Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rob Mills- Response to The Death of Fiction

The last sentence of this really put me in a pissy mood. "And for Christ's sake, write something we might want to read?" Who does this Ted What'shisface think he is?

Oh... he's the editor for VQR? I see.

But so? He starts the piece with this sad sob story about going to a kids soccer game and the other parents not giving or knowing a hoot about what he does for a living. Sad. This is coming from the editor of one of the most elitist publications in this country. He probably goes to parties and asks people if they've seen movies he knows they haven't seen just to make them feel inadequate. But- but but- after reading the body of this essay, I was starting to think he wasn't so bad. Until he went and said that. (Write something we might want to read? Who the hell does he think he is? And then I was reminded why I personally don't care if every literary review in the country goes out of print. It will keep people like this from having an outlet to spout their superiority complex over the rest of society that aren't privy to the cronyism of academia. He all but admitted in the good old days reviews for places for select individuals to get published- everyone was just helping out their friends. Now, GASP, people actually have to work to get published.

I think the demise of these publications will eliminate the inner-circle of literary academia (I think they call it a community) that gives it the pretentious reek it has today.


  1. I feel your frustration, but am sad to say I don't think elitist publication spaces will ever go away. Folks are still really excited to feel like they have some special "in" or knowledge others don't.

    I think what he says about "write something we want to read" is both good and bad advice, right? I mean there is a space for enjoyable work, but also we need spaces for work that troubles and frustrates us. I didn't like reading half of what I did in lit and rhetoric classes (Aristotle is kinda boring) but I'm glad I did. He doesn't seem to leave much room for work we don't know we like, or should like, until we have been sorta forced to consider it.

  2. When I read this article, and the others by Pound and Eliot, it felt a little bit like a case of "editor's rage." You know--where you've seen one too many its/it's and they're/their mistakes and why, for pete's sake, can't an intelligent person send you something to read for once?

    I don't know what it is about possessing a red pen that provokes this sort of ego trip, but I'm glad I'm not the only one a little irked by it.

  3. There was so much ego to each of the pieces, and I can see the editor's frustration and rage idea. There seems to be more to it though, because I think he is referring to content very strongly in this too, which is ridiculous because there is definitely still good fiction out there.