Here’s a fun thing to do if you’re bored – go into just about any bookshop in the Anglo-Saxon world and ask the woman behind the counter if she can show you their Hemingway section. If you want to really skate on thin ice, ask them if they have a copy of Death in the Afternoon. Watch her upper lip curl skywards in a thin sneer. Her undernourished cheeks will suck in like she just licked a lemon. Finally she will lift her arm in eternal weariness and point to the far corner of the store where the straight old white misogynist section is located behind the broom cupboard. Thank her politely, go and select your purchase, and then cheerfully ask her if there are any new authors who are similar in style. Queue internal nuclear meltdown.
Over at Return of Kings is an article titled, How New York killed male literature. Broadly speaking it divides the challenges that face straight white men like myself into two categories. Firstly you have to do an inordinate amount of networking with lots of women, and secondly you need to write progressive literature.
Two factors explain the existence of the literary class system as a substitute for talent. First, it’s hard for a magazine or agent to make value judgments between two solid pieces of work based on reading them for 5 minutes.
Actually a good reader will be able to determine an author’s talent by reading the very first sentence. The first paragraph at most. That’s another trick you can do in a bookstore – go to the new release section and read each first paragraph. They will all be shit and they will all sound the same. It’s cookie cutter literature as they have come through the same programs.
The recent mushrooming of these programs—where writers workshop their stories and study craft while escaping from the daily grind—has resulted in more perfectly cut gems of sentences, more aesthetic groupthink and conformity,
Hemingway didn’t come through a program. He was a journalist back when that meant something. He completed a journalist cadet-ship and then worked in Europe as a correspondent for several years while he crafted his first novel. I have all of his articles that he wrote in that period. It’s fascinating to read them and observe his emerging style.
Literature today has no style and they wouldn’t recognize it if it landed in their laps. Hemingway would not be published because of his straight white maleness, because of his non-SJW tendencies, because his style was unique, and because he would not have bought into the virtue signaling that is required today. You can repeat this for just about any male author published before 1995.
Other writers that I know lament at this state of affairs. My only lament is that I wonder who hasn’t got published who would have been the next Hemingway. I don’t get to read that guy. But as for the unfairness of the system, who gives a fuck? The system is rotten, the foundations are collapsing, the readers are deserting them. But they’re not deserting reading. Our job now is to let them know that we are here.