Tuesday, June 25, 2002

From the In Box: Among the Literati VIII
What did you mean, anyway? -- Joe Germuska

I'm not sure if this'll make sense, but here goes. As cool as Eggers and the people surrounding him -- or supported and promoted by him -- are, being part of that group shouldn't be the goal of all cool, young literati. Then we'd only have one in crowd, one tribe of solid young writers. I'm not necessarily suggesting that folks should organize their own groups in response -- as attractive as a McSweeney's like web of connections might be -- but it's not an Eggers/not-Eggers world, and most folks seem to aspire to be on the Eggers side these days. Perhaps understandably so.

Basically, I'd rather see more good journals like 3rd Bed, the American Journal of Print, Fence, Pindeldyboz, Sweet Fancy Moses, etc. sprouting up all over -- many inspired by McSweeney's, sure, but many not -- and there's room for more than one outlet for amazing new writing. We're already seeing quite a bit of overlap among the contributors. Let the web of connections continue to grow, I say -- Eggers is a strong node in that literary network, but not everyone needs to be closely aligned with him. Yet it seems that everyone -- again, perhaps understandably -- wants to be his best friend.

Not that I say all of the above thinking there's some sort of McSweeney's monopoly. There isn't. But there's also a lot of room in which people can do their own thing their own way -- and still reach the kind of readers attracted to Eggers and Eggers-related projects.

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