Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Movies

I expected to like "Frost/Nixon" better than "Doubt." The reverse happened.

Possibly it was because Frost and Nixon were unappealing characters: self-absorbed schemers. "Doubt" had greater resonance because each of the three main characters was on a journey-- seeking each's greatly different version of the "good."

The priest and the school principal (Philip Seymour Hoffmann and Meryl Streep) were two unrealized halves-- progressive and conservative in battle with each other; each with as many flaws as strengths. The set-up was as if Streep were necessary to keep well-intentioned Hoffmann in balance. Contrary to what one might think, all is not doubt in the movie, for an answer is provided in the character of the third main character, a young nun, Sister James, who is farther along the spiritual path than either of her elders; exhibiting unselfish goodness.

"Frost/Nixon" tells you what to think about the story; a liberal pat answer that Nixon after all was a crook. In asserting this the pure liberals in the plot feel superior. In "Doubt" none of the characters feels pure or superior. The viewer is not told what to think-- but keeps thinking about the movie after leaving the theater.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New King Wenclas?

As I'm forced by circumstance to retool my strategy, it may be a good time to assess and alter the King Wenclas brand. I'm not quite the fire-breather many believe. What I have are fresh ideas for reviving literature-- and unshakeable belief in those ideas. (This more than anything throws people.) My task is to show writers from top to bottom that these ideas are timely and that they'll work.

To do that I plan to alter my tactics.
1.) More emphasis on this blog, for it to be the on-line focus of the ideas I offer. (AttackingtheDemiPuppets will be retained for exposing corruption and answering opponents.)
2.) Better clarity in explaining what the underground cause is about-- why we represent the true mainstream of American literature.
3.) An off-line newsletter, if I have time for it, focused on ideas. This is a return to my roots-- "zeening"-- my original outlet for writing.
4.) An oft-made but seldom-kept promise to myself: producing more of my own fiction and poetry.
5.) I leave open the option of promoting writers-- would love to discover and announce great new talent. Joint ventures between King Wenclas Promotions and others aren't out of the question, as long as my work is protected.

In conclusion, I believe we're entering an exciting time for literature. Change is upon us. I hope to be part of it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Trilling

In 1940 Trilling said of V.L. Parrington's Main Currents in American Thought, that Parrington's ideas "are now the accepted ones wherever the college course in American literature is given by a teacher who conceives himself to be opposed to the genteel and the academic and in alliance with the vigorous and the actual."

. . . (the book) "has had an influence on our conception of American culture which is not equaled by that of any other writer of the last two decades."

If the ideas were once accepted and influential, they no longer are. It's time to update Parrington's book and bring the ideas back!

Folks, the pendulum swings. We are at the beginning of a sea change of literary attitudes. If you're a writer who agrees with what I say here, you're at the very forefront of that change.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The New Curriculum

The literary Rebellion has drawn on the DIY movement for foundational principles to create a vibrant, vibrating cultural philosophy within a structure of beliefs so that our movement will be unchanging and ever changing; conservative and radical; all at the same time: the DIY University. My task has been to apply this to one art, which is literature. My two main blogs (this and are blogs of ideas because they represent a movement of ideas.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lionel Trilling

A QUOTE (1945):

"The novelist of a certain kind, if he is to write about social life, may not brush away the reality of the differences of class, even though to do so may have the momentary appearance of a virtuous social avowal. The novel took its rise and its nature from the radical revision of the class structure in the eighteenth century, and the novelist must still live by his sense of class differences, and must be absorbed by them, as Fitzgerald was, even though he despise them, as Fitzgerald did."

(See also Trilling's essay "Art and Fortune" in The Liberal Imagination for his rejection of "poetic prose.")

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Voice

WITH the voice of literary change has to come as well a fundamental change in literary mindset and philosophy. Pomo posturing-- garbled intellectualism from trendy salons or the antiseptic halls of academe-- can scarcely speak to where the American people are RIGHT NOW.


With the economic crisis exposing the gaping fissures of this society beneath its glittering face, the time is right for the authentic change represented by outsider lit groups like the ULA. No one else is as well-positioned to know and speak about what's really happening. After all, we're writers in a struggle for survival. Who better to represent the American voice?


The literary underground is much better positioned, with our ideas and writings, for these changing times-- much moreso than the elitists, who look more and more anachronistic by the day. Events and the times will move toward us.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The New Way

The literary establishment is part of the New York City-based corruption of plutocracy which has bankrupted this country.

By contrast, the literary rebellion represents a roots-based alternative.

The choice is obvious.

Monday, January 5, 2009


This new movie about German resistance to Hitler was better than I expected. It speaks to the literary Resistance of now in that it's about a conspiracy against a conspiracy.
Parallels abound. American literature was highjacked in the 1950's; its great history distorted and its path diverted.

In October 2000 a tiny band of underground zeensters-- the most shut-out of writers-- plotted to recapture American literature. What was amazing was how much we accomplished against enormous odds.

Given the more peaceful field of conflict, our opponents were as ruthless as Nazis (I'm being marginally hyperbolic), led by a cult-like figure receiving unthinking obedience from his followers. American literature today is dominated by a well-selected Overclass which propagates, through journals like McSweeney's and N+1, jargon-filled bureaucratic writing so intentionally hostile to the public it could be written in another language.

All members of the literary Resistance, past, present, and future, should see "Valkyrie" for its lessons about rebellion: That once action is begun it must be carried through in organized fashion without hesitation, with no turning back, if there's to be a chance of success. The lesson of the film is that even if resistance ends in defeat it must be carried out regardless, to show that not all were obedient automatons. For writers especially, for this period of lit to have relevance, we must show we weren't sheep; that some of us believed the art could again become purposeful, relevant, and democratic.