Mankind's only alternative 21   MAR.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
War Nerd RSS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Book Review March 6, 2002
How I Harrassed The Working Class
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 3 of 6
But who would not reply to something like this? DeLillo, for God's sake! DeLILLO! He's one of those prima facie convictions: if you like DeLillo you're a fraud -- a fool and a fraud. DeLillo is a whore's whore, a corporate stand-up comic who's in demand as the hired entertainment at academic sales conventions. And that's all he is, or will ever be. Strictly for suckers. Not that I said all that to the DeLillo impresario. That would've been rude. I wrote back in my kindliest Jed Clampitt ethos:

>>> John Dolan <> 01/15/02 22:02 PM >>>

I guess...but like don't you think you're kind of missing the point? That is: DDL is a novelist in name only; he's writing the kind of articles you write, and you're finding in those disguised articles the theses you and he agreed to put there. It's a little like an easter-egg hunt, isn't it? Not really sporting. And not really very good, either.

In reply I got this serviceable, properly slappy answer:

Dear Mr. Dolan:

Huh? What point am I missing? I've never met Mr. DeLillo, and so it would be difficult for us to "agree" to "put" anything in his books, which are novels, not articles. If you know anything at all about DeLillo, you'd know that he resists any kind of co-optation by academics. He goes his own way, as do I.

I wonder if you've actually read anything by DeLillo.

Mark Osteen

There! The game as it should be played: I hate you and you hate me. Fine. A fair field and no favor, as Behan would say. But this pleasant bit of slapstick recreation emboldened me further. I...well, better get it off my chest: I...insulted a working-class poet.

"Working Class" is one of those terms you learned to snicker at in Berkeley. In fact, the entire vocabulary of class, as applied to the population of an American university, is disingenuous even by the standards of that habitat. (Which is somewhat like calling vegetation "lush even by the standards of the Amazon rain forest.")

Lush indeed: an Eden of blossoming lies. At Berkeley I learned that "middle class" meant REALLY, REALLY RICH. It had to; there was no word for "rich" which was admissible in polite circles. Which was odd, because they were mostly rich, those people. I had thought it meant people like us: three bedrooms and two mortgages in Pleasant Hill.

It was never very clear what "working class" meant in the Bay Area. If I had to sum it up in one word, it'd be "Hispanic." But for some reason nobody liked them or talked about them very much. They were ethnic; "working class" was mostly a white people's term.

Nobody wanted to be in the target area of the white middle class, so everybody in Berkeley worked hard on a bio which got them out, into a safely "marginalized" zone. Anything to get that white paint off you. Like: bad childhood? Write it up! Make something of it! Thus the spectacle of poets writing "semi-autobiographical" accounts of rapes that never happened, abusive fathers who would have blushed just to hear the names of the acts ascribed to them by their upwardly/downwardly mobile daughters. I remember jousts between bad-childhood contestants which went on for hours.

So the term "working-class" got used for a very complex menagerie of variously fucked-up families: drunk, Napa, cult, Gate 5, SSI.... None of them bore much resemblance to the row houses Marx was talking about. There were a few people who fit that bill, but they always dropped out. And that is an important thing to remember about "working class": it is a term which can be profitably deployed only by people to whom it no longer applies.

For the unluckily ungroped, there were other options: suicide in the family? Any attempts yourself? (It worked for Sylvia; she became the Goddess of Victims, and she sure as Hell wasn't "working class"!)

The same grim avidity which these people devoted to the "Extracurricular Activities" they were planning to list on their application to Berkeley was transferred to their desperate search for some genealogical claim to wretchedness. Because it was the equivalent of the Chess Club or Hiking Team at the next level: it was what separated you from all the other straight-A applicants to law school.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author

New Hookah Flavors Hit Moscow :
Who Whacked Kozlov?
Who Whacked Kozlov? : An update on last year’s Central Bank murder mystery

Separated At Grin :

Freaky Iraqis : Now U See Them, Now U Don't


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442