You need no ticket to make a place for yourself here where humor, black and otherwise, comes to you from the stage where the human comedy itself is being played, its performance trumping the things dark and tragic and found in the world of literature.
Chairman Of The Bored
Gawker Sez: "Tao Lin and Whitney Pastorek star in the world's most boring literary feud."
The problem, in my opinion comes down to AKS -- ass kisser syndrome.
Something happened to the generation before Tao
, who is a twenty-something: the education system finally figured out how to breed a generation of sheep. It had a lot to do with taking the focus off of the humanities and placing it on business. The promise was: if you stay in line and be good little business people you'll get rich.
Well a lot of things -- the bursting of the tech bubble, constantly changing templates in how business was done (see Fast Company, Business 2.0), etc. -- got in the way and a lot fewer people got rich than Harvard Business School and others said would. But the sheep had been bred...
Some of them, who saw that the business world wasn’t working, or perhaps more likely couldn’t -- or simply didn't want to -- keep pace with the changes, decided to become artists, writers, etc. But they needed a leader. Timing being everything, Dave Eggers showed up and was crowned downtown at the litbeggars bash, to paraphrase Mr. Springsteen. And the reason he was crowned was because he had the moment; he had the vibe; and he had the indefinable something that would allow him to sell books to fans, many of them unquestioning followers. He was the one
of the new artist/business people who became an unqualified success.
But back to my discussion of ass kissing…
Do you think Hemingway kissed ass? Mailer? Of course not. And Tao doesn’t kiss ass. Look: I was getting a nice little groove going at McSweeney’s and gave it up and joined the Underground Literary Alliance so I wouldn’t have to pucker up just to get something besides a cute and funny little list published online every now and then.
Maybe the sheep aren’t even aware of where they are in this game. But they seem to be happy. The existence of Pindeldyboz, Hobart and a few others riding on the seemingly commodious coattails of the McSweeney’s thing are fine with me: the more lit journals the merrier. That they mostly don’t publish the type of thing that I enjoy is neither here nor there. They’ve got plenty of fans and they’ll survive, even if it means getting an infusion of charity every now and then.
But really, anybody who thinks that they’re the only lit game in town – from the same lot that thought business school would ultimately make them rich – are maybe starting to get the message, through the ULA and pranking (which is what it looks like from here) like Tao’s, that they are becoming more wrong with each passing day.