The ULA Monday Report!

This week's report by Jeff Potter, ULA Director

  The ULA Is BACK!!!
And Back in the New York Times

The ULA had a letter published in the New York Times Sunday
Book Review! It's a challenge (yet again!) to the Academic Lit
scene --that is killing US literature-- to open the gates! The letter
was penned by our ex-leader Karl "King" Wenclas and bites
back against
a recent NYT review calling ULA writers

ULA writers are lauded globally by those who can relate to the
99% and by those who favor an open, inclusive Lit Scene. They
are frequently published. They are also still blackballed by the
US Lit mafia.

The ULA has been in hibernation for a few years now,
but a new puffed-up book of essays was just released reprinting
one of the classic (2003) hatchet jobs against us. Without proper
investigation, writer Tom Bissell wrote, in "The Believer," that
we were, of all things, Stalinists. ...Because we were a group, with
a view, trying to help those without access or voice. We stood up
for the 99% -- well before the Occupy Movement. (Why not
instead give us props for that?) It was bizarre. This Ivy League
reflex was astounding. The reaction against our call for openness
went predictably and like this: Openness > Threat to
Establishment > Fear > Hate > Unfounded Labeling > Dismissal
> Silencing > Backstabbing > Erasure. The essay is brought out
again in "Magic Hours" (2012) for further laffs. Unbelievably,
despite the pages dedicated to hatcheting us, our work is simply
*called* bad. Sorry, but that's not real criticism. Thankfully,
Bissell included a few brief quotes -- those looking for fresh,
original, believable writing can see from even such small snippets
that we're the real deal even if a hipster doesn't recognize it. But
reviewers of the book have been reviving the blackballing,
describing it in yet more Newspeak, and further propagating the
lie. We appreciate the NYT giving us this brief moment to defend

Interestingly, the reprinted essay has been revised. It elevates
Bissell's boss Dave Eggers more than before. Strange. Why worry
about us or about the past? Ah, tidying up the record, eh? By
changing it? A bit East European, no?

Why kick a group when it's down? Our main member, Steve
Kostecke, editor and publisher of our journal "Slush Pile" died
of Lou Gehrig's (RIP, Steve, and thanks for your zest and help).
Another member, Eric "Jellyboy" Broomfield, was badly burned
in a slum fi
re. The Recession has hit even harder against indie
artists than on the general public.

The NYT previously mentioned us in a 2004 front page story,
when Dave Eggers was exposed for anonymously lying about us
on, calling us stalkers when he was, ouch!, stalking
us and when we are polite and sign our work.

Years ago Eggers called for an end to rivalry in the Lit Scene.
He's on top and wanted the contest frozen where it was. He
clearly understands that relevance comes from the free play of
ideas and art. He doesn't want this. He wants the status quo --
with him holding the bag. Rivalry can be good, it can be fun. So
can inclusiveness.

The game is still in play! And ULA fans still say that US lit would
be helped by including folk writing and populism. US lit is in big
trouble! It's losing marketshare and relevance. It's in panic
mode, in fact. eBooks are seen as a major threat. The gatekeepers
are losing. Where will it end? Drama!

People forget that abstract modernism and postmodernism have
political aspects. Of course, this is taught, but its application to
teaching, the arts and literature -- to academia and arts
marketing -- is glossed over. (Its connection to CIA funding was
also glossed over until we broke the news. A couple years later
the Establishment verified our noisemaking on this.) There's a
reason why detail, style, tone, structure are studied to the
exclusion of all else. There's a reason why content is passe' and
gauche. But we're grown-ups now. Just because Commies used
Social Realism doesn't mean that the real world should be shut
out of art, or that everyday people should be disallowed to write
in a way that the general public can appreciate and be
challenged by. Just because challenging writing risks change,
and those in power want to control transitions so they stay in
power, doesn't mean that this arrangement will be allowed to

The US Lit Scene will only benefit and improve if voices from The
People are included. The classroom and marketing office are not
the only pathways to success behind the easel. The writers are
out there. Readers like it. It would help if more reviewers were
allowed to come out in defense of folk writing.


                          Jeff Potter is the ULA Director.

More info on where the ULA has been these past two years and our
possible future plans will be published on this site...




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