How Going on about What You Write Might be Interesting

Et Cetera

I like asking questions, have always liked asking questions, had never had much fear about asking questions, had also had a sensitive understanding of the inappropriateness of some questions, of what to avoid asking, when and where and with whom, to whom. At least what I had assumed was a sensitive understanding. I had always had impeccable timing for my questions as for my humor. I could go on here about how I loved to question ideas, question assumptions, question the meaning or the significance of events, or just the simple questions asked when questioning authority, something I did not do in the reflexive ways my generation had assumed either necessary for purposeful social corrective or simply as a birthright that needed exercise otherwise it wither and die and thus so would democracy. Going on about this might be interesting, would fit the opening, but no, I will not go on about the questions I could ask, would ask, might have asked but did not and why. Questions always beget more questions; questions leading to questions after answers especially. I have always suspected that the reason most of us do nt answer the questions we are asked and only respond to them is that if answered, a new question is asked and the force with which it is asked puts greater stress on the next answer being delivered. Only responding actually stlalls the process by getting stuck on a question that needs to be asked again.

I can ask questions about what this thing I am publishing here called XXX XXXXXX. What is it? Why is it? When is it The Review and when is it a review, one among many? Is it the purpose of this Review to examine politics in general–how is that even done? Or politics as they are played out on the American stage both currently and historically? The latter seems more reasonable in its expectations for an answer–although is there just one answer? I am not going to assume that answers and responses are equal in their probability. What qualifies as an answer and what qualifies as a response is not the same, is it? I take this truth to be self-evident that it should be the goal or intention of any literary review to have something intelligent and critical to say to power, about power, opposed to power; and that the same should be true as well to money, about money and opposed to money, even if the vehicle is the literary essay and thereby a form of writing governed by a discipline not necessarily politically scientific.

The literary is what I employ here as my standard for the writing; I have not pandered to what some have assumed is necessary when championing democracy, and that is a drop in the level of writing along the curve of mediocrity. It must be in some minds a truth undeniable, and that is in order to serve the democratic averages, the writing must not be better than average, and that is average on the fore mentioned downward curve. I am of the mind that democracy is noble, that democracy is anything but average, that it cannot be served by any attempt that is either average or mediocre, the latter serving to perpetuate mendacity everywhere growing in our need for ease, our gluttony for the easy.

The literary not only can be employed in the service of social and political critique; it must be. The literary essay is adaptive to any subject, any thesis, and has only its own governing generic considerations of form and greater aesthetic considerations to which it must defer. What a literary essay is will not be exhausted at the moment. The Literary Essay as a form has Montaigne as its originator, its inventor, its guiding principal–should I say, of course–no. I owe as much to Bacon as I do to Montaigne, as much to Emerson as I do to Bacon, as much to Orwell as I do to Emerson, to Camus as to Emerson, to Baldwin, to Duras, to many, many others as well. Just how someone develops the thoughts they think, see taking form on the page in his writing–my writing–why am I displacing me by talking about some abstract somebody?

I am the chief writer herein. Why the pretense? I am the only writer. I am everything an everyone in this review. I am the editor, the publisher and the only scribe. I do not like scribe as it has too much in common with scribbler. I do not want to take myself too seriously, but writer is better than scribe. I am not some courtly stenographer who is employed to revise favorably what the King says. The Review is what it should be and is in line with other reviews that have been published in the past, literary reviews and some of the small magazines of the literary type that have been recurrent in avant garde circles for the last century. There are also the reviews of the literary type published in England in the 18th and 19th centuries that I have also had affinities for, and at times had imagined publishing journals of the like.

But inquiry is the axis; literary is the guiding principal; the essay, the dominant form–or so I assume at present. What else I should say could become a comment and part of an on-going dialogue on what this review is, should be, could be, might never become, et cetera. Everything in life is et cetera.


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