Something I've learned and live: It takes a truly good and honorable person to do right by a person of greatness when they do not have to. For almost everyone, the temptation of that control, the leverage they have, in that moment, to "pay back" the person of greatness is too much. They will try to make things worse for the person of greatness, and they certainly won't--on their watch, so to speak--facilitate their progress. Why did "Find the Edges" appear in Harper's? Yes, it is a better story than anyone else has ever written. That's true. Read it. But that would have been immaterial if the editor at the time, James Marcus, was not a good and honorable person. He was not threatened by greatness. He's a better person. Whereas, a Christopher Beha, a Katie Ryder, are bad people. Evil people. Small, petty people. Insecure people. They are bigots.
Given the opportunity, they are going to fuck with and fuck over the person of greatness. They can't help themselves. That's how bad, pathetic people are. They're threatened. They are made to feel worse about themselves. In a way, I come to these people with what I come to them with--be it a book, be it a story that would change the world like "Fitty"--asking a favor. To not fuck me. To put feelings of inadequacy aside. It's not an actual favor, like the loan of $100 or helping someone move on a summer Saturday like this one, because there's sacrifice involved there, and merely doing the right thing that is your job doesn't technically qualify as a favor. But think of it that way. Think of all of the people who are jealous of a Tom Brady. If they had the chance, and there was no peer pressure for them to do otherwise, and they thought no one would find out, and Brady came to them, and they had that control, they'd fuck him. Nothing could please them more than being able to do that. Not the birth of their children. Nothing.
So you're not just dealing with stupid, visionless, simple, life-fearing/life-hating people in publishing; joyless people, sick people; you're dependent on finding people who are good and honorable, and sufficiently secure in themselves that they're not threatened by the person of greatness. They don't see themselves as in competition with the person of greatness. They want to get greatness out there. Or you're dependent on making it so that they have no choice.
Think of the incident with the woman in the bike lane the other day. Pretend she's an editor. She may well be. How do you think that's going to go when I come along with a work of fiction better than any other work of fiction? I send my nice letter. She knows me. They all know me. She knows what I do. They all do. She probably reads this journal. She therefore knows the person I am, too. There's no record in the world like this one, where we have such an intimate look at who someone truly is. We're supposing with other people. You have no idea, really. No one writes anything like this. No one puts themselves out there like this, from the bottom of themselves. Think of the volume, the time. People would find that even if they wanted to, they wouldn't have the courage. People like to have control over their appearance, or the appearance of what they are. There's a level of costuming. I don't do costuming. I do no costuming, actually. I am always as real as possible. I've done what I've done in the last ten hours, which is more than that woman will do in her life, and that's before we get into the quality of what I've just done. Shall we go back to the earliest portion of this morning? Covered what I did then. Since then, I've begun a new story, and have done a lot of the work of the Billie Holiday book proposal.
Go through this past week. Week and a half. The bike lane woman isn't going to like any of that. What do you think she's been doing? And now I come along, and she has that power. In her mind. I need that favor--the favor of not being fucked over. Does that seem like someone who, knowing all they know, is going to grant that favor? And when they think they don't have to? Can get away with it? Will not have to explain their behavior? Will have no accountability. There's no way on earth, right? To whom would she grant that favor? I will tell you. A mediocre person. A person like her. A person she views as parallel to her, no smarter than she is, and achievable. That last word is key. What it really means is someone else is not a threat. And probably a pretty fucking horrible person, which is what she is. She calls it other things, of course. But that's what she is. And in order to know people, she has to know other horrible fucking people. Because a good person would have nothing to fucking do with her, if they didn't have to. And so publishing becomes this community that it is, on those principles. The inversion of principles of values. The very inversion of what a proper principle is.
Look at David Remnick. He's a putz. He's achievable. He's a dumb, boring, pretentious, monied guy from money, but he doesn't know any more than anyone about anything. You're not wowed. He's not some master prosesmith. I'll tell you a David Remnick thing. We'll go into this more later, when I do a proper entry on how warped and evil this guy is. I pitched him once on these unreleased jazz recordings. They were a very specific kind of unreleased jazz recordings. I then watched--I had means of knowing--as David Remnick strip-mined my proposal, and stole it. He stole my entire idea. It wasn't some idea floating around in the news cycle or anything like that. Nor was it pegged to any album or box set release. It was pure fucking idea. Do you understand what I mean by that? Wasn't based on product coming out, or some anniversary, or a centennial. Nothing of the kind. Pure fucking idea. It was the most precise, Fleming-esque--as in, this could only come from Fleming right now--idea there could be. I actually clocked the hours of his theft in real-time. He then wrote the piece, from my very specific idea, himself. He stole from me. He had to steal from me because he has no ability. That he had to steal from me, and that I have all of the ability, is why he hates me. Why this bigot acts as he does. You're not cowed by how much you're wowed by a Remnick. He's some douchebag you could be. Or maybe you are. I hope you're not, though. I'd prefer to think well of you, and believe in you. I actually knew when Remnick was writing the piece he stole from me. I have all the proof, too. But I could literally look and see when he was writing it. I still have it, too. Of course. I could show you screenshots. This guy is a venomous, bigot of a weasel. If weasels had venom. I don't even want to impugn snakes with the comparison. Remnick is lower. And snakes have value in their ecosystem and the world. A Remnick--no.
For these people, that is everything. They need that. The idea of someone being achievable. And also from their caste system. Other people, out in life, are this way less often. They're a version of this way a lot, and more and more so, because of social media. Social media has made us more insecure, fragile, depressed, mentally ill. Unsure of ourselves. To the point that ver few people even have true selves anymore. That's partially why they pretend to care about what they care about, but they've really lost the ability to care about anything in a real way at all. But those people are less likely to view me as being in competition with them. They're less likely to feel terror and envy that here's someone infinitely smarter. Publishing people? That's the worst for them. And when that person is not like them, is entirely self-made, is a threat to them, can expose and take down their entire system, is the sporty-looking guy, not the nebbish freak of privilege who had panic attacks before gym long ago? You have ultimate disaster. You're seeing how that is playing out right now. How they're trying to contain that ultimate, for them, disaster. To keep it locked down. Stop the spread.
In the world, people can be dazzled without being threatened. Especially if it's not their line of work. One issue is, is that everyone thinks being a pundit is now their line of work. Being a critic, a thinker, what have you. Again, social media. Some drunken old hippie who owns a Beatles greatest hits tape now wants to think they know as much about the band as anyone who has ever lived, because that's our culture. We have talked in these pages about what I call the ass voice. People love the ass voice. An ass voice person requires other ass voice people. That way, they can have their "fun"; there's no one to embarrass them, to say words of actual knowledge that stand in stark contrast. That kills the ass voice party--knowledge. That is why we hate experts right now, not that there are more than twenty experts on anything in the world. Speak from the ass, and it's like you're Abraham Lincoln weighing in on complex political matters with all of the information at your disposal, and you could go on every talk show in the land. Achievability is important here as well. That could be you on CNN! In the op-ed section of The Washington Post! And it could--look how much the writing in that section sucks ass. A "regular" ass voice citizen who doesn't know how "their" and "there" work would do a better job. Also true. You could be a sports talk show host! Why do you think Skip Bayless has the following he does? It's because he's a moron who speaks out of his ass. Annoyingly. That's a lot of people. Those people give him his platform, because he's them. He provides comfort to them. He's non-threatening to them. No one has ever heard anything Skip Bayless has said and thought it was intelligent. Or that they couldn't have come up with it. No one has ever heard Bayless and thought, "Damn, he's a lot smarter than I am." The same goes for a David Remnick, though. He's just this talking cadaver who looks like he's been gaffed out of a stream, which is how publishing people like you to be, and Bayless is this ranting rube-meathead hybrid, which is how jock types want you to be. That's packaging. But they're the same idiot peddling the same shit, and have what they have for similar reasons, within their communities and demographics. And none of those reasons are good or because of skills. Value. No one finds them interesting, smart, funny. They're achievable. That's comforting to people. That comfort--which isn't real comfort, and is pathetic--is the point for them. And you don't think that is a huge fucking reason the world is what it is right now? You think it's COVID? Politics? Trump? It's this, man. This is a big part of it. This is the rot. And you know what rot does best? It spreads.
Providing that comfort is all that makes brands right now. Ability doesn't, value doesn't, entertainment doesn't, art doesn't. That needs to change. I need to change that. And I will. It's actually happening right now. This is part of that process. All of this. These entries. What I'm creating. What I am doing every day. People are going to look back on all of that, and say, "Oh...damn...this was happening all along. It's just mushroomed into this visibly gargantuan thing it is now, which is everywhere."
This is a photo of a corn snake. A beautiful animal, no? I think it's a beautiful animal. I would love to encounter one in the wild. I never have. The corn snake helps humans by controlling the rodent population. They have value. This means that every single corn snake that has ever lived--well, provided it didn't get killed in its first few days of life, or however long it takes a corn snake to get up to speed in controlling that rodent population--could look a David Remnick in the eye, and say, "There's really nothing to the good that you can contribute to humankind? Nothing, huh?" Again, a beautiful animal. Wiser in its way, too, and they barely have a brain.