The Truth About Bob Woodward

IS THERE A LITERARY HERD?

The proof that there is a literary herd was provided in a brief twitter exchange I had a couple days ago with Dennis Loy Johnson, editor and publisher at New York-based Melville House Press.

IN the article, Johnson freely dismantles Bob Woodward’s credibility as a reporter, using example after example, including “Deep Throat”; including Woodward’s infamous “interview” with the corpse of Bill Casey on his death bed.

BUT, that was five years ago when Bob Woodward was out of favor with the left-leaning intelligentsia. He’d been critical of President Barack Obama. Before that, Woodward was believed to approve of President George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. Now it’s 2018, and the wind is blowing in another direction.

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(Are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia this week?)

black hat 2Five years ago Dennis Loy Johnson could easily take shots at Bob Woodward; even expose him as something of a liar. TODAY Woodward, like all Insider D.C. commentators, is fundamentally opposed to Trump. Therefore, today he’s not a bad guy but a good guy again. Cue up memories of Watergate.

white hatIT MIGHT MAKE SENSE for Dennis Loy Johnson to advertise his 2013 take down of Bob Woodward. From a business standpoint it surely would– one would think– by drawing attention to Johnson and to Melville House. But it would make Johnson a pariah with the one-direction-only literary herd. Despite his instinct for telling the truth, Johnson is ultimately too shrewd to stand too-far apart from the herd.

To call out Bob Woodward and the salacious parts of Woodward’s new book would take rare intellectual courage, for one who stands in Johnson’s position.

TO DO SO would place himself in what he calls “LOSERVILLE”– which I believe Dennis Loy Johnson means to apply to writers existing outside the golden bubble realm of New York. (I don’t believe he was referring to Detroit– I hope he wasn’t– though he could’ve been.)

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Johnson also wants us to give him points for NOT tossing his own article down the Orwellian Memory Hole. We can do that.

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And Bob Woodward? What’s the truth about Bob Woodward?

The truth about Bob Woodward is that he is what he’s been from the beginning– an Establishment Centrist loyally serving Establishment power. Woodward stays the same. The perception of who Woodward is is always changing.

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-Karl Wenclas, New Pop Lit NEWS

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Death of the Alt-Right

funeral

While it will likely stumble on in the political sphere a while longer, the so-called alt -right is finished in the literary realm. Didn’t take much to end it. An alt-right site, Excavation– digging up the underground, was forced to shut down by an aggressive antifa campaign. Its editor, Michael Marrotti, has vanished from view. From what evidence I’ve seen, the criminalized words he used ranged from “Jewish Sharia” to “white pride.” As epithets,  fairly mild– but still thought crimes in this well-regulated time. The poets who’d published their work at the site didn’t realize he was a white supremacist until told about it.

Marrotti himself is a working class poet from the rust belt city of Pittsburgh– not a person of any power. “Supremacist” is a misnomer. “Defensivist” might be more accurate.

“It’s all about pain
steak knives used
to warm the soul
from a frigid planet”
-from Marrotti’s poem, “Optimistic Poetry”

Another alt-right site, Casper Magazine, changed its name several months ago when the ideological weather vane began changing– at the same time its original editor, “Pozwald Spengler,” either radically changed his identity and belief system, or sped away without a whimper of protest, not to be heard from again.

At least two stories were expunged from the site, “Cathy” by Ben Arzate, and “Scumbag,” by Alice Florida Xu. They’ve been safely flushed down the Orwellian memory hole. No complaints heard yet from either of the two writers. Given today’s hysterical McCarthyist climate, one can understand their silence.

Other alt-right figures who were once buoyant about creating an intellectual alternative to today’s p.c. monolith have backed off from, or recanted, their ideas.

OUR CONCLUSION is that it was never much of a movement– more straw man than army. Its few writers and editors were easily intimidated. If any remain they’ll be rounded up by the antifa posses, publicly chastized and silenced.
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How much of a danger did alt-right-leaning writers pose? Could they have posed?

It’s noteworthy that these advocates of “supremacy” had not a sole representative at any of this nation’s major cultural and literary institutions. Not at publishing’s Big Five, nor at the Washington Post or New York Times, nor at The New Yorker magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, New York Review of Books, Bookforum, LARB, etc. etc. etc. Instead, individuals of marked privilege themselves at these bastions of influence have used the opportunity to themselves denounce any trace of alt-right thinking in literature today, to adopt a posture against privilege, and approve and endorse the angry antifa posses.

In the literary sphere, there are dangers and then there are dangers.

 

Disclaimer

CAUTION: We’re turning this blog into a free speech zone, where we’ll discuss actions of the New Censorship Movement; in some cases mentioning the incidents and names (gasp!) of those writers or literary sites which have been expunged from the Internet. Such actions reek too much of Orwell’s classic novel 1984 to suit our taste. Too many people have fought too hard for the freedom of expression all of us (up until now) have enjoyed, for us to casually sit by when such freedoms are restricted.

Example: Our upcoming new entrants in the All-Time American Writers Tournament include two controversial writers, one controversial in his political ideas and actions and the other controversial in his art. Should they be expunged from memory because they offended people?

We’re frankly amazed by the complacency of writers to what’s happening– but we shouldn’t be, given our own history within a well-regulated U.S. literary world. We may at some point discuss that history here, and the role it’s played in our thinking.
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THE WEEK IN POP LIT

The current week includes a very good new story by Brian Eckert which affirms the right of an individual to live life as he chooses. We also reported on the above-mentioned Tournament (more reportage this weekend). Keep up on pop lit doings at our home page.

Thanks for reading!