WHAT distinguished the Underground Literary Alliance from the rest of the literary scene, and caused amid that scene untold anxiety, is that we weren’t pretending. We were, for the most part, authentic grass roots writers. My God, look at Wild Bill Blackolive. He never changed a comma of his prose for anyone. Never sold out. A stand-up, straight shooter.
The literary hipsters who opposed the ULA, on the other hand, at places like McSweeney’s and n+1, were all about the pose of authenticity. It’s pretend with them. And so, Dave Eggers will pretend to be indie, and the n plus one gang will claim to be populists, even rebels, but neither camp will give up their elite status and their relationships to power; so the clothes they wear, the fashion they adopt—their ideas are nothing if not fashion—mean nothing.