Behind the Scenes & HTMLGIANT Features & Massive People

….Why Do You Treat Alt Lit (Steve Roggenbuck in particular) with such scorn?…(Ask The Oracle – Part I)….

jeremy oracle

“fire is the master young grasses appear” — Ikkyū


I tend to get lost in the trees so I like to check in with Jereme Dean because well I think of Jereme as a wise man, an oracle, a modern day version of Ikkyū the 15th century Zen Master:

they used sticks and yells and other tricks those fakes
Ikkyū reaches high low like sunlight

Jereme, furthermore, sits outside of writing movements, fashion, allegiances, etc, and there is an authority and a confidence to Jereme that I really respond to:

I live in a shack on the edge of whorehouse row
me autumn a single candle

And because Jereme will tell it you straight, a true oracle, I’ve decided to start up this new feature, “Ask the Oracle,” where, periodically, I’m going to put crucial questions to our modern-day Ikkyū.


and so, here then, now, is the first installment of “Ask the Oracle”:


Rauan: I’ve seen you poke fun at (or be scornful of, i guess) “Alt Lit” and, specifically, i think, Steve Roggenbuck. But are you really against these positive, energetic DIY youngsters? (& plz elaborate)

Jereme: Alt Lit has nothing to do with online writing, really. It’s a clique. Some have tried desperately to associate writing with the term, like people who feel their worthwhileness is minor and desire to be part of a movement–something remarkable!–or publishers looking to categorize their books for sale. But, don’t be fooled, alt lit is to writing like a cafeteria is to school education.

Internet literature isn’t new. There are plenty of people who’ve been around before the term was coined, and still are around, writing: Blake Butler, Sam Pink, Tao Lin, Daniel Bailey, Mike Young, Jimmy Chen, Brandon Scott Gorrell, etc.

True positivity is anchored and unafraid of negativity, it actually welcomes it. While asserting yourself as a Haitian mongoose, regardless of emphaticism, doesn’t negate being a human being who hates himself/herself.

jereme hearts

“it takes horseshit to grow bamboo” — Ikkyū

Unsure where the idea of ‘positivity’ comes from though. I don’t see it. Feel like most people online make great efforts creating a fictitious identity, one which counters their insecurities, and the only way to actually believe the fantasy is to be chill/stay positive/chant affirmations. Because of this, the dissenting voice seems to be enemy number one to alt lit. They react ferociously and vehemently to remove it from the ranks, which is the easiest way to see the facade of positivity for what it is.

A truth I’ve noticed throughout life is the guy who won’t stop talking about what he is, has done or will do, is bullshit. Why is alt lit desperately trying to assert itself as a presence. The general mood is reminiscent of a fat virgin who doesn’t want people to know his abysmal dick hasn’t ever penetrated a woman by telling everyone and anyone how much pussy he’s destroyed since his balls dropped.

We all get it. You guys are young, dumb and full of internet cum. Pretty cool. It’s just… it’s just that any person/group/movement declaring itself as the new generation of beats ensures it isn’t.

The Bizarro group of writers is the model alt lit is trying to be. The paramount difference being Bizarro’s dearth of smarmy sermonizing from digital mountain tops. Probably because they’re too busy dressing up in costume, going to cons or writing about dragons, krakkens and dragonkrakkens.

I do think there are some talented writers coming out of the alt lit camp, authors who will become greater voices in time, and I look forward to reading their work.


jereme with fists

“sin like a madman until you can’t do anything else” — Ikkyū

Here’s a story about Steve Roggenbuck: after a reading, at an apartment, someone jumped on Steve’s unattended laptop and posted on his facebook. Ol’ boy discovered what had happened, came severely close to shitting himself, while seizuring, then admonished the person in his shrill voice because his “brand” had been tampered with.


So, yeah, fuck Steve Roggenbuck. He’s not a person or a poet, he’s a billboard advertising $1 sodas and 100pc nuggets. Why wouldn’t I dislike something like that?

His videos are on par with the shamwow guy: here’s a dude selling a piece of fabric–not even a large piece, just a small one–who knows if he doesn’t fatten the presentation, line the motherfucker with jazz and high-fives, nobody will notice or attribute value to a dumb piece of orange rayon.

If feigned intensity/screaming and mock humanity was purposeful, Wally George would be considered more than what he is. The Roggenbrand is no different.

I’m unsure if people actually take him seriously or not. I mean, I recently read an article about how inspirational Steve, the internet poet, is for the internet generation but the way it was written led me to believe the author was a stick of butter.

Steve is the roach motel of motivational self-help. If he wanted to help people, well, dude would actually be helping people.

A person looking externally for inspiration could follow ken baumann’s blog, read aaron gilbreath’s interviews with homeless people, hang out with some winos near a liquor store, write a felon, burn down an apple store, visit a high kill shelter or search for the eyes of hunger.

Roggenbrand enjoys lecturing about better life choices while claiming to be straight edge. Which bothers me. A lot.

jereme pensive

“frogs at the bottom of a well like you idiot” –Ikkyū

Straight edge is an affiliation. It’s not the same as saying “hey guys, I’m vegan!” In high school I knew some straight edgers. They liked to post outside of house parties and hospitalize anyone found really drunk and alone. Roggenbrand on the other hand does readings in bars. Which is a great example of everything wrong with current culture: the only belief is ego. I mean, finding a genuine hypocrite in the 21st century is harder than hearing a nun’s queef at an Alice Cooper concert.

In an alternate, but similar, reality, Steve is a coked-out amway salesman who just wants to help his friends and family get fricken rich.

The only noteworthy quality of Roggenbrand is how unoriginal he is. Not in a common way, more like in nearly 90% of what he screams, writes or does is “borrowed” from successful artists, pop culture and corporate marketing.

Modern society will largely accept anything as long as it’s encapsulated in a joke, conveniently delivered and doesn’t threaten the fragile sense of self-worth.

I’ll give him credit for exploiting people. You figured it out. Good job.

I recently saw him begging for money on Kickstarter for his ‘press’ Boosted House. The 10k he’s soliciting for is supposed to change the world through printing of books, creation of tshirts and stickers, vegan food, rent and tour costs. Apparently, working a job isn’t achievable when you’re an internet poet.

If tshirts possessed the ability to change the world, Dukakis would’ve been president back in 1988. Really curious to see these artifacts. Seriously.

Boosted House is concerned solely with advancing Steve’s vegan, drug-free, fake positivity agenda. It feels very cult, to me.

One of their future endeavors is to target “alt youth”, which shouldn’t be confused with “nazi youth”.

He’s targeting the young because they are, have, and always will be, easily manipulated. What he’s doing isn’t interesting or unique. I liken it to Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” campaign.

5-10 years from now the roggenbrand will be a vague, derisive memory followed by a chuckle and head shake, very much the same way people reminisce about that old lady and her quest for palpable meat.

For the record, I don’t consider Steve part of “alt lit”. I know people do but I don’t. A scene is the easiest way for a sociopath to feed his/her egotistical needs and alt lit just happens to be the largest right now, one almost any person can join. He’s an interloper, more akin to David Koresh, hustling the weak minded to fuel his ascension.

Anyways, if my feelings aren’t lucid, like, fuck Steve Roggenbuck and his attention whoring, fake guru, pubert brand. When, and if, I ever meet the actual person, I’ll let you know what I think of him.

jereme up at the light

“men stupid as horses cows” — Ikkyū


Tags: , , ,


  1. jereme_dean

      I don’t know the vibe of HTMLG anymore, but, i’d really appreciate if the governing person/s could allow any and all comments on this article. I don’t think anyone should be censored. Their opinion is just as reasonable as my own.

  2. davidmmmorton

      Best thing I’ve seen on HTMLG in a long time.

  3. viktor askew

      nice to see someone speak out against rogenbuck and his brand of bullshit. that guy’s ‘positivity’ is enough to make anyone sick. he’s the perpetually happy poet and that just doesn’t sit well

  4. DR

      Finally, a post on here that I actually read all the way through. Good to see someone man up. Props.

  5. Gene Morgan

      I hear you.

  6. Dandenong

      Good to see someone else realising that ‘Boost House’ seems to be just Roggenbuck’s way of getting other people to promote him for free. Once again he mimics the corporate structure/language by having his own interns work for free to advance himself.

  7. shaun gannon

      if one were to instead use the verb “curate” as in to “curate a brand” would that make it sound more like an art project and less like just some social manipulation? it obv makes it sound more douchey but that is not the question.

  8. jereme_dean

      From the voice of god to my ear.

  9. jereme_dean

      Not like it’s going to be a big deal. Nobody reads or interacts on htmlg anyways.

  10. Gene Morgan

      I am always here, my son.

  11. jereme_dean

      I don’t think any emotion, even depression, is static in nature. Even drug induced euphoria has a limit.

      What i’m saying is, yeah, we’re on the same page.

  12. jereme_dean

      I think there are many people who believe boosted house is a vehicle for Steve to promote/publish himself. They’re afraid to say it publicly, for some reason.

  13. jereme_dean

      Artists create art. Assholes who can’t create but want to be associated with art’s power, curate.

  14. Gene Morgan

      I’d like to read Steve’s reaction. You laid it on him pretty hard, and I’d be interested to see the guy defend himself.

      I met him earlier this year and liked him, for what it’s worth. He’s very genuine in person.

  15. Ethan Ashley

      I like Steve Roggenbuck. I think his videos are something which, on a bad day, I have found myself watching as a sort of way of readjusting my perspective away from my own self-centered sadness. I think some of his poems are hilarious as well.
      I agree with you though regarding the weird feelings toward a constantly happy person, and I think that he has on the Boost House blog mentioned consciously removing negative seeming writings and thoughts from his brand/books/postings/etc. That occasionally rings fake, marketable, symbolic.
      I also recognize a sort of circlejerky always love yourself The Secret type thing in this and in other Alt Lit writers which also rings as fake or at least a posture like anything else could be. Some of the niceness seems passive-aggressive or holier than thou even occasionally.
      Ultimately though I still feel like I rather Steve Roggenbuck be around, at least in his current form, we’ll see how things pan out with the kickstarter, what happens next, and I might come out looking super naive here.
      That’s a bit jumbled sorry.
      Good on you for starting what will hopefully become a discourse.

  16. jereme_dean

      I had a chance to meet him, once. During the LA premiere of Shoplifting from American Apparel–which i’m in–he was one of the featured readers before the movie. Unsure why, really. But he was. Instead of going, I printed out a bunch of roggengrieco flyers and taped them around the movie theater. I even put one in the parking lot above a sleeping homeless man. I don’t know if he saw them though. I think he was too busy ‘celebrating’ in the limo Pirooz rented.

  17. jereme_dean

      But, yeah, I welcome any debate, name calling, whatever.

  18. Stephen Tully Dierks


  19. jereme_dean

      I’m not arguing for him not to be around. I was asked questions and responded honestly to them.

  20. jereme_dean

      Not by my designation.

  21. Brooks Sterritt
  22. Josh Goodchild

      I feel like this is the clarity I was missing. I got very caught up in Roggenbuck, even gave money to his BH, and wrote him a poem in a embarrassing hypomania. The branding nagged at me a lot from the very beginning though. Your observations are helpful, and I’m going to make some tea and think about this a bit more.

  23. jereme_dean


  24. Josh Goodchild

      I think the feelings of superficiality can be explained by the heavy use of labels and memes, but paradoxically I find when going through all of Roggenbuck’s videos you can definitely pick up on his personal literary rhythm. A lot of my excitement can be contextualized by my usual MO, which is basically to get excited about writers who are long dead, so one that’s alive and around my age. Wow! Amazing! Such living.

      Plus, I’m not exactly picky; I fall in love with a lot of people, their way and style, all the time and usually they’re not artists or poets so I just end up looking crazy (or making really good friends, hah).

      But there’s something missing. Like having compassion for others instead of just being sickly sweet and positive all the time.

  25. Dandenong

      Also right on for mentioning his willingness to do readings in bars despite the straight edge ‘branding’! Let’s not forget how he loves and constantly references Gary Vaynerchuk – a guy who made his money and name flogging wine!

      One last thing that really annoys me about Roggenbuck is how he admits that he doesn’t read much poetry or even other alt lit writers who have supported him and doesn’t appear interested in reading more than he does. He also has said that he doesn’t like reading fiction yet has begun writing (terrible) short stories. Writers who do not read far and wide are the nightmare or perhaps product of the MFA generation. To paraphrase Bolano, maybe we should all read more.

  26. Jeremy Hopkins

      [I’m cool with down-votes.]

  27. NasirJonesGodSon
  28. deadgod

      Magnificently curated ‘piece’.

  29. ScottJJLewis

      he’s the pied piper without the vermin control

  30. NasirJonesGodSon

      I watched dude’s Boost House video the other day and laughed the entire time. From his Kickstarter page:

      “our mission is to create culture and community at the intersection of positivity + activism + alt lit. we want to amplify voices who fuse poetry and internet humor with positivity and anti-oppression.”

      This definitely requires a crashpad (e.g., someone to pay your rent for a year so you don’t have to work and can pass out stickers instead).

      “we’ll make books, posters, shirts, stickers, and other goods that promote ways of living we believe in.”

      Because nothing fights anti-oppression like concert souvenirs.

      “(more about two of our first books below!) we’ll run blogs and a vibrant internet community, while planning live events across the country.”

      Yes, you definitely need a crashpad to maintain a blog and plan live events. Funny how alt lit embraces new technology…until the rent’s due. Suddenly, its members don’t know how to use that technology and need to live in the same house. ha.

      ” we’ll launch an online free school for the community to cross-pollinate and expand our knowledge of social problems and what we can do about them.”

      You will launch an online school for the community yet you hate reading books and only read your own work. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. You definitely sound like someone who is interested in literature’s communal powers: you hate books other than your own and you write short stories even though you don’t read fiction and still expect others to read those short stories. Clearly, you have the utmost respect for the literary community and literacy.

      “we’ll aim to be a resource and hub for alt youth committed to positivity and activism.”

      You will be a resource for alt youth who knock on your house’s door at night, begging for a sticker and a t-shirt. Got it. Because, instead of helping the people who actually need help, you’d rather play school in your financed house with your buddies, make stickers, tee-shirts, and faux-inspirational videos. Honestly, how are you any different from, say, Mitch Albom?

  31. extremehell

      why equate “free school” with literacy/literature… seems like, unrelated kind of, like a person can be ticked off that he’s not an appreciator of the high arts, i get it, but the school isn’t intended to teach about literature, really, from what i gather. it’s about social justice issues… which can be taught in a variety of ways, some of which are more accessible than thru writing… also, like, for the record, lol, where did he say he “hated books,” like… where did steve roggenbuck staunchly assert his official ANTI-BOOK stance… seems hilarious, how far ppl’re running away with that…

      also… artists often finance themselves and their lifestyles thru selling goods, like books… and other merchandise… this isn’t a new thing…. artists create content (art) which they then sell for money… i wouldn’t say spending time creating content is slacking (whether or not you find his art valuable or not aside, it’s something he works on, and spends time on, with the intent of providing value to those who engage with it, as many artists do (and profit from)). steve roggenbuck is doing this while embracing a positivity that attempts to acknowledge & confront power imbalances in the world (seems like that’s not an “empty feel-good positivity”. he’s trying to drive the youth that connect with his work towards a privilege-conscious, social-change-oriented positivity, which seems like a good departure for him), and trust me!!!! the whole idea that selling a posi t shirt will end oppression is just as repulsive to me as it is to you! but i see the book, sticker, t shirt sales as less of a direct “look! this is how we’re fighting oppression!” thing than as a… realistic plan for funding the organization through which they will engage in 1) connecting with/giving their support to existing anti-oppression groups 2) educating youth about issues for free 3) giving writers with anti-oppression messages a platform to disseminate their work 4) (re)connect alt culture and art with cultural critique & activism

      maybe where we disagree is that i genuinely don’t think his adoption of anti-oppression speech is just some attempt to reap praise and make money for himself, and i know he’s not stupid enough to delude himself into believing that making t shirts makes him an activist. i think that encouraging youth activism & education in an attempt to shift culture is important and has a role in anti-oppression struggles, and that steve’s hard work has put him in a position from which he can start looking into doing this. mostly just feel like telling you something like “give it a chance”, lol, idk call me an optimist.

      at any rate your critique seems valuable. patting oneself on the back for donning a hollow “activist” title is fucked up. don’t feel like steve is doing that, tho, at least not to the extent you feel he is.

  32. Stephen Michael McDowell

      lol, this seems insane

  33. FormerCity

      Claiming straight edge and reading in bars is not inherently hypocritical. That would assume that all straight edgers are repulsed by people who drink alcohol and the establishment that sells it. That’s not the case. Some just choose to abstain and have no problem with people who do not.

  34. Janey Smith

      wally george lol enough said

  35. Earl Stamper

      Wow, Jereme Dean is a dreamboat! I’m totally into red/orange heads. Imagining his apricot bird nest tucked securely between my thighs/buttocks.

  36. Earl Stamper

      lol, this comment seems flippant and contrived

  37. Greg B

      I wonder what the pop poets of the teens today will be like tomorrow. Like an army of Steves or what?

  38. deadgod

      I agree: that “hate books and reading” stamping of feet is a burned-out high-school teacher too far.

      The ‘positive = saccharine = liar’ fake-cynicism is more poisonous. ‘If your contribution doesn’t SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM then you’re just a phony.’ That is libertarian intellectuality.

      The angry uncle / high-culture cat-lady give-away is always to play the ‘pay your rent’ card. It is Etch Romney and Paulie Munster keepin’ it real.

      It sounds like Roggenbuck is making things people actually consume – I wear a T-shirt every day – and selling them to pay for something. It also sounds like he’s trying to kick-start his project in a transparent way. If his goal is to diminish rwnj resistance to empirical compulsion, I hope he sells a million objects.

  39. Stephen Michael McDowell

      think you meant ‘article’ not ‘comment’

  40. Earl Stamper

      haha saucy

  41. Wyatt Sparks

      It’s important to differentiate positivity with happiness, being positive allows for sadness and pain but it is an attitude of resilience and hope. Happiness is in the American setting at least is most concerned with pleasure I feel. Steve has talked about a couple times feeling really sad or depressed but understanding that the was appropriate.

      It also seems silly to tear other people down. This article was painful for me to read because of how personal the attacks are. TREAT PEOPLE BETTER! (even if you don’t know them!) The lit scene is so small it seems silly to constantly be fighting with one another.

      ALSO the pictures seemed very narcissistic in spite of criticizing Steve for the same thing —there I go being negative too haha so IDk

  42. NasirJonesGodSon

      I know, I know…on the other end is always an angry, old get-off-my-lawn type, a bitter, burnt-out HS teacher who is secretly envious. I get it. It might sound like his motives are genuine to you, but they feel cultish to others. That’s the intuitive rub. I trust me skeeve and creep-detector though.

  43. Caketrain

      This puts the role of the editor in an uncomfortable place, at least an editor like us who chooses to place his or her focus solely on the work of others. But then, our work isn’t merely curatorial, though that’s a big part.

  44. deadgod

      I had to get rid of my skeeve detector because it kept going off! When no one else was around! Cheap third-world crap.

  45. Wallace Barker

      Steve is a fantastic poet. Really innovative to the point that many of his techniques now seem stale because they have been mimicked and integrated into widespread use so thoroughly. He’s like Tao in that way– his voice has become standard for internet poets, to some extent, just as Tao’s deadpan has become such a common device it doesn’t feel like “copying” anymore when other people use it.

      As for his videos and related self-promotion– criticizing those is just like when it was popular to criticize Tao for his internet self-promotional stuff. Maybe some kind of ultra-authentic artiste should disdain self-promotion but it seems only natural to promote your work heavily, if you believe in it and want to be heard (and if you aren’t going to be promoted by the commercial publishing industry).

      I view his activism as separate from his poetry (although he would likely disagree with this). I don’t have strong feeling about BH and the positivity/activism side, although I believe it is earnestly well-intentioned and, in the grand scheme of things, certainly a net good for the world. I can understand disagreeing with his tactics or stances, but I can’t understand why anyone would be offended by his efforts.

  46. jereme_dean

      Probably two people got that reference.

  47. NasirJonesGodSon

      We at Boost House support US workers, including our own unpaid interns who produce skeeve detectors in Boost House’s basement. Contributions for our workers’ daily vegan lunches can be made through Kickstarter.

  48. DR

      “just as Tao’s deadpan has become such a common device it doesn’t feel like “copying” anymore when other people use it.”

      There’s a difference between deadpan and dead.

  49. jereme_dean

      Man, I feel the same way about the pictures and “oracle” designation. But, like, it’s an interview, not an article. The only input I had was the answered questions. Rauan asked me for pictures, specifically “wise looking pictures”. I don’t even know what that fucking means. He used my facebook profile to glean what was used. Nearly every one was taken by my girlfriend, who does photography. The exception being the first pic, which is cropped, and is of my son and me up on Mount Lee, taken by him.

      I didn’t tear down Steve Roggenbuck, I attacked his brand. Regardless, I don’t have any issue with speaking out against someone, even myself. Living in a reality without balance seems silly, to me.

  50. jereme_dean


  51. NasirJonesGodSon

      I’m fascinated by people who think this way within the “lit community.” This notion that people should always avoid conflict and engage in free love 24-7. It’s completely detached from any realistic and honest understanding of the world, where conflict is inevitable and necessary and even beautiful. The fact that it’s “painful for you to read” this kind of honest critique is absolutely frightening to someone like me.

  52. jereme_dean

      No, I don’t think it seems ‘insane’. My schizophrenic uncle, now dead, thought he was an archangel. That seemed insane.

      I think what you mean is ‘outrageous’. Right? I guess. Sure.

  53. jereme_dean

      I think you mean ‘interview’, not ‘article’.

  54. Wyatt Sparks

      Thanks for the response and how polite you are

      I think your argument(s) are valid/ have some meat to them but I would stay away from cursing and the CUM stuff really put me off immediately.

      Honesty without compassion is brutality.

      (I sound like a old man haha)

      Rereading it after your comment (especially the middle section) I had a better time with the interview.

      Anywhoo, thanks for your time

  55. Wyatt Sparks

      I agree, I think criticism is extremely important and necessary for growth.

      People deserve respect though.

      The pain comes from reading something that seemed really hostile. “Anyways, if my feelings aren’t lucid, like, fuck Steve Roggenbuck” I try to keep my head out of a place of resentment and anger, especially on a personal level. Trash people’s art but not the people that made it (or people’s decision) Maybe that’s idealistic haha

      but resentment is extremely damaging.

  56. NasirJonesGodSon

      I would understand your point better if the hostility were unwarranted, but I think Dean makes the necessary connections between Roggenbuck’s reliance on gross, self-helpy corporate discourse and rhetoric. It’s funny to me that people who support alternative literature are led by a guy who could be mistaken for Tony Robbins. And then the sappy videos…I’m trying to see where the alternative part comes into play, how this is supposed to be an alternative movement when everything about it is middlebrow and safe and borrowed.

  57. jereme_dean

      Living a clean life is not the same as declaring straight edge. Even on Ian MacKaye’s wikipedia page it says “MacKaye’s main goal was to fight against the people around him that abused substances.”

      Steve reading in bars isn’t hypocritical though. I explained why in the interview.

  58. Wyatt Sparks

      Fair enough! Good arguments.

      I know Steve personally so I am certainly biased. I find him very personally genuine but that may not get carried across without personal interaction?

      As for the Tony Robbins comment pretty funny haha I agree idealistically nothing Steve presents is drastically new — it’s the delivery and juxtaposition that is (arguably) innovative.

      but I feel you. Nice talkin!

  59. jereme_dean

      Using specific language is part of who i am and filtering it would be disingenuous. I’m not willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of others.

      Sorry it caused negative feelings in you..

  60. A D Jameson

      Sorry to cross recent threads but—Jereme, are you the Mandarin?

  61. Rauan Klassnik

      Jereme’s the “real” Mandarin

  62. jereme_dean

      I drank copious amounts of mandarin orange slice for a short period of time.

  63. NasirJonesGodSon

      Fair question: “why equate free schools with literacy/literature.”

      Because even the non-traditional methods you suggest here depend on some notion of literacy and inquiry, like digital humanities type stuff (just one example). If you’re assuming I use the word literature here like Harold Bloom, that literature only means Chaucer and Shakespeare, you’re wrong. Otherwise, I see no need for a school if the point is to merely preach: the Church of Steve Roggenbuck would be more appropriate for mere proselytizing.

  64. davidpeak
  65. Earl Stamper

      So that’s how your hair got that color

  66. Donald Dunbar

      Mmm, I kind of like Steve as a person, but what techniques does he use that weren’t fully explored previously by Lil B? What _anything_?

      Within the first page of tweets right now, I see
      1) animal rights
      2) deliberate misspellings
      3) exhortations to positivity
      4) non sequitur, but reasonable-seeming advice

      and Steve has lifted every Lil B self-promotional technique as well (calling every new release “ultra rare!!!” for instance)… Again, I’m happy Steve is who he is, but what about him is innovative? What about his brand isn’t directly lifted from Lil B?

  67. jereme_dean

      Is nuprin still around?

  68. jereme_dean

      Naw, i’m just really into fellatio.

  69. davidpeak

      I’m tempted to say it isn’t, but who knows. I switched over to Aleve a decade ago and honestly, I’ve never looked back. Nuprin could just be sitting there on the shelf right next to the Aleve and I’d never see it because I only have eyes for Aleve.

  70. Rauan Klassnik

      the oracle says blind devotion can be “very” dangerous

  71. davidpeak

      Dear Rauan, what’s “blind” about my devotion to Aleve when I can “see” how good it makes me feel when I’m hung over?

  72. Wallace Barker

      Have you read Steve’s poetry collections? I don’t mean that in a dismissive way but just genuinely curious. Because I think Steve’s public persona and his poetry are two different things that get conflated (granted, he has encouraged readers to view them as part of a single project).

      I think if you read his poetry collections you would see that the poems are not directly lifted from Lil B. I agree that aspects of their public personas are very similar.

      I think Steve’s poetry is amazing and innovative– and by that I mean the poems he has published in his poetry collections.

  73. Rauan Klassnik

      o, i have no idea … but, yr “Dear Rauan” reminds me I should try to work on a “Dear Rauan” because I have this vauge and nagging feeling I haven’t helped people enough lately

  74. davidpeak

      People are the worst.

  75. Rauan Klassnik

      “stupid as horses cows” (Ikkyu)

  76. Donald Dunbar

      I don’t mean to sound like I’m hating on Steve–I see him as a force for good in the world and a force for good in poetry, and mentioned him as such in an essay I wrote some months back ( ). I think he’s great at making videos, and I have read a number of his poems and really enjoyed some of them (tho I haven’t read an entire collection). I also absolutely love that so many people find him inspiring, and an essay he wrote a year or two ago about his poetic project being to erase the distance between audience and poet made me think for a long while. But I haven’t found real innovation in any of this–like, never-before-has-this-been-done.

      His anaphora is, to my ear, very much in the vein of slam poems. The flat-affect voice is in the Tao Lin lineage. The misspellings are mid-aughts Something Awful memes and rage comics via Lil B. Extreme parataxis has been all the rage for 15 years now. Incorporating internet text was fleshed out by Flarf a decade ago.

      I would never tell someone to not like poetry they like, but I’m not convinced “innovative” is the right way to compliment Steve. Nice, yes. Brave, yes. Exciting, obviously yes, to a lot of people. And I do think he’s addressing a lot of people who are unaddressed by most other poets, which in my book is a really great thing.

      That all said, Jereme’s critique of the pyramidal, psuedo-corporate structure around Steve does, I think, hold water. I’ve never seen Steve seriously work to promote someone else or their writing, and I do think the financial incentives he’s found in his work ultimately hamstring it. He must maintain a geniality to preserve his persona lest he lose his meal ticket. When one’s art is made to please a market, it’s not art, but design.

  77. rawbbie

      Last year at this time I thought Steve was doing something incredible: living off of poetry without institutional support. He was traveling, getting his words to the world, and he was doing this without an NEA, a Ruth Lily, or funding from a university/non-profit. For a poet to do their own thing and exist off that privileged funding grid, I find that to be pretty impressive.

      Since around May of this year, I’ve gotten pretty turned off by Steve’s work: this positivist/activist/D.A.R.E bullshit. My biggest problem is that vegan/buddhist/feminism/LGBTQ/ environment don’t need him, he needs those ideologies/movements/politics. He needs a position, something to be ‘for’ to make his new “poetry” work. (I’m especially suspicious because he’s Straight White Male Poet, trying to speak for “anti-oppression”)

      Last year he didn’t have anything to be ‘for’. He was art and spectacle for the sake of art and spectacle. And honestly, I’d kick-in for someone that was all art and spectacle before someone that was groping for some political stance.

  78. Wallace Barker

      I think Steve is innovative in the way Nirvana was innovative– they weren’t the first grunge/punk/rock/whatever band but they put everything together and presented it in a really unique and influential way. Certainly, Steve had a lot of forbearers but I do not think anyone ever added up the ingredients quite like him. I also just personally very much enjoy his poetry.

      I don’t have a whole lot of comment on his activism or internet shenanigans. They seem fine to me, and I like him a lot as a person. It’s tough out there for a full-time poet and anything Steve has accomplished to support himself and continue his efforts seems very inspiring and exciting to me.

      I would guess that a lot more promotion and marketing went into the artists you (or anyone) enjoy unless you only like completely obscure artists. The main difference is that a megabucks corporation called The David Geffen Company marketed Nirvana (for example) whereas Steve markets himself directly.

      Maybe if a corporate publisher marketed Steve and he kept his hands clean you wouldn’t have a problem with it?

  79. rawbbie

      if Boost House was the new version of The Factory, I’d be all in. Instead it’s a Just Say No campaign with a house.

  80. Matthew Simmons

      I watched an hour of Wally George clips just now.

  81. Donald Dunbar

      Well, but Nirvana (who were less innovators than masters) never claimed that their persona was their art. Their music was. Steve has claimed that his approach to persona is an artistic project, and I think the reason I’ve never seen him do anything at all transgressive with it is because it is crafted to be monetized.

      As for his poems-on-the-page, I’d love to read something that illuminates one, and walks me through the innovation you find in it. Not so I can dump on it or anything, but because I’m curious what’s to be found that I haven’t yet, and because I haven’t yet seen somebody do that. If Steve’s art truly is his poems, maybe it can be explained to all these people hating on him via a close read or something?

  82. Wallace Barker

      I think it’s worth noting also that Steve ain’t getting rich here. We’re talking about subsistence level funding to keep his project going. And I do think he is transgressive. Hell, his anti-drug stance is basically unique among alt lit writers and, in fact, a source of ridicule (D.A.R.E.) that hurts him with a particular audience. For a poet, especially a widely read poet, he’s done way more stuff that’s risky and out there than most.

      As for explaining why I like his poetry, that’s a tough one. It sounds like you are much more knowledgeable about MFA poetry stuff than me (I had to google parataxis and anaphora) so I doubt I could tell you anything very illuminating. I did write a goofy little essay that sort of explores my appreciation for his work:

  83. NasirJonesGodSon

      Parataxis and anaphora as “MFA poetry stuff.” Hahaha. What else is considered “MFA poetry stuff”–all the “stuff” covered by Aristotle? Why does Steve use alliteration and assonance? Perhaps he’s an undercover MFA admirer because that stuff is only discussed and used in MFA programs.

  84. jereme_dean

      Fun fact: he’s the estranged father of rebecca de mornay.

  85. Matthew Simmons

      I read that. George talking about De Mornay on Howard Stern:

      When I was in high school, summer would come around and I’d have trouble sleeping, and I’d stay up late watching Morton Downy Jr., who clearly bit the heck out of this guy’s style.

  86. Wallace Barker

      Steve actually dropped out of an MFA program to, you know, pursue being a poet. I’m guessing you finished your degree? Congrats!

  87. NasirJonesGodSon

      Good for him. I don’t have anything against poets without MFAs. Means nothing to me. Can you write? Can you move me? Steve doesn’t move me. To be fair, if you stapled a stack of Hallmark cards together and said “this is my poetry collection–read it” I probably wouldn’t be moved either. Back to you: you seem particularly obsessed with MFA programs and their supposed status. Most MFA holders don’t spend nearly the time you do thinking about MFA programs and their supposed status. Just a thought, man. Okay, one more comment–you don’t do yourself any favors by suggesting that one needs an MFA degree to know very basic literary terms and concepts that predate MFA programs by thousands of years. Walt Whitman, everyone’s favorite working class, anti-institutional poet, could define parataxis, since a) he used it in his work all the time and b) unlike you and other alt-litters, he wasn’t a lazy anti-intellectual.

  88. Wallace Barker

      you’re cool

  89. NasirJonesGodSon

      I’m really not, but thanks anyway!

  90. jereme_dean

      Yeah, Morton went harder with the hate.

  91. Dandenong

      I remember him saying he wasn’t that political and didn’t know too much about the election last year when it was happening – when he was perhaps at his most popular.

  92. Ethan Ashley

      Oh yeah I didn’t mean to imply you, like, didn’t want him to exist. I was speaking personally.

  93. jereme_dean

      “Any guy who says “i’m immoral”, I look into his morality.”

  94. columbusmatt

      The vibe, historically, is that if Mr. Klassnik doesn’t like your comment he will delete it. Interesting you would be interviewed by him…

  95. Rauan Klassnik

      it’s not a party until my heckler shows up!

      (Hi, Matt Dennison)…

      and I’m sure Jereme wouldn’t mind if I deleted some of yr $(%$% #$# comments. blah, blah, blah.

  96. columbusmatt

      Feel like most people online make great efforts creating a fictitious identity, one which counters their insecurities, and the only way to actually believe the fantasy is to be chill/stay positive/chant affirmations. Because of this, the dissenting voice seems to be enemy number one to alt lit. They react ferociously and vehemently to remove it from the ranks, which is the easiest way to see the facade of positivity for what it is.

      –Jereme Dean

  97. Rauan Klassnik

      blah, blah, blah

  98. steveroggenbuck

      hii jereme/others woww !! this has been very interesting for me to read over.. i’ve been trying to pay more attention to why people dislike me when they do, and this discussion has been realy valuable in helping me see how im coming across. and jereme i want to say i actually admire your authenticity and passion a lot–the interview is pretty intense, but your care and sensibility comes through in the way you’ve been interacting with commenters. i can tell you believe and care about what you’re saying, you’re not just posting mean stuff and then retracting into the dark, you’re standing behind it, ready to have a discussion

      i think a big difference between you and me is that i’m more willing to engage at length with disciplines and movements that have an obviously shitty side to them.. like branding and positivity, i’m willing to engage with those worlds and take what i find valuable, even though i’m wary of aspects of them.. whereas you seem to reject the associations on a gut level, you don’t want to even consider using the word “personal brand” or consider any of the value that could come from learning from that field.. it’s funny someone compared me to tony robbins as a criticism.. i’ve honestly listened to a lot of tony robbins material and found value in a lot of his messages, seriously, he’s worked with millions of people across the world to identify patterns of why human beings feel and act how they do. that’s interested me a lot for self-improvement purposes: i want to get the most out of my potential: my one body, my one mind, my one life. i’m most interested in tony’s teachings about how much your physical movements affect your emotions, it seems to have enormous implications.. but yea, i’m also disgusted by a lot of tony robbins.. he’s not critical *at all* of social class and capitalism, and he explains away social inequality by talking about individual, psychological stuff.. its bad. his discussions about relationships are painfully heteronormative and just.. very mainstream america ehh.. so i’ve tried to keep my learnings from tony more private, so i don’t promote him too publicly.. this morning i started listening to joel osteen, lol.. i was seriously laughing at myself while doing it, but i also found some real warmth and compassion in his messages. it made me want to be a better person.. and it helped me relate and see the value possible in mainstream christianity in a way that seemed healthy and good, not in a way that forgave it of its problematic aspects.. but just like, i’m not dismissing it based on a label or a quick assessment.. i’ve become very willing to engage with creators and concepts like this, while also staying wary and critical.. sometimes i bet it leads me astray, i know it does. i get lured by the harmful aspects of their work too.. but it’s been very helpful, i think, i’m able to learn from all these disciplines and build my idea of what i want to do/be from a much larger pool of influences

      so basicaly im saying: i think you’re prone to have a lot of gut reactions against the surface details of my work.. but actually i share a lot of your concerns about branding and positivity.. i just think i can use aspects of them for good. its possible i go too far in my exploration of them.. i may likely recede back from them again with time and perspective, im not sure..

      i’m most sensitive and concerned about the criticisms of boost house as possibly appropriating anti-oppression for financial or personal gain, as i would notttt want to do that. obviously my personal name (‘personal brand’) is tied up in the project, but i’m hoping that i can use my existing popularity to boost anti-oppression groups and encourage more young people to get involved in that work.. thats what its about for me. anyway, let’s have a conversation about this after boost house has been operating for a year, not before we’re even started. i’m commited to doing it right. i may very well do something oblivious to my privilege, as a straight white able-bodied college-educated cis male !! but i’m committed to being accountable to criticism.. i’ve been checking in with my friends who are most involved in anti-oppression work to get their feedback, and paying more attention to critical discussions like these, mainly to check if there are legit criticisms about that subject.. it’s the one subject where i’m most serious about learning from criticisms, because i know my privilege can cloud my understanding quite easily

      i appreciate the people on this thread defending me .. i feel sad that some people who have supported me in the past have come to doubt or retract their support.. but i know that it’s impossible for me to please everyone, and i need to follow myyyy heart and what i believe in !!! i’m trying my best to do what seems right to me, and questioning myself at every turn, self-educating, not accepting complacency..

      i earnestly apprecaite the discussion jereme. i don’t expect to convince you in a blog comment, but i hope to demonstrate over the course of many years to come that i will contribute a lot of good to this world and stay dedicated to the work that seems important to me. i hope you stay impassioned and dedicated to the work that seems important to you also. your passion in this post and your care in the comments makes it clear to me that you are taking your beliefs about what should be done seriously too, i respect that on a real level. previous to this, i had only heard vague charges about how you’re an asshole . now i know there is real care behind what you’re doing, and many of our concerns are the same (anti-corporate at least), even if we disagree in tactics. glad to share this earth with you, thank you

      <3 steve

  99. jereme_dean

      That doesn’t seem inherently unreasonable. I mean, it all depends on Rauan’s value system compared to what’s being commented.

  100. columbusmatt

      ” i’d really appreciate if the governing person/s could allow any and all
      comments on this article. I don’t think anyone should be censored.
      Their opinion is just as reasonable as my own.”


  101. jereme_dean

      Where is your confusion. You spoke on a historic htmlg experience. I responded that your account of what has happened in the past isn’t inherently unreasonable.

      My request–just a request–had to do with this post, and, as far as I know, the only people censored did so themselves, for whatever reason.

  102. NasirJonesGodSon

      Dude, smaller paragraphs are your friend. My eyes.

      “it’s funny someone compared me to tony robbins as a criticism.. i’ve honestly listened to a lot of tony robbins material and found value in a lot of his messages.”

      Not surprising. I can see the influence clearly.

  103. columbusmatt

      You are now an alt-lit boy.


  104. Chris_Dankland
  105. NasirJonesGodSon

      You all realize the problem with folks like Tony Robbins, right?

      Here’s a snippet from a blogger addressing his experiences with aggressive positivty:

      “It took me years to realize that this is also what I had been doing inside. The aggressive positivity of Tony Robbins had appealed to me precisely because it fit well with the self-hate I had already been engaged in. I forced myself to be happy because I didn’t know how to deal with my intense, painful emotions—especially the existential anxiety and despair I had encountered through deep contemplation as a Philosophy major. For me, aggressive positivity was a counter-phobic response to the existential condition…was this also the case for Robbins? How many aggressively positive self-help enthusiasts are engaged in self-improvement as a strategy to avoid confronting the inevitability of death?”

      With all due respect, how can someone claim to be “anti-corporate” while claiming to be a fan of Tony Robbins? There’s a clear correlation between his practices and corporate abuse, particularly of employees.There’s a reason why the self-help industry is beloved by HR departments.

  106. shaun gannon

      oh shut up

  107. Chris_Dankland

      I just think it’s a funny video

      I like Steve Roggenbuck, not Tony Robbins — there are huge differences between those two people

      just posted it because that’s the only other time steve has made a tony robbins reference that I’ve seen

  108. shaun gannon

      “Dude, smaller paragraphs are your friend.”

      this is why you should shut up, re: earlier comment. your criticism is butt.

  109. NasirJonesGodSon

      “Because of this, the dissenting voice seems to be enemy number one to alt lit. They react ferociously and vehemently”–Jereme Dean

      It’ll be okay. Take a deep breath.

  110. NasirJonesGodSon

      No, I’m seriously unable to read all that without going blind.

  111. Chris_Dankland

      sometimes if I’m teaching a class with little kids and somebody looks sleepy, I’ll say: ‘what are you doing inside that can so late in the morning?’ and they always smile

  112. NasirJonesGodSon

      “there are huge differences between the two”

      I’m sure his followers believe that to be true. I have a question–if I want to join the Alt Youth, do I have to pass a PT test?

  113. Chris_Dankland


  114. deadgod

      Everything feeds into the narcissistic loops that are “self-hate”. If there’s a method to getting out of rationalizing one’s self-loathing, and that exit isn’t accomplished by accident–say, the accident of the kindness of others–, let’s see it.

      Roggenbuck isn’t saying he’s a disciple of Robbins; he saying–perhaps inaccurately!–he’s the opposite: a critical thinker – critical enough to filter in as well as out.

      Your rote denunciations illustrate the raw material for obedience: the absence of critical thinking.

      Hello, Tony!

  115. deadgod

      I sometimes enjoy spectacle, but I doubt it’s ever just ‘for its own sake’.

      True (and, I think, fair) questions: how is it that some people have vegan/Buddhist/feminist/BLT positions without “needing” them, but others, only because they do “need” them? I mean, what does Roggenbuck do that makes you suspect that he’s exploiting these points of view and not expressing legitimately achieved perspectives?

      What’s he done or do that makes you – or anyone – think Roggenbuck is a fake and a liar??

  116. Guest

      I have to admit, I was initially hurt by this comment, Deaders—“absence of critical thinking”—but then I saw you went down the line and worked your patented Devil’s Advocacy for Steve in a reply to Rawwbie. We’ve seen you work tirelessly to defend the likes of Seth Oelbaum, too. If/when I find myself in a court of law facing felonious charges, you’re the first person I’m calling for representation. Anyway, tell Tony I said hello! I’m sure he went to bed several hours ago and will be up at the crack of dawn to spread the love.

  117. Donald Dunbar

      Sorry I disappeared earlier–had to go to work.

      I agree with most of what you’re saying, and I totally enjoyed reading your essay–you do a great job of contextualizing that piece of Steve’s work, and you do so without dressing up your thoughts in $20 words. Nor do you cloak your enthusiasm in irony, surface or otherwise, that would leave room for backtracking in case someone attacked it. I wish more critics would write in that space.

      I’m not sold on the anti-drug part of his persona as art, though if his stance was “lock up all drug users and let them starve to death” that might approach something transgressive; he might really be risking something. I think Marie Calloway gets closer to the persona project Steve is talking about, or Joe Brainard back in the day, or Frank O’Hara for that matter. Some ideas of risks Steve could take with his persona:

      * Publish BOOST-ing poem responses to deeply hurtful things that have been written or said to him in his life.
      * Spraypaint his poems across the CAFO meat in the meat aisle.
      * Publish a series of unsanitized sexual fantasies.
      * Write an anti-CAFO book while on a three-week hunger strike.
      * “Write” a poem while dictating it to a tattoo artist (using vegan ink!) who has the gun on Steve’s back.

      Now–and let me be clear!–I think Steve is a brave person, and I really do mean all those ways I admire him; I don’t think his poems are “innovative” (though some are excellent–I really dug the one you were looking at!), and I don’t think he has made actual art with his persona yet. He may, and I’d love that, but he hasn’t yet.

      I also, for the record, think Guest is being a fucking prick to you. I’m glad you looked that shit up! I don’t know why someone would fault you for pursuing knowledge.

  118. Stephen Michael McDowell

      was going to say ‘interview’ but a one-question-interview seems more like an editorial writing prompt so ‘article’ or maybe ‘letter to the editor’ both seemed more accurate or something, idk, gonna read steve’s comments

  119. Stephen Michael McDowell

      this seems insane (to echo my previous comment) but it seems more like the way a really attentive/concerned person can seem insane in light of feeling relative powerlessness rather than how a quasi-analytical personality who could easily be pegged as doing what they accuse who they’re shittalking of doing, who uses reductive causal logic and diminutive rhetoric to project intention onto another human as a way to shittalk someone they’ve never met and who chooses not to shittalk anyone can seem insane

  120. postitbreakup

      whatever you think of jereme’s argument, it seems uncool to put the focus on jereme instead of the argument via calling this an interview instead of an essay first of all (what kind of interview is only 1 question…) and second of all the big ridiculous unrelated pictures.

  121. Jackson Nieuwland

      While it makes me sad that Steve isn’t focused much on poetry anymore, your comment makes it seem like he was never an avid reader which is inaccurate. He committed years of his life to the study of poetry, one year reading at least 20 pages a day. I recommend checking out his old blog:

  122. Stephen Michael McDowell

      no, ‘insane’

  123. Wallace Barker

      I think, to some extent, we are just quibbling over the definition of “innovative.” I can’t point to some discrete technique Steve invented that had never been used before but I don’t know why that matters.

      I mean, if anything Steve’s innovation is the integration of all the different media, the social aspect, the branding etc. into his poetic project, which is all stuff I’m less interested in anyway. It certainly points the way forward for poets to reach a new audience but I’m basically behind the times and still prefer old fashioned written verse.

      I keep going back to your comment:

      “His anaphora is, to my ear, very much in the vein of slam poems. The flat-affect voice is in the Tao Lin lineage. The misspellings are mid-aughts Something Awful memes and rage comics via Lil B. Extreme parataxis has been all the rage for 15 years now. Incorporating internet text was fleshed out by Flarf a decade ago.”

      I don’t know if this is really an accurate description of Steve’s influences but… WOW! If Steve has successfully integrated all these crazy influences into a new poetic style that captured a wide audience including ppl who would not be otherwise interested in poetry, that seems pretty damn innovative to me!

  124. Wallace Barker

      The main thing this article demonstrates is a generation gap. Jereme is basically from the Gen X school that expected cynicism and rejectionist behavior from its heroes. That generation is inherently suspicious of sincerity and positivity. It’s the old “outlaw poetry” approach to lit.

      Steve is basically more like the artist DFW was predicting in “E Unibus Pluram.” He’s sincere, positive and unironic. It seems like he is relying on irony via his appropriation of corporate branding, pop-culture, etc., but as his comment demonstrates, he’s actually approaching these influences honestly. He genuinely appreciates certain aspects of these influences and he’s not afraid to keep what he likes and throw away the rest. When Steve talks about his love for Justin Bieber or appreciation of Tony Robbins, he’s being sincere!

      That just does not compute for readers of a certain age but makes intuitive sense to Steve’s target audience.

  125. Kara Clark

      I wonder how true that is though–this/our? generation has its fair share of readers that are “inherently suspicious of sincerity and positivity.” I consider myself to be one of those, know quite a few of them.

      I’m going to assume I (22, user/reader of internet with “literary” interests) might qualify as a member of Steve’s target audience. I’m highly suspicious of his work. Connecting with it seems impossible, and Steve’s methods don’t make intuitive sense to me at all (make me uncomfortable, actually).

      Reading this felt like Jereme was speaking my mind for me, and I find it hard to believe that I, a member of the “target audience”, am the only one agreeing?

  126. Richard Grayson

      Rod McKuen, what are you doin’?

  127. Jeremy Hopkins

      That’s neither new, nor unrecognizable. Warhol claimed to love America, Coca-cola, etc. Was there ever proof to the contrary?

  128. Richard Grayson

      I feel I must come to the defense of Tony Roberts. Although some people may dismiss him as a lightweight, he is actually both an accomplished comic actor and one who can bring nuanced portrayals to his serious roles. I first saw him onstage decades ago on Broadway in “Play It Again, Sam,” and Woody Allen has used him to great effect in classic movies like “Annie Hall,” “Radio Days,” “Stardust Memories” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

      Tony Roberts has shown off his singing and dancing talents as well as his acting abilities in such musicals as “Promises, Promises,” “They’re Playing Our Song,” and “Xanadu,” and he’s been equally proficient in serious plays like “The Sisters Rosenzweig” and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.”

      If Woody Allen can have Tony Roberts in so many of his films, I think you should not criticize Steve Roggenbuck for featuring him in one of his.

  129. Richard Grayson

      Coué your way to positive things.

  130. Richard Grayson
  131. Wallace Barker

      Fair enough. If you are comparing Steve to Warhol, I think that is an interesting comparison.

  132. Wallace Barker

      Step back for a moment and consider:

      1. Steve has this huge following of people, many of whom are non-literary types. This is damn near unprecedented for a contemporary poet.

      2. Many people who are skeptical of Steve tend to be traditional literary-types.

      I think these two are related. There is something highly reactionary about the response to Steve from people who are coming from a background of considering themselves to be literary. Steve is new and different. His approach is new and different. His success suggests that many people in the literary world may need to re-think their approaches.

      The future of being a poet/writer may be a lot more time-consuming and intense, require knowledge and comfort with the internet, audience engagement, working in new types of media, etc. I think a lot of people typing up poems and submitting them to university presses might prefer to see Steve fail, for this reason.

      I can’t speak for why you don’t like Steve’s work. I just think it is meaningful that so many people respond to it and I think it makes the traditional poetry community uncomfortable.

  133. jereme_dean

      I don’t think it primarily demonstrates a generation gap. I don’t consider myself part of my generation. I was on the internet

  134. jereme_dean

      Wallace, a lot of your points will be addressed when I respond to steve, which is coming. Probably after my hike.

      2. though… Do you think I’m part of the traditional literary background?

  135. Wallace Barker

      I actually was not familiar with you prior to reading this, so I’m not sure. I don’t think you are a traditional lit type in the sense of being an academic or something.

      I do think you and Steve are sort of just very different types of people, for many reasons, and much of your aversion to him is probably just because he is not “your kind of guy.”

      It seems like this must be the case, because Steve hasn’t really done anything objectionable to anyone. Certainly not anything to merit the “Eff Roggenbuck!” stuff that, IMO, should be reserved for like, bankers or evil mining companies or warmongers or whatev. I mean, worst case scenario, Steve is just a bro who is making art you don’t like.

  136. Jeremy Hopkins

      I’m not very familiar with SR’s work, though I’m familiar enough to see some similarity. Warhol made “legitimate” art out of ads and celebrity, utilizing the media processes of his time; SR makes his from/using internet social media and DIY digital product. Even though I think some his work is nice to look at, I think Warhol (the phenomenon) was a bit of a scam and overhyped (which might be “the point”); Can’t speak to SR on that matter because he’s still “doing.” Both have been regarded as somewhat naïve, I think. Etc.

  137. jereme_dean

      It’s an interview. There are other questions but Rauan decided to space them out. Partially because HTMLG would explode if we didn’t do it this way.

      The reason why I keep making a distinction between article/essay vs interview is because the “oracle” designation, ikkyu allusion, and ridiculous pictures wouldn’t be part of something I solely produced.

      Not because I feel insecure or weird about it, because it would be disingenuous of me to do so. Not my style, basically.

      I interpreted Rauan’s setup as a way of introducing who the “asshole” with the beard is and why he thinks there’s some value in interviewing him.

      I don’t agree/disagree with his value judgment of me.

      The public has become so conditioned to believe that everything is part of a fucking brand. I am not a brand. I was asked questions and provided honest answers.

      People keep confusing this matter.

      Seems ‘insane’, I know.

  138. Donald Dunbar

      Dude, you’re confusing popularity with innovation. A collection of influences is not innovation. Popularity does not show innovation. I’m using the dictionary definition of innovation; what definition are you using?

  139. jereme_dean

      a ‘hellish nightmare’ of ‘insanity’. for sure.

  140. Wallace Barker

      I think any artist except maybe cavemen painting on walls, you are going to be able to find historical precedents for what they are doing. You seem to be applying a definition of innovative that would only be applicable to like, inventing the iPhone or something.

  141. jereme_dean

      Thinking any person hasn’t done anything objectionable to another is flawed, I think.

      Like, if Steve was just writing poetry that didn’t speak to me, no big deal.

  142. Wallace Barker

      Looking forward to the response you are preparing. I have been commenting because I think this is a fascinating discussion and I’m glad you wrote the article and want to read more. I have considered many of the issues you articulated so it was cool to read this.

  143. Kara Clark

      I hear you re: #1 and #2 loud and clear. I actually agree with everything you’re saying too…

      Allow me to clarify my use of “literary”. When I say I’m interested in literature, I really only mean art comprised of the written word: poetry and prose. I don’t mean I’m “literary” in the sense you seem to be suggesting: I don’t mean I’m only interested in written work of *a certain quality*. I think (and you probably do to) that that type of attitude is douchey, elitist, and close-minded.

      I don’t dislike Steve’s poems because I *adore* Robert Frost, or whatever. I think poets/writers are really on to something by using the internet as a resource. You are right! “submitting [poems] to university presses” is an increasingly outdated method, and “many people in the literary world” DO “need to re-think their approaches.”

      That said, I still can’t get behind Steve’s method–and similar methods used by other writers on the internet. I’m tired of sitting through inspirational videos, of people who exclusively write in caps lock, and I’m tired of the relentless posturing…all of these things just seem like attention grabbers, and they inevitably distract and detract from the things I’m actually interested in, which are the poems and stories being written.

  144. Donald Dunbar

      The iPhone was innovative; the early Korean copies of the iPhone not innovative; the iProduct iEraser ( ) not innovative.

      The wholesale adoption of someone else’s deal is not invention. The application of marketing concepts is not inventing marketing, nor is it art.

      Three recent innovative poetry books off the top of my head:
      Pop Corpse by Lara Glenum
      Pink Reef by Robert Fernandez
      Partyknife by Dan Magers

      Just because somethings good doesn’t mean it’s innovative. I did my best to figure out how Steve is innovative, and until someone explains to me how he’s innovative, I will explain the limits of my thinking, i.e. he’s not. However good he is, however popular he is.

  145. deadgod

      You wisely ignore the point that escapes you: Roggenbuck filters in as well as out. His sunniness is chosen – quite unlike your conceptual floundering.

      When you’re in the Padded Court, facing charges of public illiteracy and incontinent internet derangement, I’ll definitely argue for restoration of your privilege of self-actualization.

  146. Rauan Klassnik

      “people typing up poems and submitting them to university presses” — yeah, that’s a dead (for the most part) and bullshit (for the most part) system …

      a dinosaur stuck in mud and its own shit

      the old model and many of its darlings and champions does indeed need to be savaged, over and over…

  147. deadgod

      I responded that your account of what has happened in the past isn’t inherently unreasonable.

      What i’m saying is, yeah, we’re on the same page.

      Steve reading in bars isn’t hypocritical though. I explained why in the interview.

      I’m not arguing for him not to be around. I was asked questions and responded honestly to them.

      No, I don’t think it seems ‘insane’. […] I think what you mean is ‘outrageous’.

      Man, I feel the same way […]. But, like, it’s an interview, not an article. The only input I had was the answered questions. [. . .] I didn’t tear down Steve Roggenbuck. Regardless, I don’t have any issue with speaking out against someone, even myself.

      Using specific language is part of who I am and filtering it would be disingenuous. I’m not willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of others.

      […] I’ve never considered myself part of any generation.

      Like, if Steve was just writing poetry that didn’t speak to me, no big deal.

      ‘Correcting the record’ sure sounds like ‘protecting one’s brand’.

  148. jereme_dean


  149. Guest

      Fair enough, Alt Lit’s Pay Lawyer and Online Version of Baghdad Bob. One day I aspire to be a critical thinker on par with Steven Roggenbuck. I’m not sure up to the monumental task, but we’ll see.

  150. Wallace Barker

      Yeah, I don’t think I can give you some kind of cogent technical proof that Steve is innovative. He definitely seems like one-of-a-kind, no one really like him before. I think his voice is new and unique, others have adopted it, and thus he has innovated.

      To me, innovation is more than just doing something novel. It’s doing something in a way that is desirable and leads to more widespread adoption of the technique. The writers you mention may have done something new but I’m not aware of them and have never heard of anyone adopting their strategies, techniques, etc. I feel a lot of what Steve has done is being adopted by others.

  151. Donald Dunbar

      I know meaning is subjective, but using the traditional definitions of the words, what you’re describing is “popularizing” not “innovating”. I get that you dig Steve, and I thinking digging Steve is totally fine–we are not talking about if Steve is diggable. People dig Britney Spears, and lots of people have adopted the techniques Britney Spears uses because of Britney Spears, but Britney Spears is not an innovator, did not invent her techniques. Not having heard of people using those techniques before having heard Britney Spears does not mean she innovated them.

      And if you’re interested in innovation in poetry, I absolutely recommend you check out those books! Pop Corpse and Partyknife should open up immediately, but I didn’t get what’s happening in Pink Reef until I read it aloud. Or if you want, tell me what kind of stuff you look for in art and I’ll see if I can think of something that might be right up your alley.

  152. Wallace Barker

      I think I’m not as convinced as you are that Steve has just appropriated stuff other people invented without adding anything of his own.

  153. Donald Dunbar

      Dude! You can’t just say, “I don’t know about this stuff, so I’m right.”

  154. Donald Dunbar

      I mean you can, you can say that, but it’s not a very good argument…

  155. NasirJonesGodsSon

      “2. Many people who are skeptical of Steve tend to be traditional literary-types.”

      Unfortunately, based on your posts, it’s clear you don’t even bother reading anything other than alt-lit, so why should we trust your assessments of so-called “traditional literary culture?” Almost all of your criticisms are based on lazy and shallow stereotypes.

      “His success suggests that many people in the literary world may need to re-think their approaches.”

      If you’d actually pay attention to what’s happening in the “traditional” literary world, you’d know that many of those folks are engaged with new technology and many are producing innovative and varied work.

      But I know, all this is too much to ask of someone who is more interested in being a cheerleader than anything else.

      Now go ahead and write your response. MFA system, traditional tweed jackets, university presses, blah blah blah.

  156. NasirJonesGodsSon

      Yeah, it’s such a terrible thing that public universities attempt to support the arts and house small presses that provide jobs in the arts and valuable training to student interns who might take that knowledge into the community.

  157. Wallace Barker

      I think what you want is some kind of historical survey of poetry followed by me pinpointing a precise technique that was completely unique to Steve. You seem entirely convinced that every aspect of Steve’s poetry is ripped off wholesale from a predecessor. Not only do I doubt that but it just seems logically unlikely to be true. But I can’t offer you scientific evidence of anything.

  158. Rauan Klassnik

      i like the “blah blah blah”

  159. MichaelF01

      How did you feel about having your book reviewed by such an old and traditional venue like Publishers Weekly? Sensing a lot of unnecessary posturing from you.

  160. Rauan Klassnik

      1) yeah typing up poems and submitting them to universities is far from dead. and it’s fucking sad, really.

      2) how silly, sad and masochistic, really, to submit to presses who will almost certainly certainly reject you because among other things 90% of their space is taken up by cronyism.(and if you’re submitting there then there’s a good chance yr work’s like the shit into those publications. so, double sad)

      3) training interns to read through thousands of slush pile submissions. wow, how invaluable. and I’m really glad for the graduates of such a “system” because well, those guys (male/female) are really making it happen

      4) universities “attempt to support the arts” — yeah, attempt sounds about right because, well, the people dispensing money in universities have no idea what they’re doing and just need to allocate certain amounts of $$$.

      take everything i’ve written above with a grain of salt because i’m just kinda blowing off steam. Mandela’s dead (Asimbonanga!) and i’ll dealing with another crazy on a comment thread

  161. Wallace Barker

      Definitely, absolutely, not trying to start the one millionth discussion of the value of the MFA. I’m not prejudiced against MFAs, hey some of my best friends have MFAs!

  162. Rauan Klassnik

      and i’ve just accepted a job to teach workshops with Tony Hoagland at Iowa, blah, blah, blah —

  163. MichaelF01

      1) Well, I would agree that typing up poems and sending them to universities is sad. Why would anyone submit their poems to the registrar or information desk?

      2) Because cronyism only exists in academia and magically disappears elsewhere.

      3) Well, I interned at two such magazines and we did a lot more than read slush. We attended meetings, made final editorial decisions, and produced each issue entirely. I could start my own lit journal if I wanted and/or if had the time because of what I learned, both subjective and practical (e.g., InDesign).

      4) No one expects you to blindly support universities. Perhaps people simply expect you (and others) to tone down the juvenile, I’m-too-cool-for-school hyperbole.

  164. MichaelF01

      Oh. I assumed you sort of were since I always see you all over the Internet proclaiming the revolutionary power of alt-lit as a response to tradition and “MFA stuff” and a movement that will save the world and cure all venereal diseases. My bad.

  165. Wallace Barker

      you been following me bro?

  166. Rauan Klassnik

      i’m tired. but i’ll buy you a drink at AWP if you want. seriously.

  167. MichaelF01

      Nah, bro. You’re just alt-lit’s defacto publicist.

  168. MichaelF01

      Thanks, but I’m not doing AWP this year. AWP’s starting to bore me. I don’t have anything against it, but I always feel terribly alone after the first day and want to just hide in my room for the rest of the time.

  169. Rauan Klassnik

      i hear ya

  170. Donald Dunbar

      No, I’m looking for an argument that isn’t “I feel this way so it’s true,” or, “It might be this way, contrary to any evidence you cite.” Innovation is a rare thing; many great books don’t innovate, many great albums, movies, etc.–most art doesn’t innovate. If one’s going to say something about a thing, one should back it up! If one can’t, one is–in that situation–talking out of one’s ass. I don’t think you’re full of shit–I think you were arguing in good faith earlier, and I think your article on Steve’s work is interesting–but I do think w/r/t this conversation about innovation, at this point, you’re talking out of your ass:)

  171. MichaelF01

      And many of the texts he would dismiss as un-innovative he would so on appearance alone. “Well, bro, this ‘Tristram Shandy’ book was written, like, a long time ago by some old 18th C white, Anglican clergyman dude, so it can’t be innovative.”

  172. Wallace Barker

      Nice job, good work.

  173. Wallace Barker

      Honestly at this point no longer understand what we are arguing about or what combination of words and letters could possibly satisfy you. You are the poetry innovation guru my friend. It has been an honor.

  174. MichaelF01

      Truth hurts. A well read and honest innovative writer can draw connections across historical periods. It’s the posturing frauds who dismiss history and tradition, usually out of insecurity or sheer laziness.

  175. Donald Dunbar

      That’s not true, is it? I think I’ve been very clear.
      You said Steve’s poetry and persona project are innovative.
      I asked how they were, and opined that they aren’t, giving examples of how his persona project is mostly lifted from the internet rapper Lil B.
      You said, well, maybe not his persona project, I don’t know about that really, but his poetry is.
      I explained what I find in the poetry I’ve read of his, and gave examples of people who’d done those things. I then asked you to explain what you found innovative.
      You said, well, it’s got to be innovative because so many people like it and imitate it.
      I said that you were confusing innovation with popularity.
      You said, well, I don’t know about that, but I feel his poetry is innovative.
      I said, that’s not much of an argument, and explained why.
      You said, well, I don’t know how to make a better argument. (At which point, during a good-faith conversation, someone might be expected to say, you know, I’ve got a lot to think about. I’ll think more about this, and maybe start this conversation back up once I’ve sorted out my thoughts.) Then you said, but it’s still probable that I’m right.
      I said, hey, now you’re talking out of your ass.
      You said, uhhh, I don’t know what we’re talking about anymore.
      Now, you may have said that because you have lost track of what we were talking about, in which case, I hope this summary clears it up. Or, you may have said that because you didn’t want to give someone who’s spent a couple hours thinking of ways to explain a thing to you the satisfaction of knowing that you actually heard him, in which case, I think you’ve made Guest’s and MichaelF01’s criticisms of you pretty valid. :/

  176. Wallace Barker

      Ha, yeah. You, Guest and MichaelF01. Pretty sharp bunch. Good times.

  177. MichaelF01

      You seem to think this is all about one-upmanship, that people are out to get you and alt-lit for no other reason than to shit-talk. Wrong. Most, if not all, of the people on this thread–including yourself–care about literature.

      The difference is, alt-lit constantly sticks out its chest and says, “my literature’s the supreme alternative to all those other boring literatures,” “my literature’s this super fancy movement that’s radically ahead of its time,” etc. Alt-lit loves to run around making these flamboyant, aggressive claims of its importance then acts shocked when people take it to task. It’s very passive-aggressive and smarmy.

      Like what you like. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t like yet I don’t feel compelled to go after its practitioners, probably because they are secure enough in their work that they don’t need to aggressively sell their importance to the world. Got it?

      Once you start stating the grand importance of a movement and trashing all other aesthetics or styles, often via misrepresentation, you can’t get butthurt when people who have also committed their lives to literature challenge you.

      I hope that’s clear enough for you, Wallace.

  178. Wallace Barker

      Are you that NasirGodSon bro and then deleted your account so it says “Guest” and created a MichaelF01 account so you could come back and say the same stuff again?

  179. rawbbie

      didn’t say it’s fake, I said it’s bullshit and I’m suspicious.
      he needs them because his work up until now was spectacle and excess. he needs something to seperate himself from the more spectacular and more excessive world of alt lit. he needs a reason to say why he’s distancing himself from alt lit. he needs that.
      People who are for legitimate causes go out and do shit about it first. To my knowledge, Steve hasn’t been active in anything political before this year, before he started his kickstarter to live in the same town as his girlfriend.

  180. MichaelF01

      Yes. We are all one. I’m a huge Nas fan. “Made You Look.”

  181. Guest

      you’re cool

  182. Wallace Barker

      nice, p sweet

  183. MichaelF01
  184. jereme_dean

      this is the jam.

  185. Richard Mathis

      Richar’ds writing LIT

  186. Wesley Morganston

      The positivity is exactly why I never bother following this alt lit stuff except passively. It’s just the same tedious ideological schlock regurgitated in a different format; the stuff has been around since at least the ’70s and, you know, maybe it’s intended to offer a way out of pathological narcissism (underlain as it is by something close to self-hatred) but in the end it ends up playing back into the same logic of “here’s an exciting and sexy movement and you can join it and feel good and strong and powerful from being in it and identify with charismatic leaders”.

  187. TOMMY

      everything is either an elaborate conspiracy or complete chaos… there is no absolute, no correct persona, no “right” POV, or “movement” all opinions are interchangeable and essentially obsolete… as they are gone the minute the opinion creator constructs one…..

  188. deadgod

      bullshit (here) ≠ fake ?

      By “fake”, I mean ‘putting forward a false image’. It sounds (to me) like you’re suspicious of Roggenbuck’s integrity with respect to his social activism, so, as you see things (I think), he might well be a fake social activist.

      As I read you here, there are two reasons for your skepticism: a) he’s privileged (and what privileged person would reject confusing privilege with virtue? who would voluntarily see their privilege from a persecuted perspective in material conflict with their own?); and b) it’s new-found.

      I don’t think either of these arguments is rational.

      I’m engaging right now impersonally – truly, it’s not “me an’ you”. I just don’t feel why people are rubbed the wrong way by this guy.

      Sunny optimism is often a destructive falsification of reality? –I agree about ∞%; I’m not sure trying to turn things around–even in a small way–is that.

      But Roggenbuck is operating a slush fund to avoid getting a real job? itotallydgi

      I mean, if living in the town where your main slam lives is dubious, then I’m really horrible. …uh, ne’ min’ that last bit.

  189. Jeremy Hopkins

      Do you get why people are incorrectly rubbed by The Biebs?

  190. John Rogers
  191. John Rogers

      This is an ignorant comment. One of many in this thread.

  192. deadgod

      Not sure what you mean by “incorrectly”. I think many people ‘hate’ Bieber without knowingly having heard three of his tunes: meme-herd. I think people who looked into his thing and hate it mostly blame him for his popularity, which is shtoopit. If someone thought Bieber himself was malignant – that, in general, pop is destructive – , I guess I’d respect some slice of their pov––I’d have to hear the argument, you know? It doesn’t have to be Mitch Miller versus Joseph Kony; ‘pop’ is also Cole Porter and “Send in the Clowns” and Herb Alpert, and Bieber is pretty talented at his thing (which I wouldn’t walk across the street to get for free).

      I have Derangement Syndrome about people whom I think confuse their privilege with virtue–people who exercise real power without compassion. Bieber? An enemy??

  193. beachsloth
  194. gena

      and incessant “positivity” seems rational? lol.

  195. gena

      seems more “riveting” than “insane”, in my opinion.

  196. Stephen Michael McDowell

      no, i also said steve’s response to this ‘seems ‘insane” []

  197. Jeremy Hopkins

      By “incorrectly rubbed” I meant “rubbed the wrong way.”
      [no homo]

  198. Sam Radford

      Short points: alt lit is the starbucks of literary movements. Steve exemplifies this entirely.

      Steve is probably closer to a much sloppier version of the titular character in San Miguel, Buen Martir by Miguel de Unamuno.

      The earlier Nirvana comparison (and my own starbucks comparison) is perfectly apt. He does nothing new technically speaking nor particularly well but has opened the door of boutique and intelligent to the most banal people.

  199. rawbbie

      i don’t think he’s he’s putting forward a false image; he’s putting forward an image that he’s never put forward. I’m not saying he’s misleading people about his social activism, I’m saying he’s never been a social activist, and wondering why now?

      It also reminds me of Michael Jordan playing baseball.

  200. Stephen Michael McDowell

      i replied to this but it had a link in it (to another comment in this thread) so it got deleted(?), i called steve’s thing ‘insane-seeming’ too

  201. Alan Longino

      I feel as if a lot of the time when you’re using the words ‘Alt Lit,’ that AbEx (Abstract Expressionism) could be substitute — and for ‘writing,’ the word ‘painting.’

      “AbEx has nothing to do with painting, really. It’s a clique. Some have tried desperately to associate painting with the term, like people who feel their worthwhileness is minor and desire to be part of a movement–something remarkable!–or gallerists/dealers looking to categorize their art for sale. But, don’t be fooled, AbEx is to painting like a cafeteria is to school education.”

      You obviously respect writing. You’re fearless in your critique, which any good critic should be (not Oracle), and I think you want to like Alt Lit. However, you see Roggenbuck as the face of this writing, and you have so much problem with him that it’s hurting Alt Lit for you.

      Like Alt Lit, AbEx had people doing it before WW2, just without the moniker — but that still doesn’t, and shouldn’t, erase what they are doing now.

      You’re fearless. Great, that’s typically the sign of the critic. They’re fearful (of their images, work, brand, whatever you want to call it). Great, that’s typically the sign of an artist.

  202. Alan Longino

      The word curating is thrown around too often these days. I’d unfortunately say that you are coalescing all curators, or those who — either by self-promotion, or authoritarian promotion — fall under the title of curator. There are good curators, great ones, even, who further elevate the art. Then, there are those who use the term to elevate themselves (because it’s sexy, sophisticated, associative with power/decision making, etc…), which is what Hans Ulrich Obrist termed the ‘fly-in, fly-out’ curators two Augusts ago.

      There is no French word for curating/curator, due to French deriving from Latin where ‘curare’ means ‘to care for.’ Incidentally, that is already a conservateur’s duty.

      There are those who care for art, and do elevate it to a higher plane. However, unfortunately I’d suspect — since it is all too common — you are assigning collective guilt to an entire group of curators, because there a few bad apples. Individual instances should be not cause for collective guilt.

  203. jereme_dean

      Hey Alan, I didn’t see this until now.

      You’re wrong, I don’t want to like Alt Lit, at all. Felt I made that pretty lucid. I think there are some writers/poets who are currently associating themselves with Alt Lit that are noteworthy. Think their prominence will come full force once they’ve left the high school mentality of being cool and focus solely on their voice/work.

      I don’t consider Roggenbrand Alt Lit, at all. Felt I made that lucid as fuck.

      I’m not fearless or fearful. Really. More like up in the clouds/down in the gutter not giving a fuck what everyone else is giving a fuck about.

      Ya dig?

  204. Alan Longino

      No worries, man.

      I can dig that, and I’m okay in being wrong.

      You play the fearless one quite well, much to your own writing and style of thinking. Contrarian for contrary’s sake is always a worthwhile pursuit. It was once a pursuit.

      And it’s, too, often the sign of a good critic.

      I think you’re right about the high school mentality, and some finding their voice after finding their own path after high school.

      However, and I only pose this question as the devil’s advocate, could this pseudo-positivity thing you cast doubt on be the contrarian attitude to the Internet’s gross negativity? What is its purpose, or does it have a purpose?

  205. jereme_dean

      I think positivity is used as a means to inflate the ego, to feel good about insecurities or something.

      Like, if you look at Steve’s reply to me, he doesn’t really address any of my criticism. What he does do is compliment me a lot. And if my ego was a hungry type, it would really enjoy eating that junk food.

      It isn’t though.

      I’ve observed interactions within alt lit, like group stuff, and it has had the same energy as a bunch of passive-aggressive house moms competing over who made the best meatloaf. A lot of high hatting and dismissive acknowledgment over nothing important. Feel me?

      I think what you’re implying is interesting though. I don’t really know if their form of positivity is the yang to the gross negativity of the internet. I guess my next question to myself/you is: isn’t all aspects of culture centered on the negative now?

      It isn’t just the internet.

  206. Alan Longino

      I will agree I think Steve’s reply was lacking in strength and much, if any, refute to your criticisms.

      I identified the Internet in my question, as that’s what alt lit + net art identify themselves with. It could be applied to a larger setting–the world–and you’ll find little argument against the ‘gross negativity’ inherent to the world. However, to try:

      The “Negative of Now,” as we’ll call it, I think is superficial, and a part of a surface critique. So, if I am to label it as superficial and surface, I must equally label the “Positive of Now” also superficial, but also of a surface critique. So, when I speak to the NoN, so too “PoN” — it’s superficial in that it [negativity] is the first thing we see, and immediately want to comment on or identify a movement/question with or against.

      I know this is contradictory to my original question of “the gross negativity of the Internet,” but I don’t think you — or I — really believe people are absolutely negative, or positive.

      This isn’t the Shakespearean idea of, “blah, blah, only thinking makes it so,” but what I’m trying to flesh out is a Kant-after-Duchamp idea. There is this object, beauty, and on one side is negativity, the other binary is positivity. Both assert their positions on the same object, This ‘Negavitiy’ is easiest to back up, therefore the most visible, but the ‘positivity’ is the one people would secretly like to win.

      This is all very long-winded, but I really think that you, myself, or others don’t believe there is a strict negativity to the Internet, and world, and therefore not an equal positivity. There are just competing high schools to root for, dissent and subcats among populi of both schools — but always agreement that their HS is the best, and even if their HS was rough on them they’ll still claim it into the future. They still just want the same thing, though.

  207. “You’re wrong, I don’t want to like Alt Lit, at all.” | HTMLGIANT

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  208. MFBomb

      People might also fall for it because he knows how to work the Internet. Kids who haven’t read much are more likely to look past the actual words on the page and focus on the poet’s “coolness.” It’s the same reason why advertisers love targeting children.

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