IN THE CROSS HAIRS?
HAS the coverage at our NPL News blog– of attempts to remove, blacklist, blackball, censor, ban, or banish writers as diverse as Junot Diaz, Rachel Custer, Jay Asher, and Joseph Massey, from jobs and web sites; or label them with a gamut of crimes– made ourselves a target of self-appointed literary cops?
IS ONE allowed to hold a contrary viewpoint– on these issues or other issues?
NO ONE covers happenings in today’s literary scene as thoroughly and fearlessly as ourselves. Here are our most recent posts on the issue of book-world censorship, with more to follow.
“Power Grabbers of Literature”
“Should Writers Be Purged?”
“Who Defends Artistic Expression?”
“Public Denunciations in Art”
(Art: “Premier Disque” by Robert Delaunay.)
Which side are YOU on?
The BATTLE over freedom of speech in America is heating up– and New Pop Lit is in the middle of it.
AT our New Pop Lit News blog we’ve been covering the squelching of speech; the censoring, banning, and blackballing of writers occurring RIGHT NOW across the internet.
Three recent articles:
-A controversial Report about editors censoring, or apologizing for, writers at an Ohio State journal and at other venues.
-A Report about the removal of a Junot Diaz podcast from a book-world site, and the rationale behind this.
-A Report about the media frenzy generated by anonymous accusations against another prominent author, Jay Asher.
FURTHER, to exhibit our belief that any topic is fair game for the talented writer, we’re reviving our Open Mic with an audio reading by D.C. Miller of his strange, perplexing, and provocative poem, “Antifa Whore.”
We’re out to have fun– but every so often we’ll test the envelope. To misquote a critic, we’re diet edgy.
(But we also want people to know what side we’re on where freedom of expression is concerned.)
(Art: “The Brawl” by Ernest Meissonier.)
RIGHT NOW the U.S. literary world is divided over the Junot Diaz Controversy– the Pulitzer Prize-winning author accused of sexual harassment by an array of accusers. Which side is telling the truth? On which side should be our sympathies?
WE’VE been covering the issue at our News blog. Our 14th post on the topic, “System versus Zeitgeist,” looks at the politicization of the U.S. book world itself, giving context to what’s happening.
The post in the series which best expresses our author’s purpose might be this one, “Unlocking the Junot Diaz Puzzle.”
Which side in the dispute will win? That is yet to be determined.
WHEN ONE CONSIDERS a project like our proposed “All-Time American Writers Tournament,” one bumps up against notions of the Canon. That collection of writers and literary works designated by the academy as worthy of preservation and study.
YET the world has changed so drastically the realization hits that for all its impact on society, there is no Canon. Or: no one cares. For the general public, a Neil Gaiman or Stephenie Meyer has more importance than a score of canonical writers. Names like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Pearl Buck barely register. Inside the classroom it’s hardly better, according to a college professor we know. The chief struggle is to keep students off their smartphones and have them read the assignments. Compared to the overwhelming noise of media found on phones, the internet, and television, of what impact is an assigned poem, play, or novel?
Professors themselves aren’t the respected figures they once were. A quaint person in a classroom– artifact from another era. Quickly forgotten.
So low is the standing of “Literature” in the culture that we ask ourselves, “Why bother?”
We’ll likely make the attempt regardless. An impossible task– to have readers become interested in dusty figures of history at a time when for most of the population there is no past, only NOW. A task but also a challenge. A test to see if the best writers, as personalities and talents, can be made interesting. Even provocative.
The Canon? Is there a Canon? Should writers today blow up all notion of a Canon? Or reinvent the Canon?
These are questions our tournament will address. . . .
Meanwhile take a look at our new book review blog with sample review. We have several reviews of our favorite authors to put up– but are also looking for reviews, commentary, or gossip by others, short and to the point. Make it new. Make it exciting. Make it pop!
John Colapinto has written a novel he’d like to have published in the United States. Undone is its title. Despite being an excellent writer and on the staff of the esteemed The New Yorker magazine; despite having an impressive resume; despite having been published by book giant Harper-Collins previously– forty U.S. publishers have declined to publish Undone because of its potentially offensive plotline. Even though the novel is well written and entertaining.
What’s happening? Have we entered a new Victorian Age?
Is John Colapinto a latter-day D.H. Lawrence, Allen Ginsberg, or James Joyce?
NEW POP LIT’s Karl Wenclas interviews Mr. Colapinto in an attempt to understand the controversy. Read the interview here.
THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN TODAY’S PUBLISHING SCENE.