As I was writing that post yesterday, I checked the current short story in The New Yorker, knowing it would be the usual predictable, substance-free elitist garbage, and sure enough it was everything I expected, and I will post it here, with a few words. Please, by all means, read this story, and then read "First Responder." The New Yorker story is called "The Repugnant Conclusion" by Elif Batuman, and one need read no further than five words to get to the first mention of Harvard, which is where, of course, the narrator of the story went to school, and super shock of shocks, where Elif Batuman went to school.
These people cannot write. They have no stories to tell you. They have no imaginations, and if you gave them a trillion years of life, they couldn't invent a single damn thing. They have to look to the navel. Always the navel.
Batuman fits the profile that The New Yorker and the publishing system wishes for you to have. There is more. Batuman is the author of two novels, The Idiot and The Possessed. Recognize those titles, maybe? She simply swiped them from Dostoevsky. You like that? Thanks, Fyodor. The Idiot was nominated for a Pulitzer. Next to nothing is real anywhere here in this industry. Frauds and bigots, bigots and frauds.
This is why people don't read and when they do read, they don't read honestly. They read something because they think they're supposed to. They say things they don't believe about what they couldn't finish because they don't want people to think they're stupid. They read to say, "I read this, please approve of me?" They don't read honestly, don't talk about what they've read honestly, and we now read so very little at all, and this system that tells you this is the best there is is a big reason why.
And that matters in this world, because it parts it and us from necessary quantities of life that both might have, and should have. It keeps us from the parts of ourselves that help us grow, inspire us, make it easier to cultivate a relationship with truth, with ourselves, with our fellow human. Get our ideas across. Understand our ideas. Develop new ones.
That is what great fiction does. That is what it is for. Stories like this are for none of that. They're for membership in a sick club and for fake panegyrics, not a word of which has ever been truly meant by anyone who has written it, or said it. They are for the egos of people who offer the world around them, the world they are nominally a part of--but not really--nothing.
You read that story, and you see it for yourself. Don't take my word for it--let their words do it for you. The Idiot, by the way, is about a Turkish American--like Batuman--who is a socially awkward freshman at Harvard in the 1990s. Gee. I wonder who that is.
You don't get fiction with these people, by which I mean works of invention and imagination that connect with you. There is no attempt to connect with you. The talent does not exist to create something with which you might connect. The lives of these people, such as they are, are based upon a premise born of their own insecurity--which is fully earned--that they are better than you are, when they are no better than carpenter ants, with less utility.
It's all elitist, pointless, narcissistic, autobiography, sourced from the lives of the empty and the privileged. And then these people gate the community of what is a subculture of broken freaks, and discriminate against anyone who is not like what they are, which is the last thing you wish to be as a human, and an artist. If you're any good as either.
I was most of the way done with that entry yesterday, and I just knew as soon as I checked to see what the current New Yorker story was, there was no way I wasn't going to see something like this. It's every time. Because it's all there is. You're also going to want to have the right pigmentation and gender. That will cover a lot of things, but non-antiquated--as in not routinely and automatically tongue-stroked going back to the 1970s--straight white male isn't among them.