THE POSITIVE MESSAGE OF NEW AMERICAN ART AND LITERATURE

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Literary System

It's absurd to argue that there's no established system for creating and promoting literature.

For part of my life I worked on the margins of the auto industry in Detroit, and witnessed how separate parts of the process, run by separate companies, interacted to create a living and breathing whole. By this I mean from the steel unloaded from ships at docks, to the very many parts suppliers creating goods from bolts to glass windows to foam rubber, the many warehouses, trucking companies, the gigantic factories into which all roads eventually led; the automobiles belched out and trucked or trained to independently-run but very dependent dealership showrooms. (We're now seeing this organism in collapse.)

Literature was once a free-booting enterprise, but over the last fifty years became a giant machine itself; fed, as with standardized parts, by regimented and standardized writers from writing programs, with all the many other pieces of the machine ostensibly independent but in fact dependent on the rest of the whole; in symbiotic relationships with other parts of it; from agents to editors, to the sustained awards foundations which serve as a kind of religious order conferring legitimacy onto the entire mess; to mainstream journalists, so many of whom in New York feed at the foundation-conglomerate trough. When they attend PEN parties it's not to report on them, but to indulge in them as accepted members of the club.

This machine, even as it jealously strengthens its power, is as obsolete as General Motors, and as likely to eventually fall.
www.penpetition.blogspot.com

24 comments:

Harland said...

What are the journalists supposed to be reporting on from these parties? The corruption? You want it so that when we open the papers in the morning there's a story, "ARTS GROUP DEBAUCHED, DECADENT"? Haven't we seen enough of those stories? Whose thinking, among a general readership, do you think is nuanced enough to understand that there's a difference between "establishment" writers and "underground" writers? Don't you think you've reached the people who can see that difference?

King said...

??? Can YOU see the difference?
Aren't you still trying to sell yourself and your conformist friends as "avant-garde"?
YES, journalists like Adam Gopnik and others at the New Yorker shouldn't be so easily bought off.
"Public charity" PEN blowing its money on swanky parties should've caused some outrage by those who are PAID to expose such happenings.
I haven't reached ENOUGH people, and can't say I have until the corrupt system comes to an end. (Or at least until you and your crowd end the stonewalling.)

Toast said...

For fuck's sake, you fantasy-dwelling airhead. Literature has never been a "free-booting enterprise." Before commercial publication took over the show, the only means to get oneself in print was either to acquire a patron of high status, or to be of high status to begin with. Jesus. Langston Hughes himself and the Harlem Renaissance, "depended on the patronage of white Americans, such as Carl Van Vechten and Charlotte Osgood Mason, who provided various forms of assistance, opening doors which otherwise would have remained closed to the publication of work outside the black American community. This support often took the form of patronage or publication." There has never been a literary world where free agents rose according to talent and were never held back by politics, economics, etc. No wonder you call yourself KING; you're secretly nostalgic for a literary world were a few powerful people make idiot decisions based on their own predilections. This commercial world you're so hostile to is a great deal more open and fair than what came before. I've said this before: the reason you're not famous is because you're no good. Unconsciously you recognize that the only way you'd ever become a prominent writer is if you install yourself as a dictator in charge of a mob of idiots even dumber than yourself, who'll follow and worship your drivels and babbling.

Harland said...

Now, Toast, just the very sound of Carl Van Vechten's name is probably enough to drive the King mad. And, of course, some months ago King described Obama as a house slave, so Langston Hughes certainly isn't going to get any slack. For all the social concerns King lips off about, he and his group seem pretty white. My guess would be that King views the entire Harlem Renaissance as a kind of coffee-toned precursor of the isolated things -- cocktail parties, the Ivy League, Rick Moody chatting amiably with Francine Prose at PEN's offices -- that he hates.

OK, Mr. Openness. You can turn the comments off now.

Toast said...

Right. I get it. KING is a white supremacist masquerading as a working-class hero. I'm sure the Tennessee or South Carolina Republican Party Committees can find work for him.

King said...

To readers: Here are examples of the level of hostility one faces by critizing the status quo literary world. Noteworthy that, as always, such persons hide their identities.
**************
It'd be interesting, incidentally, to see who these characters are accusing me of somehow being anti-black. This is a slander of desperation, certainly.
I've lived most of my life, by the way, in a city (Detroit) and milieu that was majority black; where the power figures were black; policemen, judges, et.al. In 2005 I dealt with the black underclass most directly, as a substitute teacher sent, because I was uncertified, to the toughest Philly schools. I've written and spoken about the gigantic obstacles faced by such students; faced by an entire class of people.
One must recognize, however, who the real enemy is. The opponent of black progress is in many respects the affluent white liberal, who monopolizes for education most dollars for his own class.
Dividing poor whites and poor blacks is an old establishment tactic. It's sad, but predictable, to see it used here.

Harland said...

If you like black people so much, maybe you shouldn't condemn a city like New York as offhandedly as you do. Or is that not what you "mean"? Probably not, but your predilection for sweeping generalizations doesn't serve you well. And the implication, on my part, anyway, isn't necessarily that you're a "racist" (though, again, it's good to note that the Wild and Crazy Authors of the underground are an ofay bunch), though if the Voice of the People is so devoid of nuance that it can refer to Obama in the way you did without any awareness of the, er, shadings of meaning in the reference, then at the very least you're ill-equipped to speak for anyone but yourself.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

Condemn New York? Are you kidding? New York City should be condemned for being the most caste-structured city on the planet outside Brazil. YOU have been throwing vague generalizations around. My charges against PEN have been documented and specific.
Strange that you judge my supposed lack of nuance re Obama by totally distorting what I said-- turning it into an un-nuanced statement for your own purposes.
For readers who want to see for themselves, check my post on the demi-puppets blog, "Obama: Revolutionary or Puppet?"
The house I depict in the post isn't from the antebellum South, but Versailles! My analogy isn't to 1860 America, but 1789 France. Duh! Btw, the questions I raise in the post are valid ones, and have been raised to a much greater extent by Lefty writers like Paul Street. (He has an interesting book out about Obama, incidentally, which covers the topic of race.)
Part of my Obama post is the subtle HOPE that he's more revolutionary than his backers think; that he will enact actual change.
One of the areas addressed by Street is structural or institutional racism.
What's your stance on this topic, "Harland"? Against it?
Street argues that while personal racism is down, the more well-hidden institutional kind remains.
What remains of white supremacy in America is in our institutions, through the built-in advantages given to a class of people from birth; while others are too far behind to ever catch up. (This, incidentally, is what I saw when I was briefly a schoolteacher.)
The fight I'm waging is virtually akin to this other fight, though the tack I take is from the vantage point of the white working class-- which has to be my vantage point, as that's my background.
The target is the same: a tiny minority of the privileged-- a sliver of American society, really, who wield power and influence far out of proportion to their numbers.
The point is: one has to examine and change the structures, the institutions, themselves, to alter the classism and racism of American society. This is what the main post on this thread-- and the protest against PEN-- are about.
Who could oppose this-- other than the beneficiaries of a stratified system?
BTW, you're in no moral position to judge whether I am or am not racist. I don't accept your opinion in either respect.
Anyone who examines the entirety of my life and my writings knows the charge is ridiculous.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

What we've been seeing from these two anonymous characters is a taste of the distorted arguments which I would guess are being made behind the scenes to PEN people, to have them continue their stonewalling. The only tactic they have is to try to discredit the whistle blower. It's not working. They studiously ignore the points I've made.
Note their topsy-turvy view of reality. They portray me as, somehow, having, or wanting to have, dictatorial power. But what's the truth of the situation?
In the real world I'm banned, banished, ostracized, shunned, by the literary scene, in whatever term you'd care to attach.
On the other hand, if we knew for sure Harland's identity, I believe we'd find that he's well-published and publicized, and in fact has real influence; actual power.
Those who hold 99% of the power accuse someone who merely wants access of trying to shut THEM out. This is the line being peddled behind the scenes. This is their reaction to attempts to restrict their privilege in any way.
It's an example of their intellectual bankruptcy.

Harland said...

"Caste-structured"? You mean, Detroit's demographics are the result of a consensual agreement between whites and blacks? King, you're dumb. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. Dumb and sentimental. And romantic. A dumb romantic sentimentalist. Deadly.

I don't think you're a racist, King. I do think you're an unnuanced writer whose failure derives from your inability to write, not the subject matter you choose to write about. You can't convince anybody of anything because you're unpersuasive, and anyway you always hector people about things they already believe. When they mention that, you then tell them that they're not righteous enough. I mean, take the territory as your own, King. You want to be the internet's very own anti-literary world gadfly? Go for it. Be an actual threat for a change, though -- not some crank who wants to sit on the board of some impotent organization. Do they pat themselves on the back a lot? Yep, up to and including giving out awards to safe bets. That's the extent of their sins, though, and unless you can come up with something more convincing than your assertion that there's a "real" literature that's being ignored in favor of this "false" literature, unless you can actually identify this genuineness you champion, unless you can actually name ONE FUCKING WRITER other than the usual ten unpublishable nobodies you trot out, unless you can name a goal that doesn't unmistakably telegraph "invite me to your parties publish me in your journals put out one of my books" or an equally envious (as opposed to revolutionary) sentiment, I don't know who's going to listen to you. Other than me, of course, apparently the ONLY person dumb enough, bored enough, perversely self-entertaining enough, to engage you. (Why, I still haven't quite figured out.)

Harland said...

Like for example.

King, what do you say about the health insurance available through PEN? What if some of those millions of dollars going for awards and shipboard parties were going to subsidize the premiums of certain means-tested PEN members? Is that a "goal" you might embrace as a board member of PEN? As executive director? Maybe people would listen to you about stuff like that, King. Like, policy. Powerful and influential and well-published as I may be, I don't have health insurance.

King said...

A distorted rant, which, again, tries to focus on the whistleblower. I've pointed out many things wrong with the PEN organization, including who the awards money goes to, but also the waste of funds for this "public charity" on such things as Queen Mary parties. Not least, that it does NOTHING to defend writers who dissent against the established institutions of literature.
You seem to think this is an invalid type of protest-- yet it's the same kind of protest engaged in by Solzhenitsyn n his own country against bureaucratic conformists whose literature no longer represented the national voice, but the accepted doctrine of an in-bred clique.
Does the Petition to PEN seek to represent "ten writers." No! there are in fact hundreds of good writers who PEN doesn't represent, including many Print-On-Demand types. One underground writers organization has a membership in the hundreds. One of their leaders was an early signer of the petition.
Are there ten VERY GOOD writers on the Petition now; those who SHOULD be represented-- who should be given attention by the culture-at-large? Yes. James Nowlan, to name one, who has a small press book out (ULA Press). The entire apparatus of literature, including the review organs, is geared toward giving attention to the products of monopolies (as well as from a few scattered small outfits with connections to approved Insiders). I've been documenting this for years. If you've been reading my posts, you haven't been reading them well.
Enough of the personal slurs, please. If I wanted to play the game to get published, I wouldn't be conducting this protest. I would never have started my whistleblowing, which alienated corrupt Insiders like you.
You seem to forget that before I started the ULA in 2000 that I had many of the best trendy writers in the U.S. among subscribers to my newsletter. I did nothing to use those connections for my own benefit. A couple of the people solicited work from me (I'd been published in a few lit journals in the 90's); among them Ms. Gaitskill, who I believe is a friend of yours. The editor of a prominent critical journal mentioned more reviews from me, after I'd written one for him about a book by J.T. Leroy. Howver, I was dissatisfied with the experience, and not only declined, but burned all bridges behind me by going after corruption in the literary scene. You casually dismiss that corruption, which shows you still fail to get it. Clueless about the society you live in, and the struggle some writers go through.
Please, no b.s. about not having health insurance. You're a friend of superrich guy Handler, and likely a rich guy yourself. The two individuals outed so far as among anonymous attackers against the rebellion were Handler, and Dave Eggers. Your words and defensive actions show that you could only be someone like them yourself.
All you're good for is an outpouring of bullshit. You're a fraud through and through, which is why you'll never out yourself. You've been working hard to stifle this protest. Why?
Eventually someone will dime you out.
Now-- why haven't you answered my question about structural racism? What's your opinion on the topic?
You introduced the topic of race.
What's your authority on the subject?
Tell us, please.
I see you as an appropriator, not just of today's underground, the only credible "avant-garde" there is, but you apparently also hold yourself up as an expert on racial issues, qualified to judge whether I am or am not a racist. I'm an "ofay." What are you?
You think because you use a little black slang that you can speak for black people?
It's of a piece with your arrogance.
Be honest about who you are, and the influence you wield, and the way the literary system is constructed-- if there's an honest bone in you, which I doubt.

King said...

(p.s. The fact that PEN refuses to answer questions about itself-- questions credible enough to get the attention of Z Magazine-- in itself proves its corruption. There's no excuse for an organization which is supposed to defend dissent, to be itself stonewalling and shutting out dissenting writers. This behavior invalidates the entire organization. There's no excuse for it. NONE. Our friend here, despite his verbiage, hasn't offered one.)

Harland said...

And what sort of "defense" would PEN mount in behalf of those "who dissent against the established institutions of literature"? You do realize that you're ridiculous, don't you? You object to the current economic reality of publishing and are offended by publishing's self-congratulatory auxiliaries like PEN. Welcome to the club. If "dissent" consists of driving home the same lame set of points again and again, you're the king.

Your search for a "national voice" pretty much is what turns me off, King. Not a vernacular voice, not a colloquial voice, but a "national" voice. It's a concept with an exclusively authoritarian appeal, authoritarianism being pretty much your primary impulse. You really want to compare your struggles to those waged against the Soviets? OK. Here's another couple of feet.

The "ten writers" I refer to (pardon me for taking license. It's a, you know, literary technique) aren't the ones you seek to "represent," they're the ones, O Solzhynitsyn, on your own "approved" list.

"If I wanted to play the game to get published, I wouldn't be conducting this protest."

You can't write, King. This is the only game you have. And don't you think it's a little pathetic that your trump card, always, is that you were invited to write a book review once, that "the best trendy writers in America" subscribed to your newsletter?

It's not bullshit about the health insurance. You just have some cartoon idea that if a writer gets published they have to be "rich," which to you seems to span territory ranging from about forty grand a year to whatever you imagine "superrich" Handler is worth. Again, pathetic. You'd begrudge me the middling amount I earn (and support kids on), and denigrate the work I do to earn it, because of envy, King. And it didn't escape me that you apparently have NO position, potential board member, on an issue that actually affects PEN's membership.

Working hard to stifle you? Are you kidding? I look forward to these exchanges. It's a sort of guilty fish-in-a-barrel moment. Let King post forever!

"Now-- why haven't you answered my question about structural racism?"

Because I'm not interested in it as a literary topic, King. And I didn't introduce the subject. You did, with your tone-deaf reference to Barack Obama.

King said...

Disingenuous to the last. Sorry, I don't buy the story you're peddling. Your arguments over the past weeks, and before that-- as well as the immense amount of time you devote to the matter-- indicate you're either Rick Moody, or a friend of same. So the question is, if you don't have health insurance, why not?
Your phony stance denigrates the situation of writers who actually are in a bad situation regarding health care coverage, including many of the names on the protest list.
There's nothing exclusive about the list. Anyone is welcome to sign it-- incuding you, under your real identity. I've tried, with some difficulty, to promote writers who are A.) good or original writers; B.) shut out by the mainstream literary world.
What exactly is wrong with this?
You seem to think there's something wrong with outsider writers wanting attention for their efforts. Yet you, or your friends-- those you support-- receive continual press attention for your writings without any effort on your part. Makes it easy, I guess, to put down the efforts of others.
The bottom line is that you've been working hard to shut out writers who already exist near the bottom of the pyramid. Why do this?
If you were any kind of populist you wouldn't.
For the record, I fully support health care for PEN members. Given the position of many of them in colleges or newspapers, I suspect that most of them already have access to it. (Even Mumia gets three hots and a cot!)
Re PEN's supposed impotence/unimportance. If this is so, why is it? This sounds to me more like an argument for changing the outfit.
One thing you avoid is that I'm hardly the first writer to criticize the PEN organization, and how it's been altered-- or the first to be denigrated as a result.
On my blog I've already showed what happened to Ms. Komisar, and discussed the stonewalling given Carl Rollyson, a fully published author.
Yes, I'm free to post on my blogs.
Everyone wants me and my colleagues to remain in a safe and reserved literary ghetto; to not seek the democratic right to access afforded others with ease; and more, to be satisfied with this-- when you'd hardly be satisfied with that for yourself.
s to whether I can write, I invite folks to examine the entirety of my writings, on my various blogs, or "literary" essays written for publications like North American Review in the 90's, and judge for themselves.
(I'm obviously writing-- the amount of words sigbnifies that. It's apparently not "writing" up to their sketchy approved standards, however-- though it serves the purpose of provoking their thought and response.)

King said...

p.s. This character has inadvertantly provided writers with strong reason to join the protest, in his sneering insistence that I'm not a writer. We're getting here some of his true self.
"We're writers and you're not!"
If one isn't an approved and certified member of the Club, then your words by definition have no value, and you yourself are beneath notice. That I'm accorded this treatment, despite being one of the more visible and outspoken underground personalities, bodes ill for others.
(If I had been published by a conglomerate, then I'd be accused of wanting to be like him and his friends. He has quite an exclusive outlook.)
On one hand he tells me to "post away" on my blogs, while on the other he works hard to restrict my arguments to that limited space.
Perhaps he can explain how is it that for three months every PEN staffer has stonewalled the Petition. Every one! Coincidence? Or are people working to silence the issue?
The odds of a score of staffers remaining silent on their own to all emails, all arguments, all posts on PEN blogs, without instructions to do so, is less than miniscule. It defies every known notion of human behavior. (They won't speak even to deny the stonewalling.)
No, instead we have this mysterious and malicious character speaking for them.
This alone is proof that something is seriously wrong with today's literary world.
******************
Readers of "demi-puppet" know that Daniel Handler likewise embraced a phony persona for making attacks, until eventually outed.
A crowd of nasty people. You'd think their success would make them open and generous, instead of the reverse.

Harland said...

Still not Rick Moody.

"If you don't have health insurance, why not?"

Because I can't afford it, stupid.

I don't think there's anything wrong with writers wanting attention for their work, and I've never tried to shut out writers at the bottom of the pyramid (where on that pyramid do you think I am, King?). Of course, whenever I've mentioned an unsuccessful writer who I like, you've had some snappy comeback. They're sellouts, or they're connected, or they're not really unsuccessful because they've actually managed to publish a book, or their press is tied, through some tenuous logic, to the "corporate mainstream." No, there are only a tiny number of names on the list of writers you approve of, King. And let's get one thing straight: I'm not ANY kind of populist. Artistically speaking, I'm an unregenerate elitist. Your unbelievably limited ideas about literature and art are boring in the extreme.

"For the record, I fully support health care for PEN members. Given the position of many of them in colleges or newspapers, I suspect that most of them already have access to it. (Even Mumia gets three hots and a cot!)"

How many of them are "in colleges or newspapers"? Statistics?

"Everyone wants me and my colleagues to remain in a safe and reserved literary ghetto; to not seek the democratic right to access afforded others with ease; and more, to be satisfied with this-- when you'd hardly be satisfied with that for yourself."

For God's sake, King, once and for all: there is no democratic right to be published by a trade house. And I thought that the WHOLE POINT of your tirade was to trumpet the virtues of DIY -- a movement to which the activities of the "mainstream" should be irrelevant. No, I wouldn't be satisfied with my position if I couldn't get my work published. And that's how it was for me, for a good many years. Guess how I overcame the obstacles? I mean, I know what you'll guess, but really, how do you think I managed it?

"(I'm obviously writing-- the amount of words signifies that. It's apparently not 'writing' up to their sketchy approved standards..."

Well, guy, I hate to fill you in, but word count is a measure of quantity, not quality. And my standards aren't sketchy. You're the one with the sketchy standards. Populist literature that speaks in the voice of real people, I believe is what you're after?

"We're writers and you're not!"

Where's the beef, King? You can call me elitist (for all the wrong reasons) if you like, but I've spent my entire adult life studying, working, and preparing to be an artist and a professional. And you want to apply your experience directly to the page. They're two different things. I have little doubt that you have moving, shocking, touching, rousing stories to tell. But you have no art.

"On one hand he tells me to "post away" on my blogs, while on the other he works hard to restrict my arguments to that limited space."

There is nothing I'd love more than to see you sign a contract to write some memoir of your years in the trenches. I'd love to see all that self-righteousness drain away when the occasion of sin presents itself.

King said...

Obtaining attetion DOESN'T mean publishing with a trade house. Or, it shouldn't mean that-- which is the point of the Protest and of this thread's main post.
************************
We'll know eventually who this character is. There are no secrets on the Internet. At that time we'll learn his motives.
I know that others like him have claimed this-or-that identity-- like that simple graphic artist in San Francisco; remember him? And turned out not to be what claimed.
And really, who but a person with a stake in these matters would devote so much time-- so much-- to trying to discredit every possible point made?
Re PEN membership. The current requirements for membership virtually require that the member be a successful, or institutionally successful, writer.
The point of the protest is to broaden the membership to include those writers who DON'T have the means or position for health care.
"Harland" can give us the facts about himself anytime he chooses, and then we'll judge. But of course that's not what he's about; not why he's here.

Harland said...

That's not what it means to you? How come it always sounds like that's exactly what it means to you? And the point of the "thread's main post" is absurdly romantic. "Literature was once a free-booting enterprise." Thus spake King. This is subjective at best, ahistorical at worst. And of course, it's a rhetorical feint only, because the sole "point" you want to make is that literature now is "a giant machine." Well, OK. It is a giant machine that now, more than at any other time, one may opt out of. More than at any other time, those who are deemed unfit to serve as "standardized parts" have alternatives. They are not remunerative alternatives, necessarily, and they may not yield a large audience. The question remains: are money and attention the only goals worth setting?

Harland said...

"The point of the protest is to broaden the membership to include those writers who DON'T have the means or position for health care."

You always hoist yourself on your own petard. Can't tamp down your envy even for the amount of space it takes to reinforce your arguments. In the King's view, any published writer, any adjunct assistant professor, any recipient of a grant or fellowship has both "means and position."

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

I'm reminded of Phillip Lopate's screed at Miller Hall that he needed to support a "family" (kids long since grown) by working three teaching jobs. It turned out that one of them was a chaired and tenured position. I guess means and position depends on one's point of view, doesn't it?
I don't want to jdge PEN members, and dislike your attempts to maneuver away from the crucial points. Those who don't have means should understand the petitioners' perspective.
******
There's a Neverland quality to this unreal conversation. Nothing about the character you've created is authentic.
Why are you expecting health care from PEM, instead of your regular job?
Unless there is no regular job.
Two kids? Where did they come from? A new addition to your fictional bio.
(How's your girlfriend?)
You steer away from big-picture questions structural or institutional, as if they've never entered your head. The caste issue is beyond your comprehension.
You mentioned once being a union member. Only later did I realize you were referring to PEN. This conception of PEN is far removed from knowledge of the real world, of a real union/business relationship, and reveals everything about the bubble world you live in.
As do grants to Roth etc referred to by you as a "safe choice." An opinion that could only come from someone at the top of the pyramid.
Earlier, of course, you were surprised that anyone would make a big deal out of forty thou; such a tiny amount.
You're a limited novelist, Rick, because you don't understand American society, mainly because you're not living in it, or only marginally so. Still, the pretend aspect is there. You truly believe, as you once stated, that you're "middle class." You pump your own gas. The trust funds, nannies, legacies, references, have always been a given to you; those things that-- you know-- all of us have!
***************
I'll speculate that the real reason you don't have health care is your Puritan stinginess. The tightness which allowed you to hang on ruthlessly to the 35 thousand from Guggenheim, for all pr reasons not to. Despite your posing, you're still a frugal banker at heart. Which explains your nonstop stinginess toward the underground. Allow us any room in an increasingly controlled from-the-top literary world?
That just wouldn't be you!

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

p.s. Have you seen the Dillinger movie?
I identified with the gang, outcasts being squeezed out by a society with no room for them, just as there's no room for outsider writers.
J. Edgar Hoover and his junior crimefighters (preppies) looked a lot to me like today's literary world. The "better" people. The Clean and the Saved. (HarperStudio.)

Harland said...

What are the crucial points again? Oh, yes, that PEN doesn't support your program of "dissent." Dissent as defined by being an "outsider." "Outsider" to be defined as one who is not merely obscure, but unpublished. "Unpublished" to be transmogrified into "blackballed." I guess I do maneuver away from such crucial points.

I'm a member of the UAW.

You think identifying Philip Roth, officially anointed as our Greatest Writer, as a "safe bet" is the view from the top? You can't even read, King. I mean, my use of irony in these comments is of the ball-peen hammer variety. Not exactly going for the light touch.

I'm not Rick Moody. And I want to make it perfectly clear that I'm not representing myself as Rick Moody. OK?

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

PEN's attitude toward dissent is reflected in the fact that its entire staff has refused to answer all questions, all emails, postings, and mail, about the petition to democratize the organization-- not just from myself, but other petitioners.
What do you call this, othet than hostility to dissent-- to more than dissent?
How do you explain it?
The essential points include what PEN does with its funds-- including the infamous Queen Mary party and the 40 grand award to Philip Roth. You apparently see this and other instances of PEN mismanagement as being of no import.
A recent point I brought up is PEN's recent "Burn This Book" collection published by the Murdoch empire. Can't you see how this compromises PEN's position of advocacy?
Not only this, but HarperStudio's bold foray into the future includes
A.) its policy of no advancements for writers;
B.) its other policy of publishing mainly celebrities. (Surely not in line with your attitude toward the elitist position of the writer.)
Does any of this concern you?
Guess not!
On the union issue, you might want to examine the 6/8/99 Village Voice article about PEN members crossing a union picket line in order to attend one of the organization's many galas; an affair overseen by Michael Roberts-- that individual you seem to be on a first-name basis.
If you're truly a union guy, as claimed, this should have outraged you.
You can join the fight to change PEN by joining the Protest.
(You'd previously, as C.S. promised to nominate Bill Blackolive for membership. Whatever happened to that??)
*************
Really, Rick, I'm becoming concerned about how much time and energy you've devoted to this. Truly. We don't need another stressed-out David Foster Wallace. I suggest you chill out and drop your Puritan black veil routine. It's doing you no good. There's room in the literary world for everybody-- or should be.