I’m Not Dead Yet!

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/" target="_blank">chotda</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a>)

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Every two seconds, someone in the UK buys a Twilight book. Depending on your literary outlook, that’s either the best or the worst thing you could imagine. 

The past decade saw the reign of blockbuster novels (the Harry Potters, Professor Langdons and Edward Cullens know what I’m talking about) and literary star power. The already luminous kept illuminating (with little fizzles—think Roth’s The Humbling and Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown), while Wunderkind of the decade redefined a literary life as a hip young party in a language you don’t speak—but should. They dabbled in veganism and appeared on reality shows and blogged about their hair. The lovely and talented James Franco—best known for his turn as a beautiful stoner in (insert title of any James Franco movie) and now, an artist on General Hospital—will publish a book of short fiction in May.  So what’s to mourn?

A lot, according to Ted Genoways, editor of Virginia Quarterly Review, whose essay “Final Chapter” chronicles the decline of the literary magazine in America, and foretells the death of fiction as we know it. Universities, once the haven for burgeoning young talent, are simultaneously cashing in on their ever-expanding (and ever more expensive) MFA programs and cashing out their literary magazines. Meanwhile, the Wunderkind have ushered in a new era of “tell, don’t show” that values voice over experience and revels in the music of its own neuroses. The Wunderkind were ingenious and daring about it, but their legions of imitators have become increasingly dull. So dull, in fact, that the Nobel committee’s permanent secretary Horace Engdahl declared American writers—all American writers—too insular and navel gazing to deserve the prize. 

 Have American writers all become agorophobic shut-ins with nothing better to do than mumble to themselves in blogger-style-bathrobes all day while the quasi-literate Stephanie Meyers of the world drive us into the Kindle-era? Genoways hopes the new generation of American writers will wake up and smell the wars. I just hope they shower. 

 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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