Literary Clusterfucks 2013

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Literary clusterfucks are a bit like car wrecks, in that they invite gawkers, but they're much less consequential.

sharpening the contraindications (Aimless), Thursday, 22 April 2021 23:15 (two months ago) link

there doesn’t seem to be any consideration (on Twitter anyway) that this trauma could affect, say, how someone behaves when their work of several years becomes public

True, but who has time to research the lives of all the people who bumblefuck their way into your timeline and act like dickheads?

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 23 April 2021 05:04 (two months ago) link

Deborah Levygate

A blatantly racist short story by Deborah Levy.

I shared this on ig yesterday and it has left many of us deeply upset for obvious reasons (though not obvious enough apparently for Deborah or Ambit).

Please keep sharing. Thank you. https://t.co/Xgv4m0fPFq

— Jasmine Lo 羅暄兒 (@017Jasmine) April 25, 2021

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Monday, 26 April 2021 08:24 (one month ago) link

God that looks dire. Googling turns up a NYT review of a short story collection it was included in, which says:

'Proletarian Zen'' is a kind of extended and amusing dialect joke.

You don't say.

john p. coltrane in hot pursuit (Matt #2), Monday, 26 April 2021 10:13 (one month ago) link

A resolution of sorts:

1. There have been a series of tweets since yesterday about Proletarian Zen by Deborah Levy, a short story that Ambit published in 1986. It should not have been reprinted in 2019.

— Ambit Magazine (@ambitmagazine) April 26, 2021

This Literary Clusterfuck is now concluded, thanks for watching.

john p. coltrane in hot pursuit (Matt #2), Monday, 26 April 2021 12:24 (one month ago) link

there were a series of editorial mistakes for it being reprinted it in 2019 which we are exploring in house.

the story was laying next to a different story and we accidentally put it in the magazine while distracted by a particularly pleasant birdsong

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Monday, 26 April 2021 14:04 (one month ago) link

Not quite a clusterfuck though. It generated around 10 tweets + immediate apology

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Monday, 26 April 2021 15:31 (one month ago) link

perfunctory cluster makeout sesh at best

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 26 April 2021 15:56 (one month ago) link

From Deborah Levy.

Proletarian Zen was a short story written in my early 20’s and published in 1986.
Context: I was asked to write a satire about stereotypes in fiction.
I totally understand it is offensive & I got this wrong & you are right to call it out.

— Ambit Magazine (@ambitmagazine) April 26, 2021

Joe Bombin (milo z), Monday, 26 April 2021 16:01 (one month ago) link

Can’t these apologies ever be along the lines of “Jesus Christ, what the fuck was wrong with me”?

Joe Bombin (milo z), Monday, 26 April 2021 16:01 (one month ago) link

preferably was/is actually

I don’t know, I just don’t get an actual sense of shame from “I hear you, I see you.”

Joe Bombin (milo z), Monday, 26 April 2021 16:02 (one month ago) link

"I did not give permission for this story to be reprinted in 2019" is a bit odd, although maybe she doesn't control the copyright for some published works? Anyway there'll surely be another fustercluck along soon, never fear, probably involving an old-timey SF writer and/or the Hugo Awards.

john p. coltrane in hot pursuit (Matt #2), Monday, 26 April 2021 16:06 (one month ago) link

no way url slugs

Canon in Deez (silby), Monday, 26 April 2021 20:02 (one month ago) link

lol

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 26 April 2021 20:09 (one month ago) link

Can’t these apologies ever be along the lines of “Jesus Christ, what the fuck was wrong with me”?

Ehhh not a comment on this particular infraction but the public apology has become such a cliché and punchline at this point that I doubt it can be pulled off in a way that won't read as insincere to most people. "Jesus Christ what the fuck was wrong with me?" could easily tip over into performative hand-wringing and making-it-all-about-yourself for instance.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 09:03 (one month ago) link

Meanwhile it seems Philip Roth's biographer is a creep or worse

― Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 21 April 2021 18:16 (one week ago) link

I didn't think I cared about this story, but I ended up reading the two pieces on Slate (one first-person account, one investigative reporting) and they were both so powerfully written, I was just absolutely gutted by the end.

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Friday, 30 April 2021 23:07 (one month ago) link

Ugh, just glanced at that. I can't even. Did you ever read the one about the Horace Mann teacher?

A Stop at Quilloughby (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 30 April 2021 23:47 (one month ago) link

Does the Believer guy bathing in a mesh shirt on a Zoom call count as a clusterfuck?

Joe Bombin (milo z), Friday, 30 April 2021 23:54 (one month ago) link

clusterducky you’re the one

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Saturday, 1 May 2021 00:07 (one month ago) link

maybe there's more going on, but the believer guy seems more foolish and unfortunate than anything else

otoh maybe a guy who's in so much pain that he has to take work meetings in the tub yet doesn't consider wearing swim trunks shouldn't really be in charge of anything

mookieproof, Saturday, 1 May 2021 00:19 (one month ago) link

I don't understand how it makes sense to say both "the exposure on the Zoom call may not have been intentional" and "we view it as an act of sexual harassment".

JRN, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 05:45 (one month ago) link

JRN, sexual harassment does not depend on the intention of the harasser, but on whether the people consider the behavior unwelcome. However unintentional the bathtub incident may have been, it was behavior of a sexual nature that was unwelcome.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 11:00 (one month ago) link

Why was he in the bathtub while on a call?

treeship., Wednesday, 5 May 2021 11:41 (one month ago) link

I think indecent exposure, accidentally, via Zoom is possible, and I don’t think it would be sexual harassment then. Like what if you forget you were in a waiting room and the host suddenly lets you into the meeting? Or you thought you signed off but didn’t. The app runs in the background, behind your other apps.

In this case he was already naked on the call which seems weird.

treeship., Wednesday, 5 May 2021 11:44 (one month ago) link

His explanation is that he has fibromyalgia and was soaking in the tub to manage pain. I'm not sure that's being challenged, as such.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 11:52 (one month ago) link

Or rather it's being viewed sceptically but no alternate account of events has been publicised.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 11:53 (one month ago) link

I understand that you can harass without intending to--but can you harass via an action you didn't even intend to perform? If a boss accidentally tripped and fell into an employee's lap, could that count as sexual harassment? That seems to be the suggestion in the open letter. I don't get it, the response seems plenty strong without it.

JRN, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:19 (one month ago) link

That letter pretty clearly says "Sure, this one thing might have been accidental, but he's just the kind of asshole who'd do something like this on purpose, and you better believe we've got some stories we could tell."

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:26 (one month ago) link

^^^ that was my take, seems like employees he's treated like shit over the years are all too happy to put this incident into an overall pattern of behavior

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:28 (one month ago) link

the Open Letter is suggesting the harassment was because he had a pattern of being negligent and showing disregard for the staffers, suggesting that he cares little enough about the sensitivities of his co-workers that he wouldn't take precautions to prevent the possibility of something like that even happening (like, perhaps attending the call on audio only, or ....not being in the tub).

but with that being said, it is really fucking easy to fuck up web cam by accident. I had a new laptop once and hit a button in WebEx by mistake and it flipped my camera on while I was shirtless (I immediately ducked under the table and threw a shirt on and flipped camera off).

I teach classes regularly and yes, on days when I haven't been required to use web cam, I always make sure I'm attired for that reason. but I think "this was a freak accident" is probably likely.

Filibuster Poindexter (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:37 (one month ago) link

or what unperson and jon said. dammit, took too long to rewrite the message

Filibuster Poindexter (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:38 (one month ago) link

Having worked for a couple of years at a small lit magazine of Believer-y proportions, edited by a total asshole who made everyone's lives miserable, the open letter rings completely accurate to me.

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:40 (one month ago) link

I guess the point is, some freak accidents are less freaky than others

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:41 (one month ago) link

Yeah one rather obvious reading would be "it may have been unintentional, but given our other experiences, we doubt it". So never mind what I said before.

JRN, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 14:44 (one month ago) link

I'm not sure it's even that - it seems close to 'it may have been unintentional but only someone who doesn't care about their staff's wellbeing could have put themselves in a position to make that mistake in the first place', which idk.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 15:31 (one month ago) link

Yeah. "I forgot to be careful" is only a hair from "I couldn't be bothered to be careful".

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 16:28 (one month ago) link

Not having a shirt on and having one's camera come on by accident is very different from what this guy did, y'all. He literally was on a call, naked. Either he doesn't give a shit or shouldn't have been on the call because he was in too much pain.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 16:54 (one month ago) link

Wondering if there was any benefit to this meeting being a Zoom call instead of a conference call by phone. Dude could still have a job if he’d said that he had to be in the tub because of his medical condition and so maybe a call would be better, or else had kept the camera off for the call for the same reason.

too cool for zen talk (Eazy), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 17:40 (one month ago) link

Hmm x2

The article did not quote anyone else who had been present, and so there was little room for Shenk’s exposure to be interpreted as anything more than an unfortunate mistake. Staffers were incensed. “This article is all he needs to get himself another job where he can endanger people,” a colleague wrote to me. This was the first we were hearing about a bathtub, and several other details in the article seemed to be acting as convenient distractions; for instance, the “mesh shirt” Shenk was supposedly wearing had appeared on screen to be a normal-looking white t-shirt.

https://defector.com/whats-happening-at-the-believer-is-about-more-than-just-a-zoom-incident/

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Thursday, 6 May 2021 20:47 (one month ago) link

yeah I'm inclined to believe his employees' account, pretty fucked how many journalistic publications spiked the employee comments.

Feta Van Cheese (Neanderthal), Thursday, 6 May 2021 21:16 (one month ago) link

Skyhorse Publishing has picked up the Philip Roth biography. Check out their website to see the other fine, fine books they publish...

http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 17 May 2021 21:08 (one month ago) link

I think I've got one of their Robert F Jones books. Since when did they become associated with Night Shade Books? I love Night Shade.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 17 May 2021 21:23 (one month ago) link

They publish all sorts of stuff, literally no filter

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 18 May 2021 08:38 (one month ago) link

Skyhorse Publishing’s House of Horrors

Skyhorse Publishing, literary home to Michael Cohen, Woody Allen, and Alan Dershowitz, has struggled with bigger problems than a roster of political unsavories. Interviews suggest a history of workplace toxicity and inappropriate behavior.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Tuesday, 18 May 2021 19:19 (one month ago) link

Wow shocking

Clara Lemlich stan account (silby), Tuesday, 18 May 2021 19:45 (one month ago) link

four weeks pass...

https://www.chimamanda.com/

have at it folks

imago, Thursday, 17 June 2021 10:27 (one week ago) link

the chimamanda essay is essential reading but this part just absolutely nails everything that is wrong with this generation pic.twitter.com/5wW1pn3SlJ

— jonathan nunn (@demarionunn) June 17, 2021

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 17 June 2021 10:30 (one week ago) link


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