Dateline: To Catch A White Boy hosted by Chris Hansen. Or something.
Following an instance where some coffee shop-sitting, poetry-writing cliche in my Rhetoric class said journalists “probably lack the technical writing skills we [as English majors] have,” (in reference to Philip Gourevitch of all people), I gave him the heartbreaking news that many of the writers he supposedly looked up to were journalists.
Then this happened on Facebook (an exchange with a lovely person who loves good literature and is not a horrible walking cliche) because I’m a monster who thinks I’m funnier than I am.
But it got me thinking (uh oh).
I still firmly believe that white boys are the most under-utilized resource for ridicule. Particularly the pseudo-intellectual, literary types. They deserve a bit more shade than they get. Particularly since we live in a culture that is so keen to go after white girls as the poster children for vapid, self-centered interests and unchecked privilege, I think there are other parties that deserve a bit more criticism.
Now, I’m not attacking any of the aforementioned authors for matters of taste: I’ve read and enjoyed many books, essays, poems by the above. However, there’s this climate in a college English classroom that’s a bit difficult to describe (but I’ll try) that sort of mirrors the literary world: Everything tends to always come back to those writers and their white male voices. Their voices are held in some biblical sort of reverence that’s almost laughable.
And the people who are always derailing conversations with references to Kerouac, Bukowski or Hemingway always fall into that easily recognized archetype. They’re often the guy at the party who pictures himself as “The Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man.” He’s probably trying to talk to you about his screenplay or novel plans; he compares his own voice to the aforementioned and tends to only write about drinking, sex and #masculinity in a way that is derivative and uninteresting. It’s all sort of exhausting.
These are often the same people who claim that literature is dead/dying/burning or whatever. They’re often the people who compile lists that leave out different gender identities, sexual orientations and people of color: the boy’s club desperate to maintain ownership of something that never should’ve been theirs.
So, look: you can like your Hemingway, Bukowski and Joyce. There is merit in your experiences no matter where you come from. But acknowledging the voices that aren’t given as much attention is a worthy undertaking that will likely make you a better writer and a better human being.
I always return to this lil guy:
Because, really. I’m over it.
 I always say the name of my novel is “I Don’t Care About Your Novel” and the name of my screenplay is “Shut Up About Your Screenplay.” I want those on a t-shirt. Because reasons.
Apple download - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aspire-news/id733163167?mt=8
Android download - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.collectiveray.aspire