TEN YEARS OF
AND GENERAL MAYHEM!
It was a dark night towards the end of the last century, when a dozen or so would-be wordsmiths joined together to found an on-line magazine to be named after the post-celebratory rumblings of a noisy beer-infested college fraternity get-together.
Our Director of
Style & Culture
The celebrants were neither obnoxiously famous nor nastily infamous --- but they did share a few idiosyncrasies: a desire to better the literary arts; an unending affection for the Sillies; and, most of all, a disdain for the contemporary world of American book review.
Our editors and writers knew from personal experience that the establishment literati consisted of failed novelists, disgruntled college professors, self-published, self-parodying, self-abusing historians and poetasters --- banded together in the New York Literary cáfe noir set to issue tedious, tendentious, tired, and timid scribblings to appeared ad nauseum in American magazines and newspapers under the guise of reviews of contemporary fiction and non-fiction.
These are the stuff of parody: an inchoate reprise of the plot (if a novel), an inchoate review of history or facts (if non-fiction) --- followed by fawning, yawning praise (always complete with one or two factual corrections), concluding with a sentence or two that would assure the world of the nit-picking abilities of the reviewer.
Ours was to attempt no small change in this hermetic world: to keep reprises down to the minimum; to study style as well as content; to discover or rediscover the unknown and the forgotten; to scold the inept (no matter how revered) all the while eulogizing the artistic and artful (no matter how obscure) for their difference and their courage.It's been ten years since the first RALPH arrived on the scene (December 5, 1994 to be exact). In that time, a few of the dozen or so have drifted away, others have joined the circle. But the passion never drifts too far from us ... the passion and promise we made in the dark days of 1994. None could ask more nor less.--- Lolita Lark