As many are already absolutely aware, beginning on March 6 and ending on March 9 there was a literary conference — sponsored by Bambi Muse and Fox News — of sparkly specialness. That literary conference — the Kmart Belles Lettres Conference — was clamorous, and clamor commands a summary. So here is a summary!
March 6 (Day 1):
Most of the attendees were in a foul mood for the first day. Edie Sedgwick, for one, lost her fur in a cab on the night before and refused to mingle with anyone, even the sharp society poet Edith Sitwell. Sitwell tried to offer Edie a coup of tea, but Edie insisted that no one speak to her about anything unless it was directly related to the recovery of her fur coat.
So, instead Sitwell started a conversation with none other than Baby Adolf, the first Bambi Muse baby. Here’s a snippet of their chat:
This past week, there have been several blogs (plus the mention in the New Yorker) about Tao Lin and the reviews lodged for and against him. To be fair, I haven’t read much of Tao’s work, but I am entrenched in the pure spectacle of “Tao Lin.” Mostly out of boredom but partly because I can’t get away from it, even if I wanted to.
But consider this, in his Author’s Preface, Alexander Pope argues, “Poetry and criticism [are] by no means the universal concern of the world, but only the affair of idle men who write in their closets, and of idle men who read there.” So I’m back to the question of boredom. Why do we care who says what about Tao? And here, just look back at the comment streams about Tao. People seem to do more than simply “care.” They’re invested! I barely have time to care about the reviews written about my friends, much less any other contemporary. I have no desire to be an idle man writing in my closet, nor an idle man reading there.
It doesn’t matter much to me whether or not Tao (or any other writer, for that matter) cultivates this particular brand of hype. My concern has to do with the unabashed responses that indicate how very right Pope is. Even this post reinforces Pope’s argument that I’m simply an idle man—or woman in this case—reading in a closet.