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Zinesters are not the Beats generation, we are the Beat-UP generation

Zinesters are the first generation that has had it's literature completely blocked from fair reviews in the mainstream media. There were the Beats writers in the 50's. Zinesters are the Beat-up writers. No other generation has had it's best contemporary writers block so completely and so unfairly.

The consolidation of the media has ruined mainstream publishing and the media that reviews it.
For some reason the media has given up all journalistic responsibility in refusing to cover zines and almost all better indie writing.

No coverage of the revolution in any art. It is just not literature.
No coverage of the new writers in new forms.
No coverage of the new writer advocacy groups and leaders such as King Wenclas, or ULA or Musea.
No coverage on why no coverage. The mainstream media can not be questioned on their almost total generational block of fair reviews for zines.

What do you think?

Tags: Dog, Guitar, Hendricks, Hunkasaurus, Musea, Pet, Tom, art, revolution

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Well, not all. Art zines don't always contain writing.
Just playing devil's advocate :)

Tom Hendricks said:
Writing does - and that covers all zines. Zinesters, I think as a group should be more progressive.

kitty magic/I'mOneOfAnOddFamily said:
not all zines are about poetry/creative kinds of writing like those Beat authors did. art zines, music zines, etc, dont fit into your group!!! my zines don't
The ULA is into promoting ALL kinds of indie artists.

We even have the bizarro WestPhilth sideshow dvd in our line-up.

By the way, I just launched a new line of ZINEBOOKS over at http://ulapress.com.

Zines is cheap. Zinebooks is cheap, too. $5 each, mailed. 8 titles so far. Surf over and check em out! Excerpts included for your viewing pleasure...

*BUKOWSKI NEVER DID THIS (Saunders)
*TALES FROM THE TEXAS GANG (Blackolive)
*THE EMERYVILLE WAR (Blackolive)
*WASTED ANGELS (Kostecke)
*THE FLABBERGASTED PORNOGRAPHIC EMUS (Fright)
*FAT ON THE VINE (Robinson)
*SECURITY (Nowlan)
*CHICANERY ROW (McElderry)

We have 4 or 5 fat zine issues, too -- $3 each. Plus some member zines, $3.

Totally indie writers who kicked it out in a totally indie scene!


star blanket river child said:
Well, not all. Art zines don't always contain writing.
Just playing devil's advocate :)

Tom Hendricks said:
Writing does - and that covers all zines. Zinesters, I think as a group should be more progressive.

kitty magic/I'mOneOfAnOddFamily said:
not all zines are about poetry/creative kinds of writing like those Beat authors did. art zines, music zines, etc, dont fit into your group!!! my zines don't
I never, ever post shit to this site, but this time I'm torn. Is it a joke? Is it not? Does it matter? I'm not gonna read a hundred posts to find out.

Listen kid, I write for a living, under a bunch of stupid names. And I bet I'm not all that much older than you. The difference is that I understand the score. You want to write and have it matter? It's a good intention, but it'll never happen. It's a grey world. There are no fucking absolutes. Horrible things happen to great people and it goes the other way around. It's the way of the world.

You want to write? You have to have an audience. Mysteries, romance, religion -- that's what sells. I know it won't make you wet, but professional writing's just a job, like any other. The only nefarious forces trying to bring you down are the people who don't give a shit about what you have to say.

Make it interesting and people will read it. That's the goddamn iron rule of publishing. I know you may think I'm a dick for saying what I do, but if you want to get your message or whatever out there, listen to me.

And if you just want to do it for yourself and a small group of like-minded people, I applaud that 110 percent. I used to do that with my own zine. That's the great thing about self publishing. There are no goddamn rules.

Forget about the people you believe to be keeping you down and do something for yourself. Trust me, it feels good.
That's not how it works at all. Sorry to say. Funny that you write this in a pose of gritty streetwise realism. But it's a line the ULA has seen for years.

True, today's machine is set up around genre-fiction. Another truth is that Literature is now just another genre -- one that's smaller and more introverted and walled-off than it was a couple decades ago BECAUSE of the MFA-system. Another truth is that the General bookstore (big and in the mall) has also changed and become just another genre outlet -- for soccer moms -- alienate them and their gift-buying ways and you're not getting in. Those are just a couple more truths to add to the equation.

"Interesting"-ness and a fan-base and potential have nothing to do with getting access to the PR and distro machines. Can you see what you're typing? "Make it interesting"? Huh? Interesting to WHOM? And how naive. Talent is the key, you think? What a knee-slapper. Talent is ONE thing, the same to everyone? And a cigar-chomper can recognize it? Whew!

We of the ULA aren't about what "feels good" but about combining our indie voices and our experience distroing successful zines in order to bust zining up into the light of the general public. By using guerrilla marketing and the business model. We got some big attention for awhile -- a major triumph. But when we launched our books some fear of success gave our sales-force the jitters. Oh well! We came CLOSE. ...The low-hanging fruit is STILL THERE.

I'm finally trying a ZINE pricing model with our line of perfectbound novels -- $5 each. Now, that's ZINEBOOK pricing! That might be the radical touch that will help the cause. One reason zines are popular is that they're cheap -- accessible -- and they're relevant. Today's lit-novels are hurting in both those ways. The ZINEBOOK might be a good countervoice to that.

It's hilarious that the two worlds -- zines and books -- haven't really been bridged yet. Just a few light touches, some brushes. (Crimethinc and AKPRESS do great work, though! They and few like them are as close as we've gotten.)

Zines and pulpy, relevant, fiesty books do have an audience. Not so tiny. Entirely reachable. Still waiting for the most part...

So, sure, we might be able to get our $5 zinebooks on some indie store shelves. And word of mouth about them might catch on. But to make the next step up I still think we need to COMBINE OUR VOICES. Zines were covered by the mainstream as "kids stuff." To get zinebooks some respect and real coverage in the mainstream -- to find out what our real size is -- (we're bigger than we think we are!) -- if just a dozen zinesters write in and demand real reviewing of some chosen outlet we'll get traction. Especially if we use the same banner -- the ULA! Just use it! Street-actions help as well -- some protesters with signs. Scares the daylights out of the book-biz!

Well, "WMZ" might work, too. The blogosphere is missing boots on the ground for the most part but it can get respect.

So that: If someone put up a notice here at "WMZ" about a major media rag that showed a chink in its armor, then fellow zinesters could join in and pile on and we would get attention. Bypassing the lit-mags to something like USA-Today might be fun. They still pretend we don't exist. ...The biggest literary movement in decades. Blogs have only surpassed it in terms of chat. : ) Some zinesters might care to change all that oneathesedays... Funny that blogs have gotten the respect that zines haven't yet. Still might be something we could do about that. --JP

Print Pope said:
I never, ever post shit to this site, but this time I'm torn. Is it a joke? Is it not? Does it matter? I'm not gonna read a hundred posts to find out.

Listen kid, I write for a living, under a bunch of stupid names. And I bet I'm not all that much older than you. The difference is that I understand the score. You want to write and have it matter? It's a good intention, but it'll never happen. It's a grey world. There are no fucking absolutes. Horrible things happen to great people and it goes the other way around. It's the way of the world.

You want to write? You have to have an audience. Mysteries, romance, religion -- that's what sells. I know it won't make you wet, but professional writing's just a job, like any other. The only nefarious forces trying to bring you down are the people who don't give a shit about what you have to say.

Make it interesting and people will read it. That's the goddamn iron rule of publishing. I know you may think I'm a dick for saying what I do, but if you want to get your message or whatever out there, listen to me.

And if you just want to do it for yourself and a small group of like-minded people, I applaud that 110 percent. I used to do that with my own zine. That's the great thing about self publishing. There are no goddamn rules.

Forget about the people you believe to be keeping you down and do something for yourself. Trust me, it feels good.
Well said Jeff Potter. Good example is corporate films. Let's say they compete against an indie film.
So the best film wins right? The corporate film spends 80 million on average to get you to see it, they are in most movie theaters. The indie can't spend hardly anything. Can't get into theaters. Now it's just good filmmaking that counts in this system? No its a system that doesn't allow quality. And it shows in films. And it shows in almost all corporate art. Shows in publishing too. When NPR reviews as many zines as they do bad novels then quality will have a better chance.

Jeff Potter said:
That's not how it works at all. Sorry to say. Funny that you write this in a pose of gritty streetwise realism. But it's a line the ULA has seen for years.

True, today's machine is set up around genre-fiction. Another truth is that Literature is now just another genre -- one that's smaller and more introverted and walled-off than it was a couple decades ago BECAUSE of the MFA-system. Another truth is that the General bookstore (big and in the mall) has also changed and become just another genre outlet -- for soccer moms -- alienate them and their gift-buying ways and you're not getting in. Those are just a couple more truths to add to the equation.

"Interesting"-ness and a fan-base and potential have nothing to do with getting access to the PR and distro machines. Can you see what you're typing? "Make it interesting"? Huh? Interesting to WHOM? And how naive. Talent is the key, you think? What a knee-slapper. Talent is ONE thing, the same to everyone? And a cigar-chomper can recognize it? Whew!

We of the ULA aren't about what "feels good" but about combining our indie voices and our experience distroing successful zines in order to bust zining up into the light of the general public. By using guerrilla marketing and the business model. We got some big attention for awhile -- a major triumph. But when we launched our books some fear of success gave our sales-force the jitters. Oh well! We came CLOSE. ...The low-hanging fruit is STILL THERE.

I'm finally trying a ZINE pricing model with our line of perfectbound novels -- $5 each. Now, that's ZINEBOOK pricing! That might be the radical touch that will help the cause. One reason zines are popular is that they're cheap -- accessible -- and they're relevant. Today's lit-novels are hurting in both those ways. The ZINEBOOK might be a good countervoice to that.

It's hilarious that the two worlds -- zines and books -- haven't really been bridged yet. Just a few light touches, some brushes. (Crimethinc and AKPRESS do great work, though! They and few like them are as close as we've gotten.)

Zines and pulpy, relevant, fiesty books do have an audience. Not so tiny. Entirely reachable. Still waiting for the most part...

So, sure, we might be able to get our $5 zinebooks on some indie store shelves. And word of mouth about them might catch on. But to make the next step up I still think we need to COMBINE OUR VOICES. Zines were covered by the mainstream as "kids stuff." To get zinebooks some respect and real coverage in the mainstream -- to find out what our real size is -- (we're bigger than we think we are!) -- if just a dozen zinesters write in and demand real reviewing of some chosen outlet we'll get traction. Especially if we use the same banner -- the ULA! Just use it! Street-actions help as well -- some protesters with signs. Scares the daylights out of the book-biz!

Well, "WMZ" might work, too. The blogosphere is missing boots on the ground for the most part but it can get respect.

So that: If someone put up a notice here at "WMZ" about a major media rag that showed a chink in its armor, then fellow zinesters could join in and pile on and we would get attention. Bypassing the lit-mags to something like USA-Today might be fun. They still pretend we don't exist. ...The biggest literary movement in decades. Blogs have only surpassed it in terms of chat. : ) Some zinesters might care to change all that oneathesedays... Funny that blogs have gotten the respect that zines haven't yet. Still might be something we could do about that. --JP

Print Pope said:
I never, ever post shit to this site, but this time I'm torn. Is it a joke? Is it not? Does it matter? I'm not gonna read a hundred posts to find out.

Listen kid, I write for a living, under a bunch of stupid names. And I bet I'm not all that much older than you. The difference is that I understand the score. You want to write and have it matter? It's a good intention, but it'll never happen. It's a grey world. There are no fucking absolutes. Horrible things happen to great people and it goes the other way around. It's the way of the world.

You want to write? You have to have an audience. Mysteries, romance, religion -- that's what sells. I know it won't make you wet, but professional writing's just a job, like any other. The only nefarious forces trying to bring you down are the people who don't give a shit about what you have to say.

Make it interesting and people will read it. That's the goddamn iron rule of publishing. I know you may think I'm a dick for saying what I do, but if you want to get your message or whatever out there, listen to me.

And if you just want to do it for yourself and a small group of like-minded people, I applaud that 110 percent. I used to do that with my own zine. That's the great thing about self publishing. There are no goddamn rules.

Forget about the people you believe to be keeping you down and do something for yourself. Trust me, it feels good.
Yes, absolutely! For heaven's sake, stop obsessing about the whichness of what and just get on with your great works!
My zine is made to be read. I'm surprised to find any writer who doesn't want others to read his work. Fair reviews are important to getting your work read, and seen by an audience. The early days of zines stood out for just that - zines would review other zinesters work. They shared in passing the word about other zines. It's what made the zine explosion as big as it was. Zines are not personal journals. Mine is there for others to read - not just an elite audience of trendies, but for everyone everywhere now and in the future. Good writing is good writing now and in the future. This is pretty basic stuff.
Captain Mimeo: Well, sure, there's the artist and their work. But zining is a bigger thing than just that. Zinesters are writers who do their own production and often also do their own distro or who relate directly to their distro scene. And of course some zinesters are more ambitious or outreachy than others and so might have more contact with various aspects of the sales-world, both straight and guerrilla.

As a somewhat separate matter, there's the role of zining in the larger media scene.

One can obviously comment on the one thing without taking anything away from the other.

In the early/mid 1990's the zine scene was maybe at its peak -- a global frenzy, in fact, with quite a few bright lights of starpower and leadership popping up. More than a few zines printing in the thousands of copies. It was worth noting -- then and now -- that mainstream lit media would report things like "there's no such thing as good amateur writing" or "there are no neglected geniuses laboring away in the hinterlands" or "zines are this fun thing that quirky folks and highschoolers are getting into." And it would make some of us nuts with frustration. Sure, it didn't impact our own work but we disliked seeing the scene and the talent being ignored. Then zining caught on a bit with some of the more savvy bigger media, like Utne. But when they gave a "best zine" award to a highgloss mag printed overseas that had a paid staff, some zinesters again felt dissed. So we thought that if we were to co-operate and put the word out in a central location about these situations that zinesters who cared could write in and JOIN THEIR VOICES and thus AMPLIFY THEIR VOICES and prove them wrong. ...And be a force that couldn't be denied. We also thought it best to have a rallying banner/cry and thus started using the "ULA" freak flag. We became a bit more savvy yet and started noticing things like needs-based literary grants going to millionaires and called them on it, saying that there were starving zinesters out there who could use the money bad. We got plenty of traction with these campaigns.

At the same time, we also got plenty of zinesters who did say "why don't you just stick to your zining?" ... Which was odd.

My point is just that zine activism might be of interest and might be separate from the work. Not too tricky. I note that every other cultural work has these multiple facets.

Whew, if zines could get even a bit of the respect that indie film/music have, the scene would just explode and hugely influence national reading habits even now.

Of course, the indie music/film scenes were built up by artists and biz-people and cultural-commentators...and by people who were active in all those areas at the same time. Yo!
I can only speak for myself, but there's a huge glut of decent but not particularly good reading material available, not only in zines, but books, and yes, on the Internet, and I suppose, e-books, i-pads and what-e-gadgets-have-you, that I've never even seen. (They bore and depress me to death.)

There's only so much time in a day, and only so much of that to have to read. I get most of my dozens, maybe hundereds of paperbacks and magazines for 10 cents a piece, sometimes free. (I favor the horror genre, but sometimes read others.) Among those, some are so bad, mediocre or boring, I set them aside. Most are okay and relieve a little boredom. A few are quite good. Even fewer are absolute masterpieces, but they don't come along often. That's mass market paperbacks. Even some of my favorite authors, short story writers, deliver mostly duds. You can't expect consistent genius all the time.

Tom, I've never read your zine, but I'm not that much into music zines. Maybe I'll order a copy from you at some point. What ever happened to Small Press Review? And I think there was a similar publication by the same publisher. I used to get that, supposedly in trade, years ago. Do you think your zine, and the sort of writing you do, is more in the "little magazine" and/or "small press" genre than the zine. Has the Internet killed that publishing/reading culture even worst than zines?

I've flipped through Utne. Couldn't relate to it, but frankly, I'm not sure if I relate that much to most zines, especially lately.

Who is your audience? San Francisco yuppies who read the Arts & Entertainment section of "The Chronicle". I don't mean to sound reverse-snobbish, but who do you EXPECT to read "zines" and WHY? Why should they read the zines you think they should as opposed to what they're already reading...or doing? Certainly you understand the role of time-logistics in the matter, don't you?

Zines are the taste of a very rare few. Indeed, most zine readers only read a small subset of all zines.

I don't MIND if a lot of people read my zines, but I'd only expect a rare few to have any understanding or appreciation of them at all. Hoping not to sound bitter, but you do realize most people who do like to read at all, just prefer mass fluff (like Utne, for example).

Well, I guess it's all been said before. But that's my 2 cents.
Jeff brought up an important point. Zining is more than writing - it's the writer, illustrator, book maker, printer all in one - explosion. Add to this the subject matter - which is not limited to fiction, or non fiction, or any one type of writing. That and the desktop explosion makes for a LOT of advances in fiction, non fiction, book making, marketing, you name it.
That is part of the reason the mainstream hasn't reviewed it. It's too innovative. If it were a novel it would fit in with the structure set up for reviewing books - mostly novels get reviewed.
But that too is a reason they should review them - they are so much more innovative than the standard write-another-novel bunch. Novels are the cutting edge of... what 1851, or even 18th century.
Hey James,

Tom, I've never read your zine, but I'm not that much into music zines.
Musea is a zine that covers all the arts. I am also a musician which may have confused you.

Maybe I'll order a copy from you at some point.
Can't really order cause it doesn't cost - you can trade or send an SASE for the print version or read it on musea.us.

What ever happened to Small Press Review? And I think there was a similar publication by the same publisher. I used to get that, supposedly in trade, years ago. Do you think your zine, and the sort of writing you do, is more in the "little magazine" and/or "small press" genre than the zine.

No, it's an 8 pager that is strickly ziney from beginning to end.

Has the Internet killed that publishing/reading culture even worst than zines?

I've flipped through Utne. Couldn't relate to it, but frankly, I'm not sure if I relate that much to most zines, especially lately.

Who is your audience? San Francisco yuppies who read the Arts & Entertainment section of "The Chronicle". I don't mean to sound reverse-snobbish, but who do you EXPECT to read "zines" and WHY?

Are you interested in film, music, art, lit, fashion, internet, media, or anything connected to the arts or media? Then my zine is for you.

Why should they read the zines you think they should as opposed to what they're already reading...or doing? Certainly you understand the role of time-logistics in the matter, don't you?

Why indeed. Read what you like. What I would like to see is FAIRNESS for zine writers, just like any other person on the planet. Fairness and honesty are still important. They are important in writing, arts, or media; just like they are in any other thing people do.



Zines are the taste of a very rare few. Indeed, most zine readers only read a small subset of all

Same with mysteries, or romance novels, or vampire books. But they should still be fairly treated just like mysteries, or romance novels or vampire books. Zines don't deserve worse treatment than other types of writing right?


zines.

I don't MIND if a lot of people read my zines, but I'd only expect a rare few to have any understanding or appreciation of them at all. Hoping not to sound bitter, but you do realize most people who do like to read at all, just prefer mass fluff (like Utne, for example).

Most people can't read at all, so why write?
There's a major audience in the world who want to read books that are soooo good they are both great reading, and great writing.


Well, I guess it's all been said before. But that's my 2 cents.
James N. Dawson said:
[ ]There's only so much time in a day, and only so much of that to have to read. I get most of my dozens, maybe hundereds of paperbacks and magazines for 10 cents a piece, sometimes free. (I favor the horror genre, but sometimes read others.) Among those, some are so bad, mediocre or boring, I set them aside. Most are okay and relieve a little boredom. A few are quite good. Even fewer are absolute masterpieces, but they don't come along often. That's mass market paperbacks. Even some of my favorite authors, short story writers, deliver mostly duds. You can't expect consistent genius all the time.

I'm baffled why discussion of activism for a cause provokes comment on content. I mean, no one said a thing about expecting genius all the time. ? Maybe you're saying that because it's hard to find the good stuff, you end up short on time. ? Maybe I just don't get you, so no worries... No harm no foul.

And, sure, let's speculate on the size of potential audiences. But how can we have any relevant data if a scene is cut off from consideration? It's like the swamp blues folks of the 1930's and some player is saying "Yeah we like this music but who else would? Let's just stay home." Well, that's fine for him, but if some other folks want to get out and push it and try to break that sound on thru to the radio stations then I'd say more power to 'em.

I'd say that lots of MFA-system novels that get airplay are about rich-folk concerns -- nannies, psychiatrists, hotels and such -- heck, even the fretful, isolated lives of professors. All of these are even given way more airtime than their demographic warrants. They're the ones with the micro-audience topics.

A zine about trying to travel while being poor, about exploring a city on a thrift-shop bike, about hitch-hiking and couch-surfing, is something that FAR MORE people could relate to. A zine that reviews garage bands -- where the writer digs thru tons of local music and finds some great stuff and writes about it well -- and where a fan can go hear that good music cheap -- that's a zine that's of great service to LOTS of folks. I mean, can there be too many zines like that? I haven't seen too many of them!

Now, reviews of mainstream concerts with $50 tickets...that's just crap, really. Posing. Exploitation. I don't know ANYONE who goes to such things. No realworld audience there in my world.

Or, how about a zine -- or book -- dealing with life in A NEW DEPRESSION ERA. ...About life on the road, moving from job to job. Maybe about finding a way to thrive despite having no money but then getting into new dire straits coz in America if you don't have money you will be trapped like a rat eventually. But then the characters -- or the writer -- bounces back AGAIN. Refuses to be beaten down, figures yet another way out. Fact or fiction, who cares. No, IT'S TRUE. I'd say there's a REAL plot that MILLIONS in the USA today could relate to. Is it in the new fiction coming onto bookshelves!?! HAR! It's DENIED! It's "Dancing with the Stars" instead!

Of course, if there WERE a lot of zines about job-loss and bike-exploring and hitch-hiking and couch-surfing, you're right that most wouldn't be very good. We do say that the zine scene should be better known, but we don't say that all zines are equally good. We're into pushing the best up into the limelight. The best do rise up in the scene. We just say Why stop their rise? Break the glass ceilings in their way! The ceilings preventing underground lit are the same ones that prevented women from executive jobs! Whenever one hits a ceiling, don't ask why, just smash it! Sure, most are content underneath. But there are actually, as I've detailed, a few reasons why the barriers should be challenged (including freedom and justice -- a couple biggies).

At the same time, the lack-of-quality justification for barriers is TERRIBLE. It's reactionary. It's fetishistic. We've posted why many times -- as have many other cultural critics. Talent and quality were debunked eons ago. They're certainly valid in SOME ways, but there are other big concerns. ...Rough old Leadbelly never had the "quality" that smooth, pure Pat Boone did, right?

And, as Tom says, what's a novel anymore? What's a book? Zines BLEW ALL THAT UP. Of course, it was blown up before then. But zines did turn THOUSANDS of people, mostly young people, on to new forms of literature, writing, story-telling -- much of it from personal experience, real life. The Bosses say that doesn't count as Fiction, as literature, as a novel. But, man, are they behind the times. They're in a Reactionary Phase. The rules of the novel were blown up decades, eons, ago. Heck, when was Tristram Shandy written? 1700's? In the 1800's about the 1700's? All these supposed rules about what "real writing" is and about what "real books" are that can be let into the System -- are LIES. The bias against self-published books and indie presses...is based on a LIE. There was never any functional reason against admitting such media. And the rules have always been broken on a whim -- or asserted just as lightly.

I'm thinking part of the bias against zines -- and their bookish offshoots -- by the mainstream was that zines represented the rearing-up again of a Cultural Critique, like in the 60's and 80's.

I suppose we'll hear, yet again: "Just set up your own thing and forget the mainstream." And as I've posted, literally, 1000 times: Keep building your indie scene. We're your biggest fans! We IS you! ...Just also feel free to challenge the big-guys if you ever notice something (big) amiss there that relates to YOU...and get yourself heard better if you make your challenge with a dozen other folks. There's no lockstep -- everyone can chime in on a different angle. And get yourself heard EVEN BETTER if you fly the same freak flag: ULA! ...It actually works.

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