A REMINDER that when we choose to we can push the edges of the usual, if not the acceptable, as far as anyone, due to our underground roots and DIY from-the-bottom viewpoint on all things cultural.
AS EXAMPLE we have our recently-posted feature story, “Cat Doctor” by mysterious on-the-arts-margins D.C. Miller, holding a mirror up to the clean and smug of today’s approved intellectual world.
THEN there’s our newly-placed book review of a new work by indie press figure Tony Nesca at our book chat blog.
FINALLY we have our ongoing Open Mic, with a reading of a striking poem by Brian Eckert along with other dynamic spoken word performances– with more to come.
(Art: “Accolade” by Edmund Blair Leighton.)
THE SECOND story in our look at today’s dating scene is a much darker animal: “Cat Doctor” by D.C. Miller. Ostensibly a response to The New Yorker‘s recent Kristen Roupenian story “Cat Person,” it’s more than that– it’s a look at the malaise of the West’s current intellectual class. People who believe in nothing– not even themselves. Whose ideological inanities, post-conceptual art and postmodern literature are an expression of nothing. Representations of the void at the center of their lives. A world in which the villains aren’t men or women, but everyone.
Appropriately, the story is set in Berlin, a city forever on the cutting edge of the end of Western civilization. Last stop before the nightmare of gotterdammerung and oblivion.
It was a catchy statement, and she liked it, but she wasn’t certain where to take it, whether it was true or not, and even if it was, what it would imply. She heard the sound of someone sighing audibly, like an echo from another room, and for a moment felt confused, before she realized it was her.
IN THE FACE of such a pessimistic, albeit truthful, examination of relations between men and women, of ideas and culture, we remain optimists. We believe the culture will turn over because it has to turn over– it’s at a dead end, with nowhere to go but to scrap the present and embrace another direction.
(Featured painting: “The Night” by Max Beckmann. Other: “Sjalusi i Badet” by Edvard Munch.)
We like stories!
We like stories which are unpredictable in plot, point-of-view, and theme– such as our new feature, “Churchgoing in New England” by Richard Greenhorn. We’re on a quest for new kinds of stories– those outside the customary in ideas and viewpoint.
What should any short story accomplish?
The tale should convey knowledge and experience; emotion and meaning. It should carry the reader along then finish with surprise, insight, or impact. Something. See if this story fulfills those requirements.
One-time department stores and groceries had been replaced by specialty winter supply shops, novelty bookstores, a few adult boutiques, and an over-priced Leftist drinking establishment called The People’s Pub. On the town commons across the street were the placards and banners left over from this morning’s protest. . .
ALSO: Stay up-to-date with the All-Time American Writers Tournament.
(Painting: “A New England Town” by Middleton Manigault.)
(Featured painting: “Festival” by Daniel Celentano c/o Smithsonian.)
We’re not just an alternative to an embalmed establishment literary scene that’s artistically frozen in time. We’re the alternative to the alternatives. We offer the only possible way to unite antagonists on all sides to revive the literary art. We believe in the need for uniquely American literature– art which helps define and give voice to this land and people. We reject fragmented culture– the constant cultural warfare which those highly placed above the fray seem to want.
We present instead to readers and writers our banner of POP!
A populist ethos is one aspect– not the only aspect– of pop literature. Pop Lit!
As evidence of our dedication to American lit we’re presenting the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Latest happening there is the #4 Seeds announcement. Upcoming are profiles of J.D. Salinger, Misty Copeland(?), Mary Gaitskill, Ayn Rand, Henry Miller, Saul Bellow-versus-Herman Wouk, and many more of our literature-and-culture’s brightest stars. Plus official choices for #5 Seeds.
We also believe in giving you news about the literary world. Stories and scandals which no one else in literature today will touch. The newest post at our News blog is “The Lit Scene Now,” — first part of a revealing analysis of the literary business, examining current players and real motivations. Not to be missed!
Pop lit is alive and well!
(Painting: “Locomotive, Jersey City” by Reginald Marsh c/o Smithsonian.)
We haven’t posted an Op-Ed in a while. Is there a better day for it than one of the more contentious days in American history?
We contend this commentary from New Pop Lit editor Karl Wenclas is an objective look at events, in the context of a realistic view of American history. Feel free to disagree!
Making noise and screaming for the benefit of television cameras is who we are.
(“Premonition” by Walter Nessler copyright Royal Air Force Museum.)
Our month-long Hemingway celebration continues with a striking new story by Samuel Stevens, “Diminutives,” whose setting of Paris is a nod to Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation. But so is its style. Few writers understand what Ernest Hemingway was fully up to when he revolutionized writing. Stevens is one of them.
Note how Stevens’ story is like a Modernist painting– a collage of parts expressing the fragmentation of our time. As if helplessly riding a bus about to crash, we’re replaying– reliving– that broken insane world Hemingway experienced. Around us is a sense of foreboding. Imminence. Chaos.
Stevens’ story is simple but at the same time it’s a mix of impressions and ideas. A splash of confusion, or a slap in the face. The story is there in front of us, like a painting. Right there. It’s very short, but there’s enough in it to like or dislike. Or hate.
Provocative and topical.
But what do you think?
There were no subjects to write about any more, either in America or here; the world was too mixed up to really stop and look at it.
AS we weren’t able to get anything from our pipeline ready in time to post today, I’ve knocked out a quick essay I believe is timely.
It also addresses a thought which has been in my head of late– that we have to stop dividing ourselves. Naïve? Maybe. In this tumultuous year of 2016, too many of us treat ideology like religion. We put party and identity before country. We’re unable to compromise on anything.
Pop is populism, but how do we define that?
Rock at its outset was a populist outbreak. It was scorned by politicians, intellectuals and the academy, who are always five steps behind the times.