12 mar 2008

In honor of Margaret Soltan's invigorating Scathing Online Schoolmarm I've decided to start a new feature here. The first victim is the self-proclaimed King of underground literature.

IT IRKS ME just a tad when some ignorant brainwashed stooge who knows nothing about literature and writing other than what was pumped into him in school will glance at a criticism I make of the lit world-- an informed criticism-- and dismiss it, out of hand, with a remark highlighting his ignorance-- usually that I'm "bitter" or "not good enough" for said literary establishment.

Defensive, overemotional tone strains the credibility of the reader from the beginning. Why "just a tad"? The writer has a tendency to assert the value of his own perspective "an informed criticism." Well of course he would think his criticism is informed; that is the sort of remark you should make about someone else, not yourself. "In my insightful article..." Nuh, huh.

Not good enough! For a System which by-and-large produces garbage, from Philip Roth down.

More defensiveness and name calling. Fallacious reasoning. Any reader who thinks Roth is an above average or even average writer automatically discounts the King's perspective.

This is akin to the "not a writer" charge which I endured patiently for seven years from a series of ULAers I was trying to promote, from Miss Sneerzinger to Mr. Hall to the five who bailed from the ULA a year ago. (Four whose own writing has scarcely progressed from kindergarten level.) The kind of thing which finally caused me to say, "Enough!" and depart from the organization myself.

So apparently the King was, for seven years, promoting writers who didn't progress much beyond kindergarten. (As opposed to Roth's garbage?) He portrays himself, unintentionally, as one unable to forge alliances with those with similar aims..

Sorry, guys, but I KNOW I can write-- have put occasional evidence of this even up on this blog, if you care to look for it. In the last few months: my 12/31 post, or the Lish/Tolstoy satire, or more recently the "Planet XYZ" and "300" posts, in-your-face though they are.

Sorry, we already KNOW you can't write. Self-congratulation makes the reader jump to the opposite conclusion. Just putting extra stress on the word doesn't make it any more convincing. "even up on this blog" is unfortunate: he's confessing to being not so great a writer most of the time on the blog we are now reading..

Back in the early 90's when most of my current critics were soiling their diapers I wrote two long essays for what was then the best literary magazine in the country, regular winner of national magazine awards and such. Serious essays-- unlike what I do here. (One has to wonder if the journal was penalized for publishing me. Seriously. The lit-world is every bit as corrupt as I've claimed.)

Paraphrase: "No really, I CAN write. If you just look beyond this post, to my oh so serious essays, not like the unserious post you are now reading." Nice job of undermining yourself again. Is the Best Literary Magazine part of the corrupt establishment that the rest of the post decries? Would it publish Philip Roth? How can you gain credibility through your connection to such corruption? Surely those awards were alloted through a corrupt process. The paranoid note is disturbing. Doubtless the head of the Establishment personally put out the word to punish this magazine for publishing those serious essays. The argument from the relative youth of the nameless critics is fallacious and not particularly witty. All of us have soiled diapers in one decade or another.

In short, most of the post consists of defensiveness, jejune name-calling, paranoia, and unsupported, preening self-congratulation. There are no substantive points at all, no answer to the imaginary critic. The writer paints himself as a bitter malcontent, in order to disprove his critics--who call him a bitter malcontent.

2 comentarios:

Gary dijo...

Mas! Por favor!

SEK dijo...

I think I agree with you dijo -- hard to tell, as I don't read Japanese -- but if he's saying he thinks this might get enjoyably ugly, I'm with him.

(By the way, the word verification capture is racist. If I want this comment to post, I have to call it -- or possibly you -- a "niggr.")