City USA, available as an ebook. Or, for more subtlety, try Mood Detroit.)
Reality America. You'll find no stronger and relevant writing anyplace. Writing the literary elite fears to read.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The Literary Group as Non-Person
Questions for Overdogs
2.) Why is the response to such dissent always in the most underhanded way possible-- constructing false
narratives and spreading them privately; or, when responding directly, always, ALWAYS, under fake identities?
3.) Why no response to facts and ideas-- such as in my critique of the Jonathan Lethem essay?
4.) Why go after a lone powerless voice-- and not the hugely powerful voices of media monopoly? Would that be "biting the hand" that sustains you?
Friday, October 28, 2011
Metaphor of the Mask
Lit's leading lights wear bright beaming masks of social justice and concern. Beneath the masks they're ruthless bastards who were raised with the knowledge that this is a dog-eat-dog world. It's why they fight to get into bastions of Elitism and Privilege like Columbia, Yale, or Harvard. Or crony-up quickly enough with that crowd. Cronyistas. They understand that playing the game on an UNlevel playing field favoring them is what it's about. Everything else from them is lip service. Token gestures for suckers like myself.
Visualize a smiling fake face on the lot of them, then realize it's only a mask. Beneath it, like the character in my melodrama, they're monsters.
Where Was Jennifer?
On Thursday evening so-called 99 percenter writer Jennifer Egan was in Philadelphia giving a talk to a decidedly upscale audience at the main Philadelphia Free Library. Did she visit the Occupy Philadelphia site later?
When I got off my job after 9 pm, I took a walk through the Occupy Philly site, where people were snuggling into cold tents against the chilly night. I looked around. I didn’t see famed novelist Jennifer Egan anyplace.
I suppose that after her event Jennifer took the Amtrack straight back to her yuppified Brooklyn enclave. Back to the illusory comfort of the polished pots and pans carefully arrayed in her pristine kitchen.
FICTION FOR REAL AMERICANS
I’m pleased to announce that American Pop Lit books will not be publishing any of the corrupt culture’s leading elitist writers. Sorry, your cronyism, snobbery, and phoniness won’t work here.
LATEST RELEASE: Crime City USA, available in ebook.
What I like about football player Tim Tebow more than his strength of character—a rare thing nowadays—is his unorthodox way of playing the game. The critics are all over him, of course. He doesn’t throw the ball in an orthodox manner! He hasn’t learned the proper way he’s supposed to play the game.
Is there an analogy to American literature?
Only that everyone in the established literary world is orthodox in the way they think and write. They’re formed from the same cookie-cutter model. All of them. Every one. This makes them beatable.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
About Jonathan Lethem and Postmodernism
Lethem's objective isn't to write a clear and compelling essay. It's to present a facade of intellectualism, combined with trademark McSweeney's-style cutesiness added to show that, hey, he's one of us.
Behind his clog of words, Lethem has two points. He doesn't try to prove the points. They're assumed. The herd he writes for accepts the points on face value. The essay is affirmation. "Hallelujahs" in a praise-pomo church service. The purpose of the essay is showing off.
Lethem's two points:
1.) Literary postmodernism is under continual assault.
2.) Postmodernism is like the film character Liberty Valance.
POINT ONE: Because literary postmodernism isn't under real attack, Lethem doesn't need to construct a real argument. His essay is a victory dance over pretend opponents. The idea is to make the unquestioning readership feel good: Rome replaying its wars with Carthage decades after the fact. A ritualistic dance.
"My version allegorizes the holding at bay, for the special province of literary fiction, of contemporary experience in all its dismaying or exhilarating particulars, as well as a weird, persistent denial of a terrific number of artistic strategies for illuminating that experience. The avoidance, that's to say, of any forthright address of what's called postmodernity, and what's lost in avoiding it (a sacrifice I see as at best pointless, an empty rehearsal of anxieties, and at worst hugely detrimental to fiction)."
What is he talking about?
Jonathan Lethem says of postmodernism:
"--the word is often used as finger-pointing to a really vast number of things that might be seen as threatening to canonical culture."
Really? By who?
Today, postmodernism IS canonical culture. The French critics Lethem defends in his essay are celebrated by the academy. They're part of the canon.
Lethem talks of the "collapsing of high and low cultural preserves--."
This sure isn't happening in Lethem's world! He's safely in the "high" end, along with metafiction, antinarrative, intertextuality, unreliable narration, "surrealism or magical realism or hysterical realism," irony, and the rest of the postmodern jumble. The academy does have values, of a sort. The intellectual jumble Lethem describes is its highest value.
The items Lethem lists and defends are now part of "high" culture. They've been around for fifty years. There's nothing threatening to "the literary community" about them. Go onto trendy lit-sites like HTML Giant and you see that these ideas and strategies ARE the literary community.
(To read this post in its entirety, click on http://kingwenclas.blogspot.com/p/jonathan-lethem-and-postmodernism.html )
Monday, October 24, 2011
"Oppressed Writers Incorporated"
RUMOR HAS IT that organizers of Occupy Writers, that radical place of upscale protest, are ready to take their activism to the next level. Which means, of course, non-profit status to rake in contributions from rich people.
In order to appeal to those rich donors, they'll need to put their most successful and genteel writers out front-- exactly the way they did from the start. Do it, as well, with a sympathetic twist. Ergo, the name change to Oppressed Writers Incorporated.
Here's a quick look at their stellar line-up, with credentials for Oppressed Writer status listed:
Insider recipient of just about every possible establishment position and prize.
Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket
Possibly the richest writer in America.
Received $665,000 advance from Rupert Murdoch.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel
Rich heiress bought The Nation and made herself Editor.
Lit-establishment Cronyista writer for New Yorker, Vanity Fair, New York Times, et.al.
Prize-manipulating scion of wealth.
Once wrestled a camera away from a female ULA member one-third his size.
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist embracing the 99% from her gentrified Brooklyn kitchen.
MacArthur Genius designee wants Oppressed status for the postmodern establishment.
Oppressed Writers Incorporated hold their opening meeting at the swanky Russian Tea Room in Manhattan.
Ms. Prose steps to the microphone to make the opening speech, but has trouble talking with the flow of tears in her eyes. Swanky waiters bustle between swanky tables taking orders.
"This is all so wonderful . . . all you wonderful Oppressed Writers . . . I, I feel so wonderful at this wonderful community of the common people . . . I, I. . . ."
Prose begins bawling uncontrollably, her elegantly manicured hands clutching a silk handkerchief. Daniel Handler in dapper tux and top hat leads her away while Oppressed Writers in the room munch on canapes and sip quite loudly-- "Snort! Snort!"-- from expensive glasses of wine.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Crimes Against Writers
TWO LITERARY WORLDS REPRISE
Now that established literati have magically transformed from aristocrats to democrats (see Occupy Writers), at least in their own minds, will they stop blackballing dissident American writers?
I'm reposting the link to my iNewp article, "The Tale of Two Literary Worlds," because it's a much-needed take on media realities and literary truths. See
I wrote the essay as a signal that, "Hey! I'm still here. The literary underground is still here."
We're still out there. Still writing. Fighting for survival. Ever fighting. Not all of us are dead yet.
Jennifer Egan, Oppressed Writer
A 99 per center. One of the people! What a perfect bullshit life. Jennifer Egan is rich, comfortable, and successful-- and one of the revolutionary masses at the same time. Who knew?
Thursday, October 20, 2011
SHOW ME What Democracy Looks Like
Occupy Writers as Metaphor
Allowed next were credentialed folks, those with Approved credits that, if not exactly badges of full success, are adequate tokens of conformity to things-as-they-are.
Unwanted apparently are bottom level writers-- including actual literary radicals, those who've challenged the system, or written polemics outside the bounds of the domesticated "literary" art.
What we see in Occupy Writers is Feldman and Sharlet catering to Power. They've done the very thing the Occupy movements are protesting against.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
What Kind of Revolution Is It?
What does democracy look like?
If you want to see what co-optation looks like, see the list of big names at
Many of these people are the most privileged writers in America.
The 99%? Where?
The last time I saw many of these same aristocrats, they were running over downtrodden writers with their carriages.
These folks have been literature's snobby aristo class, holding swanky soirees in modern-day palaces. To the protests, petitions, and revelations of corruption of the Underground Literary Alliance they erected a wall of hostility. Many of them verbally and even physically attacked us-- or had their security people deal with us. Now the same people are suddenly outside the palace, manning the barricades. The very same crowd! They shift stances as easily as changing cloaks. For them, it's really that simple. Being in control is all.
Their most hilarious moment is a tweet from Thomas Beller suggesting an Occupy Hamptons, with rich writers and publishers like Jason Epstein involved. Uh, Tom, the Hamptons are solidly in the top 1% of America. maybe the top 0.01%. Who will they protest against? Themselves? What's next? Occupy Fisher's Island?
I write this as one who's fought against plutocrats and media monopolies for years, and paid a price for it.
The originators of Occupy Writers-- Jeff Sharlet, a professor at Dartmouth College, and Kiera Feldman, a recent Brown University grad-- seem well-intentioned. Their associations with top 1% colleges, however, indicate they live in a closed world. They may not understand the realities of how the cultural system operates. They're certainly not among the great unwashed.
If they support democracy, will they support democracy in literature?
How many of the big talents on their list ever-- EVER-- write about the themes of the Occupy protests, namely greed, corruption, and class?
Francine Prose? Rick Moody? "Lemony Snicket" aka Daniel Handler? Handler is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and was also one of the ULA's most persistent foes, working to discredit us at every turn. Keith Gessen? Gessen was lately observed celebrating the very UNeven playing field of American literature in the pages of a conglomerate magazine, Vanity Fair, which is devoted to the celebration of wealth. These persons and many others on the list are the literary 1%. Literary aristocrats.
What kind of revolution is this?
Can anyone answer?
To read tales of class in America now, pick up my Mood Detroit. To read a manic noir take on corruption, read Crime City USA. The e-books are available for 99 cents each at Nook or Kindle. Can you afford it?
Question for Occupy Writers
Are you for democracy in literature; against corruption, hierarchy, and monopoly?
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Crime City USA is not as over-the-top as I thought!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Good vs. Evil
Crime City USA, my newest e-book, doesn't follow postmodernist theory. It believes in retro concepts of good and evil, right and wrong-- and depicts those concepts through character and plot. The chief villain, Fake Face, could be a metaphor for the duplicitous thinking and corrupt behavior which rules the established literary world today.
Art is truth.
Have you read Crime City USA?
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
"Protesting Plutocracy": a short story
A SHORT STORY BY KING WENCLAS
In the sterling office of the pseudo-intellectual literary journal n+1, staffers read on their phones and iPads about the "Occupy Wall Street" protests taking place. The staffers carry studied faces of hip concern. Being a literary intellectual is serious business. It takes work.
"Why can't we do something like that?" a staffer asks. "To show our affinity with the protests would increase our credibility. After all, we're supposed to be Social Democrats, aren't we?"
"Yes! Social Democrats!" a colleague affirms.
"Indubitably! Social Democrats!" a third voice agrees.
Heads among the others nod affirmatively.
"But, but what can we protest?" they ask themselves.
A large sign on a wall in the office says, "THINK URBAN," reminding them they're no longer behind the exclusive gates of yale, Columbia, or Harvard. This is Brooklyn. Their Ivy League preppiness, the ascots, bow ties, and cocktail dresses that might be found in a similar office, like the office of New Criterion, for instance, have been left behind.
"Well," one of them decides, "we might protest plutocracy in the literary realm. After all, that's our field, isn't it? We could make that our focus."
"Yes. It's only natural," a second staffer affirms.
It's only indubitably correct and right," a third staffer agrees.
Heads of others nod affirmatively.
"But, but, how do we possibly go about it?"
They sit stoically but glumly for several minutes, waiting for other ideas to arise. Being intellectual is serious work.
"I know! I know!" an inspired young woman says. "Let's ask Chad!"
They knock on the door of the office belonging to the journal's brainiac, Chad. The most serious thinker on a staff of serious thinkers. Inside, the man meditates, Franzen-like, in a tiny room filled with pigeons and other winged creatures. But no cellphones! It's a cellphone-free office. The birds look hopefully at the new visitors to the small space. In serious tones the visitors explain their dilemma to the serious man.
(To read the entire tale, including its shocking conclusion, click on the link below.)
Occupy Philly Update
-Today I noticed a more noticeable smell around the occupation site.
-I didn't see the hunger strike guy around this morning. I hope not to see him at McDonald's!
-I'm impressed by the apparent key people at the sight. Their enthusiasm and sincerity is contagious.
-The authorities' mistake was letting the protest grab such a key site-- right at City Hall. From their perspective, they should've given them a location more on the margins of town. One never knows how things will develop.
-For the other perspective, the protestors need a plan for increasing the momentum. A rebellion can't be static. It can't stand still. It has to keep moving forward. Its next steps should be plotted out. Playing things by ear doesn't work. Instead: stage-by-stage. Step-by-step. Increase the footprint and the noise. Otherwise inertia takes hold. A movement needs to keep moving or it's dead.
Ahead of the Zeitgeist
Monday, October 10, 2011
LITERARY NO-MONEY BALL
MUCH has been made of the book and movie “Moneyball,” about the Oakland Athletics baseball team ten years ago trying to compete with the mighty New York Yankees.
Ho hum. No biggie.
Examine instead the history of the Underground Literary Alliance.
The Oakland A’s were members of an exclusive club. They already had a seat at the table. Their budget was one-fourth or one-fifth that of the Yankees.
The ULA’s budget was 1/1000th or less than that of our competitors. We clashed with ultra-powerful ultra-rich hyper-millionaires like Dave Eggers and Daniel Handler, and with the monopolies that backed them. We had no credentials, no connections, no money, and no standing.
Yet we achieved great publicity, presented larger-than-life personalities, and sent vibrations of change through the Monolith. We panicked many at Official Lit’s highest levels. We were the most exciting phenomenon that’d happened in the literary world in decades, as evidenced by our shows and protests—historic events like our debate with The Paris Review at CBGB’s in 2001, or our crash of a “Howl” celebration at Columbia University five years later. History the literary establishment doesn’t want you to know. Our every appearance created buzz. We weren’t just underdogs. We were under-under-under-underdogs. Explosively radical to the max.
Where’s the movie?
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Dispatch from the Philadelphia Protests
Many questions are raised by the rise of the “Occupy” protests across the country—the same kinds of questions that were raised about the Tea Parties. Legitimate questions.
Such as: Where are the protests headed? What are the objectives? Do they have leaders? Will the protests be co-opted? Infiltrated?
Due to my past experiences at the center of a protest movement—the notorious Underground Literary Alliance—I’m uniquely positioned to assess and speak about these matters. Stay tuned.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Occupy Philly Protest Saturday
Who better to cover the Occupy Philadelphia actions than America's most radical-- at least most contentious-- writer?
Here's a shot of the protestors right before the start of the march to Independence Mall. I have other photos of the day's events. I have a few of them up on a separate page linked to the left. See "Photo Gallery." Stay posted for more reports. We may be living in interesting times.
Friday, October 07, 2011
Crime City USA!
WHERE? A violent American city.
WHO? Mysterious disguised figure Fake Face.
WHY? Hyper-pulp fiction, next wave pop literature.
HOW MUCH? 99 cents at Nook or Kindle.
"--noir offers a map of subversion."
"Noir is a critique of power. . . . Power and money are ugly and they rule."
Really? You don't say?
Pick up my new noir e-book Crime City USA at Kindle or Nook.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
I suppose because my experience running the Underground Literary Alliance increased my cynicism and hardened my vision. No way out. In noir fiction there's no way out.
Enablers of the Monolith
The herd of bourgeois wannabes see before them many illusory doors, leading nowhere. The real door is closed-- though I suppose they could knock very loudly upon it, if they find it among the others.
For those few writers like myself who've challenged the corrupt system, there's no door at all. Only a blank concrete monolithic wall.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Buy it now for 99 cents at Kindle or Nook.
The question: Who's going to innovate in the art of literature? Who'll create a more fun, accessible, user-friendly artistic product?
My new e-book is a step in the right direction.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
See for yourself.