Monday, January 26, 2009

American Idle

First read Mark Twain's speech entitled,  "Disappearance of Literature," then read this. Compare and contrast the information.  What does any of it mean? Go!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the problem is generational.
Somebody should put out an Old Geezer Review. Only publish people 60 or older.
This age restriction would pretty much eliminate some complaints about today's literary fiction. The old-timers have a lot of life experience; they wouldn't have an MFA (when a 60-yr-old was 20, it was 1969 -- wasn't that before MFA programs became widespread?); in their formative years they would have been reading stuff written mostly pre-1960, so their influences would have come from a different sensibility; the ones with no talent would most likely have realized that (leaving only the ones who stubbornly believe in their work -- or the mad), and so the magazine would not be inundated with submissions; oldsters would probably support a magazine geared to their kind (by spending money to buy it), so it would be profitable and therefore able to pay contributors.
Hey, I'm starting to like my idea! Maybe Alice Munro would submit.
Course, the name of the review would have to be other than the one I suggested, because who wants to submit to a magazine whose title demeans them? Is there a dignified, respectful way to refer to older people? I can't think of any.
Suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Smart people are not fashionable now. The west is decadent now and the stupid reign. Clemens, Scott, Milton, they best be forgotten. American Idol is on!

Anonymous said...

The Silver Review. it's not very creative, but there's no mistaking what it is.

your journal would have to be print i imagine, and probably printed in large type. i know that i'm making certain assumptions about the elderly, but honestly i would really like to read this journal. thank you for the very thought provoking comment.

Anonymous said...

Wait, wouldn't the old geezer review just be narrative magazin

james said...

narrative is too technologically advanced for old people

Anonymous said...

Keep it restricted to STORIES. Else you'll be getting reminiscenses about sainted mothers, or precious, brilliant grandchildren.
You'd need an elderly editor - do you qualify, Anon?
The young would not submit. They wouldn't want to be a part of this enterprise.
The Silver Review suggests gray hair, which may be like calling it The Incontinent Review.
I'm not 60 quite yet, but I "don't get" the world today - its morals, its movies, its music - and its literature.
If "only the ones who stubbornly believe in their work - or the mad" would submit, then I'd read this magazine.
Narrative is all MFA. The anon who came up with this idea discussed how he'd sidestep that.
How about this?:
"After Many a Summer Dies the Swan"
Stories

Silverback Gorilla said...

Narrative needs to be renamed The SPAM Review. I once submitted during their infrequent no-fee reading periods, and my spam folder has been bombarded ever since.

Unrelated remark, Sanjaya looks like a homeless 30yo in that picture. You could have picked a more flattering pic. :)

Writer, Rejected said...

Perez Hilton has a crazy nude photo of Sanjaya with his man part entirely tucked. It's kind of crazy. I was going to post that one, but I thought we'd had enough nudity for the week. But you can google his name on google images to find it...if you're interested.

Too Tired said...

First Anon: Flannery O'Connor was working on her MFA in the late '40s. Ken Kesey studied with Wallace Stegner at Stanford in the late '50s. Larry McMurtry was there then, too, studying writing. John Irving was at Iowa in the late 60s; his MFA thesis was Setting Free the Bears. The list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know such programs were around that far back. Still, I wrote "widespread." Presently there are MFA or MA programs in every podunk college in the country.
I wrote "This age restriction would pretty much eliminate some complaints about today's literary fiction." (And one of them is the dominance of MFA writers.)
All I'm trying for is something different for those who want it. If a 64-year-old guy or gal with an MFA submitted a story, it would be read with an open mind.
In response to the Anon who asked me if I was old enough to be editor - well, like him/her, not quite (but I'm only 2 years off). And, like him/her, I just "don't get" the present day culture, including what's lauded as good literature. I try, but it doesn't work for me. Like I say, maybe it's generational.
Thanks for both titles suggested.
I think the audience at LROD is mostly the young - under 40. So they have no interest in such a review. Nor in what the old have to say. This is a fact of life as old as the hills.

C said...

"I think the audience at LROD is mostly the young - under 40. So they have no interest in such a review. Nor in what the old have to say. This is a fact of life as old as the hills." I think you might be over generalizing just a bit. I'm under forty. There are plenty of young writers that I like and many more that I don't. The same is true for writers who would be published in the Silver Review. I doubt that I'm the only one of my generation who thinks this.

Anonymous said...

If you're over a certain age (what's the cut-off now - 50?), you'd best try to keep this fact from editors and agents. Of course, if you're Roth or Doctorow or Oates et al, that's different. But 65 and a "tyro," as it's so contemptuously put? You've got an added obstacle on top of those that already exist.
No need to give me examples of people who have published a first novel at an advanced age. There are exceptions to every rule.
Age discrimination is alive and well in the publishing world.