Today DJ Berndt, a venerable alt lit institution, wrote a life-changing piece on Bulk Culture. Entitled ‘Alt Lit Reviews by People who don’t read Alt Lit’ I originally thought it was going to show how people can be so busy they can’t always keep up on the latest, greatest trends in Alt Lit. Then it hit me: not everyone on Earth reads Alt Lit. Out of a world population of 7 billion people, there are roughly a couple hundred, perhaps a couple thousand, people who are alt lit readers. I sat shocked by this revelation.
How do people find alt lit? I pondered this for a while. Is Tao Lin the alt lit version of a ‘Gateway Drug’? After a person reads a Tao Lin book do they suddenly transform into a chapbook-collecting, Pangur Ban Partying, NewWaveVomiting individual? Or are there other ‘Gateway Artists’. Personally I think Steve Roggenbuck may fall under this category. Steve doesn’t even write things, he says them to a camera. Think of Steve Roggenbuck as a ‘digital bard’. While he may never get to your part of the country (he offers his sincerest condolences, Guam) he is available online. You don’t even need to read. Just absorb his aurora, his presence, and his enthusiasm.
I’m shocked DJ Berndt knows non Alt Lit people. To me DJ Berndt is a legend. I hear about his laugh, full of more merriment than eight Macy’s Santa Clauses loaded on booze. He runs the excellent, second to none Pangur Ban Party. Now he even writes for Bulk Culture, a place I’ve submitted to without anything resembling success. They probably get a lot of submissions from people, not sloths. It is okay, it is just difficult sometimes being the only North Dakota based sloth in the entire alt lit community. Maybe I’m not even a member maybe I’m a lowly blogger searching for relevance in all the relevant places.
Two of DJ Berndt’s friends at least as far removed from Alt Lit as I am, if not further removed. I don’t know either one of these people but they seem to be nice. Each one was given some Spencer Madsen to read. Spencer Madsen is a rising ‘Alt Lit’ superstar who earns tens of dollars a year from his writing. How would they react to Spencer’s ‘love-letter poem’ to his non High School sweetheart, Mallory Whitten?
‘Re:Mallory Whitten’ gives them a better sense of who Spencer Madsen is. Neither one states that Mallory Whitten is being unfair. Rather, each one laughs at it and holds a slightly different perspective on Spencer’s persona. It is the power of the Madsen that neither N nor J can determine Spencer’s true nature. I’ve met Spencer and I can’t say with any certainty of who he truly is, besides a friend of mine. After that I got nothing.
Hope DJ includes more people to review Alt Lit. Who knows, perhaps this segment on Bulk Culture could slowly engross the world. Maybe everyone on Earth someday will be an ‘Alt Lit’ writer, eating pasta every night, recycling cans for money, and selling chapbooks on the internet. One can hope.