Friday, May 03, 2013

The Usual Conformity

It’s amazing to me how nothing within the literary establishment ever changes. Its promoters, like Lucas Wittmann at Daily Beast/Newsweek live within a narrow cultural room. They’re unable or unwilling to see outside. You’d think they’d be aware of changing currents—Newsweek, after all, discontinued its print issue. But instead they endlessly recycle the same stale ideas.

Case in point is this piece by academy-approved poet Charles Simic:

Daily Beast, incidentally, is always in step with establishment and/or administration political programs. Does the administration want to discredit Russia? Here comes the requisite article in Daily Beast. Is an Immigration bill on the table? Here comes the pro-immigration Daily Beast article on the proper day. A question: Are they paid to behave as administration mouthpieces? It mustn’t pay well, otherwise Newsweek would still be publishing.

Re the Simic article. The four writers mentioned at the top of the piece are thoroughly status quo writers, lavishly supported by waves of funding. The late Steve Kostecke did a piece for the ULA on Yiyun Li (his essay no longer available) which pointed out how she was published in The New Yorker and Paris Review simultaneously, when she was a star pupil at Iowa, though dubious claims were made that she was found in the slush pile. As with the others Simic cites, hardly a boat person or refugee from the Mexican economy. Their style of immigration is a universe apart from the unskilled masses being brought into this country to become a permanent underclass. Becoming high-brow MFA writers is likely not their fate! Odds are they won’t even learn the language; in this “multicultural” climate they won’t be encouraged to learn it, because that would defeat the point: obedient help for rich people, combined with lower wages.

Re the literary art. NO art progresses via status quo thinking and institutionalized conformity. History shows that art refreshes itself only through rebellion. Through creative destruction. Through artists willing to turn their art on its head.


King Wenclas said...

One could write a book just on the contradictions within a place like Daily Beast. Its staffers are no doubt predictably "Leftist," and so anti-corporate in their proclamations. yet right now the site is carrying a banner ad from Credit Suisse saying "How to find the perfect corporate match"-- with love struck robots courting each other. Layers of unintended meaning. Are people in the corporate world themselves robots? That's what's implied.
There may be something to that. We cwertainly get from the establishment literary media, and from academia, nothing but robotic thinking.

King Wenclas said...

p.s. To read more ideas criticizing the establishment literary game, buy me ebook, "The McSweeneys Gang," available at Nook or Kindle.
Think and read outside the box!