RARA-AVIS: Philip K Dick, the NY Times, and pulp

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 06 May 2007

The NY Times carried an article Sunday on Philip K Dick; something must be done to show that the Good Grey Lady is hep to his Library of America collection. The article was headed "The Prince of Pulp" ("pulpish sensibility," "Thrilling Wonder Stories," "lurid cover"). It contains some nice insights into his work ("to a considerable extent Mr. Dick's future is a lot like our present"), but it uses "pulp" as if this kind of writing is suitable for Hollywood pot boilers. The Times implies that pulp is totally unattached to any kind of literary merit, as if whatever benefits there are to Dick's writing, they exist *in spite of* the fact that he wrote for popular genre magazines and Ace Doubles that were sold on newsstands. It's a kind of bourgeois snobbery that characterizes every literary and film evaluation of the paper, and IMO a sign of its attitude about popular culture. It's not cluelessness; it's hostility, based on its belief that the proper reader must base his/her values in entertainment on a "decent" class system. "Nobody would ever dream of looking to [Emerson] for movie ideas. Emerson was all brain, no pulp."

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 May 2007 EDT