Monday, October 15, 2012

Choose One

Name the most egregious smear or most blatant distortion in the Tom Bissell Believer essay on the Underground Literary Alliance.

A.) The quote of the ULA as "the ghastliest group of no-talent whiners to have ever walked the earth."

B.) Calling the ULA "thuggish, cruel, and petty."

C.) Saying that writers felt "seriously threatened" and "terrorized" by us; that we achieved "true menace."

D.) Implying that the ULA's literary revolution would lead to "lots and lots of tombstones."

E.) Turning an afterthought mention of a university professor receiving a second grant, into the centerpiece of Bissell's discussion about our grants protests-- while ignoring the actual centerpiece of that report, Jonathan Franzen. To say we singled out the professor is an utter falsehood.

F.) Extensively comparing us to Bolsheviks.

G.) Comparing us to bureaucrats. (We're the opposite.)

H.) The statement: "I am not suggesting that the ULA wants to exterminate writers in a Stalinist burst of classocide."

I.) Calling our zine-style nicknames "a gesture of both concealment and aggression."

J.) Implying that the ULA wanted to determine "who could or could not write"-- when all we wanted was a seat at the table.

K.) Calling the exposure of arts grants corruption "player hating."

L.) Comparing one of the most highly placed writers in America to Victor Hugo's Jean Valjean.

M.) Taking unnecessary cheap shots at ULA writers while having read only excerpts of their work.

N.) Mistaking his biased preference for elitist over populist writing as "good" writing over "bad."

O.) Completely misrepresenting or misunderstanding a David Berman fake challenge to the ULA.

P.) This quote: "I have a high tolerance for people who regard things that offend them as 'injustice.'"
The most clueless sentence in the essay.

Q.) Implying at the end, after all the talk of the ULA as dangerous Bolsheviks ready to kill everything around us, that all we really wanted to do was sell out.

Tom Bissell can play at Mr. Empathy all he wants, but it doesn't change the fact that his essay on the ULA was a thorough hatchet job, and that its unnecessary republication smeared many writers.

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