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“Piece of Resistance” Matters To Men

May 2, 2013

"The" Red State men's novel... gutsy, smart, funny, prophetic

Just published at ScribbCrib.com

“Everyday guys versus punk terrorists — for starters…” 

"The" Red State men's novel... gutsy, smart, funny, prophetic

In 1930’s The Avenging Saint, Simon Templar, The Saint himself, defends his own genre of fiction. “The low-down shocker is a decent and clean and honest-to-God form of literature, because it does deal with things that have a right to occupy a man’s mind — a primitive chivalry, and damsels in distress, and virtue triumphant, and a wholesale slaughter of villains at the end, and a real fight running through it all.”

"The" Red State men's novel... gutsy, smart, funny, prophetic

“So you write fiction for uh… men?”

Yes, I do. I like men. I’m one myself.

“But, surely, you know, today women own publishing?”

They have earned the right. Even so, this status quo is unprofitable for Publishers Row — whose houses theoretically might double their incomes by including men — and bad for an American literature foundering in a peat bog of vampires, endless sci-fantasy sagas, and MFA chic-lit.

“But you’re missing the point. Men don’t read today.”

Men don’t read more novels today because there aren’t more men in them. I want to change that.

“Really? Why?”

Because girly fiction bores the balls off us, if you don’t mind my saying so.

“I’m sure the women novelists are sad you aren’t having a better time.”

You miss my point. I refuse to believe ambitious literary men care more for Political Correctness than we do about excellence. Call it what you will, undeniably, something is stunting our best young authors.

“Men. Don’t. Read. Today.”

I’m not talking about fewer and fewer readers. They’d come back if there were writers important enough to dare tell men the truth in our time as Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos, and Bellow did in theirs.

“Literature was completely different back then.”

And that difference is the measure of our fall. The best-sellers 20th century Americans freely chose either came “High Brow” — Thomas Mann, say; “Middle Brow” — J.D. Salinger comes to mind; or “Low Brow” — sci-fi and detective stories. Today, this wide range of popular writing has collapsed into a single feminized “Lower-Middle Brow ” pulp fiction increasingly ignored even by women themselves.

“Proof?

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction wasn’t even awarded last year — a full gob of rich Establishment spit in all those hip young faces. So, screw the  Establishment! Go rogue! I’m actively trying to open up male writers to the classic masculine ideal of a fiction that can help shape their generation as did Fitzgerald in the Twenties, Kerouac at mid-century, and Mailer in the Sixties.

“Hey, I read contemporary novels, and I happen to really enjoy –“

Excuse me, don’t get me wrong. Postmodern novels are often effective as fiction, everybody writes very well, but they have nothing to say.

“…”

Nothing important to say to either men or women about the way we live now, not said directly, not as Ralph Ellison argued our fiction must do in order to approach greatness.

“Yes, yes, I have his quote right here. Said the author of Invisible Man, best-regarded American novel of the second half of the 20th century…

“‘…And is there not a connection between the non-intellectual aspects of (American fiction) and its creators’ rejection of broad social responsibility, its failure to project characters who grasp the broad sweep of American life?'”

This is the horizon. This is our challenge.

“So you, who write for karate magazines, you are worthy?”

Read it yourself. Piece of Resistance is a solid thriller, that’s what they tell me, and, for today’s average reader in this year of grace, I say it also rises to Mr. Ellison’s occasion. But be prepared, if you’re just another post-masculine urban conformist, my realism may ruffle your cool.

“Realism is realism.”

My realism seems like social satire because our society really satirizes itself. So male readers of Piece of Resistance tell me what they are feeling is the “shock of recognition” when, for the first time, they enter in fiction the real world they have to live in. A place often as frankly hostile to men and our natural values as today’s average American college campus, where, at this very minute, by the way, they are busy gelding our next generation of nominally masculine authors.

“More insults! Can’t you say something constructive to these students?”

You are a male writer? For whom do you write, and why? If you write for women, women can do it better. American literature doesn’t need more women of both sexes.

“You certainly are opinionated. And your attitude toward Islam –“

Sadly, the recent terrorist attack on Boston proves what I’ve been claiming since the Kindle edition went up last year. My book is prophetic. We got legs blown off in this novel, too, folks. I’m not thrilled about that fact, but there it is. And there’s more, it gets worse, there’s what must come after.

“So now you are exploiting the tragedy?”

Are you trying to provoke me? Mr. Interlocutor, as a nation we must stop flinching and finally face the global meaning of terrorism, and we men must lead against this hard new reality because it is we who are always called upon to fight world wars. And it is before-hand, in our cultural imaginations, our “collective unconscious,” that men prepare. This is why Culture matters. This is the seriousness of light fiction.

All this interview proves is you are very glib.”

What do you want me to do? Stammer?

“Never mind. Just sum it up. Why should Piece of Resistance matter to me?”

Piece of Resistance ends up asking you a straight-forward question. If indeed I am telling you, personally, the simple truth, and here we are now, and this is what is coming for us all, then just what the fuck is a man like you prepared to do about it?

For starters — end this interview.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Emmett permalink
    May 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    The very same “All women/all the time” mentality has infected music as well. Any song that dares to have anything but fervent “respect for women” is dismissed as “offensive” while female artists can sing about how “Earl needed to die” and he stuffed in the trunk of the car while they look for a place to dump his body. Most of the great artists and writers of songs from the 20th century would not get in to see the publishers today. The listeners pretend to revere those folks because they’re SUPPOSED to, but they really don’t know anything about them.

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