Blogs are peaking right now. From hereon, by the simple law of supply-and-demand, there will be too many of them for any one of them to have much value.Lit-blogs can't stand on their own. The mistake Frank Wilson makes is thinking they are revolutionary in and of themselves. They will be revolutionary only if their content is revolutionary-- only if the words they post represent real change, and not merely one more outlet for the same-old same-old.Do bourgeois writers and journalists want change?All evidence says no-- that you're more interested in hanging on to your vanishing turf. You flee from ideas contrary to those supporting the status quo.You run away from any semblance of real debate.We all know this.For you and your genteel readers, this is a fundamental flaw.Abandoning the past is an uncomfortable moment for those invested in that past, but it has to occur if an art is to progress.If it's to survive amid the mad noise of the world.
Your Highness,If by "revolutionary" writing, you mean the kind of soporific, bloviating, insipid, delusional, self-aggrandizing claptrap you post on your blog, then we here at Books, Inq. must admit you're right, we're not revolutionary.You talk a good game, your vainglorious highness, but what else ya got?
Wow! A mask drops and one sees an honest opinion. Too bad you didn't give specifics.If you read my blog more carefully you'll find an idea or two to contend with.Ideas are what the ULA is ultimately selling.They're what the literary establishment fears the most.Such as:-The present system for producing writers, despite the enormous expense of it, isn't producing great literature.-Fiction and poetry are becoming marginalized in this society.-Book review sections are failing because they're not connecting with the general public.-No art survives by remaining static-- yet status quo literary apologists resist new ideas.-The ethos of DIY, in which writers sell directly to the audience-- in which writers, and not bureaucrats, are in charge-- is one of those ideas.I made these points, and many others, in last week's WHYY interview.I assume you have no opinion about them. Because you disagree with them, they are automatically "soporific, bloviating, delusional," et.al.What a closed mind!And yet such a narrow-minded, unimaginative person is responsible, through his position at the INKY, for announcing News about literature and the culture. How can this be possible?You make my points well, my man, through your attitude. You're a great illustration of why established literature is stagnant; why efforts to change the situation are ignored.The point I made in my comment stands. You not only don't want to debate (or hear) contrary ideas; you're apparently incapable of doing so: "soporific, bloviating, delusional," et.al.We-- writers by and large shut out by this society-- are fighting for space in the marketplace of ideas. We have every right to do so.Any democracy presupposes that every citizen have a voice-- or the opportunity for a voice.Daily newspapers like yours traditionally have had a near monopoly on the dissemination of ideas in a city. While this is changing, the INKY still has ENOUGH of a platform for the ULA to call it on its exclusionary behavior.I'm doing this right now, publicly.The ULA is a national organization based in Philly. We've been staging, or participating in, exciting shows across the city. (Another this Wednesday.) We also have a small press publishing a new kind of writing. Yet INKY ignores us, and has for seven years. Why?Perhaps you can manage a more coherent reply than name-calling.
"Yet INKY ignores us, and has for seven years. Why?" -Pawn WenclasIt's just a guess, but I bet it's, 'cause you're a crybaby jerk? Oops, name-calling huh? Oh well, I'm just a heckler anyway.As a member of the disconnected general public you're sure is the reason for the failure of book review sections, I'd like to point out that your blogs suck, Pawn, and the Books, Inq. blog is one I look at every day. It doesn't prove anything, but it's a data point you'll ignore, I'm sure. [insert Wenclas whine here] "-The present system for producing writers, despite the enormous expense of it, isn't producing great literature."What's this proclamation based on? Your whine, once again, of being overlooked? Some might call that bloviation, you know? "-Fiction and poetry are becoming marginalized in this society."Where's the backup for this? .. ah, 'nother bloviation? Rack-jobbers killed paper-bound poetry. Fiction on the other hand, seems very much alive."-No art survives by remaining static-- yet status quo literary apologists resist new ideas."New ideas? Your 'new' ideas ain't so new, Pawn - crying is old, old hat."-The ethos of DIY, in which writers sell directly to the audience-- in which writers, and not bureaucrats, are in charge-- is one of those ideas."And no one who reads the Books, Inq. blog would think the blog's writers oppose that idea. If you'd dry your tears and shelf your self-pity for a couple minutes you'd know that, Pawn. Well, maybe you'd need 25 more IQ points first. Oops, more name-calling. It just slips out. I don't understand it. -blue
Nice try, Blue-- but my arguments can be and have been documented.Literature-- including literary fiction, and even Harry Potter-- is restricted to the top 20% of this society. Simply ask for and check the demographics of leading lit journals.It's also a fact that newspaper book review sections in this country are vanishing. Am I making up that fact?You might want to ask why no one is reading these sections.Great writers? Who? Where?Like the caller to the radio show I was on, will you seriously rank the very bourheois Anita Brookner, symbol of literature now, with a Dostoevsky?No, what we see today is well-crafted mediocrity; writers who value polish over substance.In poetry of course the situation is worse; no Dylan Thomases, Berrymmans. or Rexroths to be found anywhere except in the underground.Crying? What SHOULD I do?I'm a refugee from Michigan. Should I have joined the Militia instead?Ignore the fact, but there are many thousands, millions really, of dispossessed folks in this country, casualties of the de-industrialization of America; a history of this nation which comfortable boozhie people can't even see.SOMETHING has to change. I write and advocate because I prefer, first, to attempt change that way.Look up my essay from 1994, North American Review, "Detroit: Among the Lower Classes" for a hint of what I'm talking about, and why I'm motivated.(And next time try answering some of the real arguments I've made in my posts here, instead of displaying more usual and sneering snobbery. Thanks.)
Hey Blue-- I checked out your blog. Pretty hilarious. You're playing the role of bohemian to the hilt, aren't you?Yet at the same time you don't want to change anything?The literary world is just fine?America itself is just fine? Nothing troubles you at all. Give you a pint of whiskey and everything's okay. Stop picking on those boozhie people, Wenclas!Stop whining! (Pointing out the classist nature of this country, opposing the present system in any way, is considered whining.)I hear a lot about Santa Cruz. I hear it's made up of tourists and vagrants. Slumming tourists with lots of money.Cali of course is filled with money-- great mansions on mountaintops-- wealth that puts even the east coast version to shame.I don't know what kind of game you play with rich people. Myself, I'm not in a role of cute quirky poet. I ask to be treated as an equal-- which is all the ULA asks for in this very snob-dominated city.We're not afraid to talk back to the big guys.
(Apologists for the status quo always remind me of the loyal slaves in the movie "Gone With the Wind." Scarlett's in trouble while passing through shantytown to collect her rent money. Big Joe hears her screams, and rushes to rescue Miss Scarlett. "Big Joe! Big Joe!" "I'm coming Miss Scarlett!")I don't know what underground poetic tradition Beau Blue comes from. As I said on the radio, I like poetry which is well-written but also has something to say-- Rexroth at his best; a Californian. California was once known for activist writers with something to say. Frank Norris's essays were a big influence on me-- they remain relevant today.Jack London and John Steinbeck remain the best examples of activist writing-- American writing; the genuine voice of this country. I don't know what kind of writers California is known for today. McSweeney's?