Monday, May 21, 2012

How Do You Fight a Smear?

I've written before here about false narratives-- deliberate distortions which through widespread perpetuation become labels; shorthand substitutes for the truth. The most effective false narrative against the currently inactive Underground Literary Alliance was Tom Bissell's smear essay, "Protesting All Fiction Writers!" which appeared in The Believer in 2003. That essay has been retitled and become "Grief and the Outsider" in Bissell's new essay collection, Magic Hours. I don't know what changes he's made to the essay. I just reread the original and it was more malicious than I remembered. If I judge by descriptions of a couple other of the essays in the new collection, Bissell has made his way as something of a self-described "literary assassin," not only in our case. I'll likely be posting more about this matter. In his mentions of the ULA in interviews about his new book, Bissell doesn't seem to have learned anymore about us than he knew about us nine years ago-- which was not much.

I have a twitter account-- @KingWenclas. I can't say I've learned how to use it. I may have to do so, in order to counter Bissell's false narrative, which no doubt was a factor in the blackballing of ULA writers.

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