IF the Underground Literary Alliance reinvents itself, it should do so, in my humble opinion, with pronounced attitude and edginess. There’s room for “pop” cartoony writing—I engage in this style myself. But the presentation of the outfit needs to be harder, befitting hard times—times of which we the many ex-ULAers bouncing along this unequal world can testify. We know them as well as anyone.
We’re cultural revolutionaries bringing difference to the tame bourgie-hipster world of the mainstream and its snobby pampered Insider bands like McSweeney’s. But to regenerate our movement we’d need to look like what we are. We’d need to be a stronger, newer band—and recruit strong new street writers—to take on our opponents straight up, challenge them at every point and in every place, and reveal them by contrast to be the weak tepid representatives of status quo American literature that they are.