introducing readers to writers since 1995

October 08, 2004

Hellman-McCarthy, Vidal-Buckley, and Now...
Stanley Crouch and Ron Hogan?

by Ron Hogan

crouch.jpgSo I woke up this morning, checked my email, and discovered that somebody claiming to be Stanley Crouch had commented on a post I made about him a few weeks back, declaring that "your obsession with me and my unfortunate encounter with another minor man like yourself, Dale Peck, seems to have made you incapable of actual assessment."

I particularly like how this writer attempts to rewrite history by calling the assault of Dale Peck an "unfortunate encounter," as if Peck's face just inadvertently wandered into the path of Crouch's swinging open palm...TWICE. But let's get on to the serious question: is this really Crouch? The comment has an AOL address, so I sent an email to Crouch at the Daily News asking for confirmation. So far, nothing, but stylistically, I'm tentatively persuaded. Here's why:

  • the dismissal of Peck and myself as "minor" men
  • the gratuitous swipe at real-life archenemy Terry Teachout
  • the rampant trumpetblowing for Don't the Moon Look Lonesome
  • ...including the intellectual namedropping of Charles Johnson
  • the assumption that only he knows the true story of African-American culture
  • the rhetorical assumption I don't know anything about something Crouch says he knows, a semi-standard gambit in other attack-dog pieces verifiably by Crouch
  • the gratuitous swipe at tenured academics

So it looks like, despite the fact that he considers Beatrice "a gossip website on which nothing of intellectual substance seems to ever appear, only the tone of knowing all but providing the reader with nothing," I may have gotten just deep enough under Stanley Crouch's skin for him to sully himself contacting "minor" men once more. "There is an old Negro saying about Jack the Bear," our correspondent chastises, "'making plenty of tracks but going nowhere.'" Well, sir, whoever you are, as James Brown, the hardest working man in show business, once said, "You're just talking loud / you ain't saying nothing."

Man, what I wouldn't give right now for one of those computer programs where you can toss chunks of text in for comparison to see if they're by the same author...but if this turns out not to be you, Mr. Crouch, do let me know and I'll delete this post along with the comments. This may be just a "gossip website," but I do strive for some degree of intellectual responsibility.


...and he left a phony baloney return e-mail address, as if he is above reasonable engagement, but not below bullying or bashing anyone who doesn't agree with him.

He's still an alligator of the first water, the kind looks like a log at first view, until you make out the eyes and then the snout and a few trailing bubbles leading nowhere...just like this screed. Pray that you never mistake an alligator for what they truly are and what they are capable of doing.

Frankly, I have no idea why he and Ishmael Reed even deign to address their critics and reviewers and writers and complete strangers. I mean, don't they have lots of other things to do, and money, and time enough--so much that I would kill for to complete my own work? If you are still standing and publishable after the worst of reviews, more power to you. These guys have been around for more than 40 years: what do they really have to worry about?

I said before: Crouch's book was NOT the great modern interracial novel, or 'white people's blues' novel, and it probably won't be the last pathetic attempt. I doubt whether the critics were dogging this idea at all, only how the idea itself was played out by the author. I think that this kind of novel is indeed possible and may even be in print right now. To tell the truth, I look forward to reading it.

Usually, in writing, in making these attempts and sacrifices, knowledge comes. Self-knowledge and self-control, unfortunately, evades certain people. Macho Hemingway may have been into boxing and the bull ring; he may have crossed the street to slap obvious homosexuals; but he still died with a self-inflicted hole in his head. I fail to see the logic of male writers of any color making efforts to look like or worse, act like, to 'improve' upon Hemingway's antics. Writing doesn't have to be about fighting...all the time.

Posted by: Gabrielle Daniels at October 8, 2004 03:21 PM
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