Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Making American literature great again!!!



What a ride, uh, these last weeks. We’re almost there, together we’re gonna make American literature great again. I hear you, I understand you. American literature hasn’t been great in a long time. We go to our bookstores, we check Amazon, looking for a good novel to read, an epic poem, and there aren’t any. What happened?

You know what happened. The truth is our leadership has been stupid. And weak. Disgusting. They let things run out of control, and they think it’s great. They think we’re doing fine! It’s crazy, they think we’re doing fine…

But we know the truth, don’t we? Yes we do. But don’t worry, because I’m going to take our literature back and make it our top priority.

American literature is losing to everyone else everywhere in the world. When was the last time an American poet won a French poetry prize, uh? Or the last time a young American playwright won an Italian prize for an Italian first play, uh? It doesn’t happen anymore. It’s over. And then they put those prizes on their covers and ship them to America. Put them on covers, it’s true. Our leaders, they don’t care…

Well, folks, I say enough is enough; I say we close the borders to foreign books until we figure out what the hell is going on here with our literature. Let’s close the borders and figure out what the hell is going on.

But things overseas aren’t thaaat bad compared to the domestic  mess in our hands. All over America – and this is true, all over America the Regressive Literati have taken over colleges, they’ve infested creative teaching courses. Infested them, like rats. And you know what they do in those MFA courses? We all do; they radicalize our young writers – they brainwash them to think Raymond Carver is a top writer. They give them Charles Bukowski to read. Charles Bukowski. Bukowski. Disgusting. Our leaders know. They know but they don’t care. They think it’s great to have our future writers reading Bukowski. But don’t worry, once I’m elected we’ll take care of it. It’s gonna be big…

The fact is our writers have gone soft, they’re weak. They apply to writing residencies in Mexico, get high on pot there, surf, tan, and don’t write, don’t want to work hard, rush a novel in three weeks, and that’s it. It’s true, they go there to get high on pot. Folks, that’s not how we’re gonna beat France at literature! That’s not how you produce top literature. France! Even France is ahead of us. France! During World War II, while the great Faulkner was fighting for highbrow literature with the cerebral, syntactically complex, fragmented Go Down, Moses, some Frenchy was publishing a simplistic, linear little novel called The Outsider. That’s France, folks. And it’s beating us. France is beating us. France. Disgusting.

Because we have bad leaders; we have stupid leaders.

And have you seen what comes out of Canada? They send us their lipogrammarians, they send us Margaret Atwood. It’s just sad. It’s sad, but Canada has good leaders, they’re smart there, they do things smart over there. They have top people at the top. The other day a young student from NUY was intellectually assaulted by Christian Bök’s Eunoia. She didn’t leave her safe space for three days. It’s crazy, it’s crazy. This didn’t happen before; our students used to be tougher. Why wasn’t she reading someone like Raymond Federman? What happened to toughening up? I see all those Style-Jailing Warriors walking around, moaning, demanding that all novels be equal in verbal tripe, an equal style for everyone. Sad. What changed? Where did American literature go wrong?

Well, folks, let me tell you about Canada: I’ve met a few Canadians in business meetings, and I gotta say, they work harder there. They do, it’s true. I love Canadians, I really do. They don't horse around. A lipogrammatic book. I love it. It’s true, they work harder. And our creative teaching courses aren’t up to snuff, they can’t teach our future writers to compete with that. Not when they’re teaching them Raymond Carver. It’s true, Raymond Carver, that’s what goes on in those classrooms. Carver…

And you know why they work harder in Canada? Because it’s really cold out there! I mean, really cold! Like below zero. As far as cold goes, believe me, that’s huge. Canada is, like, just ice! Lots of ice! There’s no sunbathing in Canada. Pot doesn’t grow there. Ice does. I love ice, love it.

These Canadian, they stay home and write! I love it!

So this is what I promise you: as soon as I’m elected we’re going to grab all our undesirable writers and send them to Canada, and we’re gonna build a wall to keep them there. A huge wall. It’s gonna be huge, believe me. Let them spend three, four winters in Canada, and you can bet them masterpieces are gonna start flowing back to America. Locked in a cabin in the middle of the woods, temperatures below zero, listening to the blizzards outside, hungry, miserable – you can bet they’ll write masterpieces. Say bye-bye to the pampered generation. That’s gone, finished, over. Do you know who wrote in a cabin? In the cold? Henry David Thoreau! What happened, my fellow Americans? What happened to our once great literature? Why don’t we have Waldens anymore? Lemme tell you what happened: our writers started going to Mexican beaches instead of Canadian woods. But don’t worry, we’re gonna build the wall, we’re gonna fix everything…

We're gonna build that wall, and you know what? We're gonna build that wall and we're gonna make the Canadians pay for the wall. With royalties from the copies Atwood sells here. You don’t dump your great books in America, you don't make a fortune signing up with our publishers, you don't steal interview opportunities that could go to our low-profile experimental writers instead - you don’t get to do that in our America and not give something back! And let me tell, that’s not gonna happen on my watch! With me, American literature comes first! We’re gonna change business around here, trust me, we’re gonna fix things…

That’s why my opponents are so scared of me...

Thoreau built a cabin, and we’re gonna build the wall, and if our writers don’t want to freeze to death they’ll build cabins too, and then they’re gonna write inside them. Don’t worry, we’re gonna take our masterpieces back. And very soon. Very soon...

But we also-

Hey, don’t worry about the humming of that Kindle, I love Kindles, really, I’m hearing you Kindle humming and I love it. I love it. What an awesome Kindle…

But we also hafta take care of our backyard, folks!

We have to put an end to old rope culture on campus. We need to patrol students to make sure they're reading Ada and Ardor to learn how to write without clichés, commonplaces, stock phrases, stale imagery, overused similes. And – and this is big stuff, and we’re going to teach our students all about how words work, especially aurally. For instance, “know” doesn’t just mean “know”, it can also mean “no”, like in Joyce’s sentence “They shall come to know good.” Do I have to repeat that? Sometimes “know” means “no”. Don’t worry, we’re gonna teach our kids all about homophones and polysemy. We’re gonna make them brainy again. I love brainy people, love them! It’s true. You think the Regressive Literati care if a student delivers a sentence like “The room was dark like pitch”? Folks, they don’t care. I mean, ain’t there other things a dark room could be likened to? Something more unpredictable? So, folks, as soon I’m elected I’m signing an Executive Order banning clichés from literature! No more old rope! My administration will tighten our vetting process, it will train our staff with Vladimir Nabokov, William H. Gass, Alexander Theroux, Mary Caponegro, Paul West, John Hawkes, all the stylists. I love stylists. Nothing pedestrian will pass through them.

And let me just say, let me just say that it’s a disgrace, OK, it’s a disgrace all the hoopla with my opponents about how I’m surrounding myself with too many Hawkes people. It’s disgusting. Well, I think we need to be a bit more hawkish in times like these, don’t you think? Yeah, I know you do. Yeah, we do. It’s true, we do. Don’t we all sleep better at night knowing we have all those Hawkes people keeping fiendish clichés out of our literature? Don’t worry, we’re gonna fix everything…

Books without clichés. Ain’t that gonna be awesome? Yep, it’s gonna be awesome! More novels like The Tunnel and Darconville’s Cat? It’s gonna be awesome, isn’t it? America used to be great at those. I used to see them all the time when I was a kid. This isn't nostalgia, folks, it's factual, and we can have those good old times again! But our leaders suck at their jobs, that’s the problem! They’re incompetent! They suck at their jobs and allowed things to go so baaad that a two-bit peddler of micro-stories like Lydia Davis is considered a great conteuse. In the country that used to have Guy Davenport. And nobody reads his short-stories anymore, am I right? It’s so sad… Our leaders, it’s sad, it really is…

Actually I was just kidding, you can turn that Kindle off. I think she believed me when I said I like to give speeches while people are reading on their Kindle. Yeah, seriously, can you turn it off? Anyway, the thing with – I told you to turn it off. I know it’s still on. I know it’s still on! It’s on! Turn it off! Turn it off! Turn it off! Yeah, goodbye, thank you. Bye-bye.

Don’t worry, folks, we’re gonna build the wall, and yes, the Canadians are going to pay for the wall, and yes, our writers are going to starve into perfection. Let’s cut down on their food stamps, destroy their jobs, let deregulated banks invest their savings willy-nilly, take away their Medicare, raise the gas bill, pump up the frustration. And I promise you this too: as soon as I’m in office I’ll sign an Executive Order to stop literary magazines from praising books. Melville’s The Confidence-Man only got lousy reviews and it’s brilliant. Not, it’s true, read Watson G. Branch’s Melville: The Critical Heritage. My opponents don’t have arguments because they know it’s true, so they and the fake news media in their pockets lie and distort. But we know the truth, don’t we? Yeah we do, we do, yeah…

No more positive reviews, just for a while, as a temporary measure, for precaution, until we get things back in shape. Let’s make our writers insecure, unloved. Wouldn’t it be great if they worked hard to feel they deserve recognition? It worked for Melville, and look how awesome American Literature was back then. It can be that way again. As soon as we build the wall, ban clichés and outlaw positive reviews. It’s a question of good management. And nobody’s better at management than me, believe me. We have got to take our literature back and run it properly.

Now I want to addr-

Oh, heeellooo. Look at that, what a shame. Come on – put up your sign. What does it say? “Young Adult is literature too”. You see? How sad. A college kid. In my time they read Barth and Sorrentino in college. Kick him out. Yeah, bye. Now they want rights to read Harry Potter. A shame, no, really, it is, a huge shame, huge. Kick him out. How about duties too? The duty to check the dictionary every time an unknown word shows up. You think Theroux got to be the writer he is if didn’t check his dictionary, like, lots of times? He probably has huge dictionaries at home, huge, for the big words, the biggies. Kick him out. Our college kids don’t care; the Regressive Literati don’t want them using dictionaries, that’s why they indoctrinate them with Carver. That’s the kind of choices you’re free to make when you have bad leadership. No wonder the International Booker Prize goes to Hungarians with funny names. Just kick him out, kick him out! Buuu-buuuy.

Probably someone from the Regressive Literati put him up to this. Is he gone yet? Alright…

So I want to address the thing about the Russians. It’s on the news, the media have been running this story all week. Utterly dishonest, as usual. My opponents say I should disavow Russians. Of course they do. They’re stupid. And weak. Let me tell you about a Russian who was more patriotic than them: Nabokov. I’d be stupid to disavow Russians. Actually, we’re gonna strengthen relationships with Russia, we’re gonna send our writers to Russia to learn foreign languages and develop multilingual puns.

Wouldn’t that be awesome, folks? Remember the old days, when American literature punned in multiple languages? I love puns. Nabokov, Paul West. Love those guys. What happened? Why is everything so English these days? Remember the good old days when readers trudged through The Recogntions and got stumped at the Hungarian sentences? Why can we only have Hungarian in Hungarian novels nowadays? But don’t worry, we’re gonna fix that too: once I’m elected I promise, and believe me, nobody promises better than me, I promise to deregulate the Hungarian language so everyone can use it; a free language market. Let me put this alliteratively for the highly educated: no taxes, no tithes, no tariffs – trust me, it’ll be huge, tremendous, titanic for pun business. I love the highly educated, love them.

And I also promise you this: once I’m elected I will order my Secretary of Justice to immediately start investigating the claims that Mr. Franzen’s earlier drafts of “Mr. Difficult” contained jabs at Joseph McElroy. Just disgusting. I’ll give my Secretary of Justice all the power he needs to get to the bottom of that. This is big stuff, important stuff.

And I also assure you that after I’m elected I’ll sue all of those who accuse me of sending a memo to my publishing company instructing them not to publish Sergio De La Pava’s A Naked Singularity. That’s a lie, it’s false. These people are disgusting. I know the media has put its usual spin on this, but don’t worry, nobody can stop us. It only shows they’re afraid, and desperate, because they work for the same un-American Americans who don’t want American literature to be great again. But you know what? We’re gonna make American literature great again! Because it’s AmeriCAN, not AmerICARUS; we don’t fall, we soar! We are gonna make American literature great again!

It's time we end divisive talk and come together as one literature. From now on it’s American literature first!

Thank you.

Gaddis bless America.

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