Dear friends on the literary pages of some of America's prime media real estate, @mathitak @dankois @RonCharles @paperhaus @hectortobar @pamelapaul @dwightgarner
Can we talk?
UPDATE! "Dear Dan, We have read your OPEN LETTER HERE and tweeted about it too, but we have stopped our sniggering and snickering since we see now you are sincere in your wish to communicate with us in regard to the emerging genre of cli fi, and our door IS NOW OPEN to you and welcome, Dan Bloom! You made your point blog loud and Twitter clear. We apologize for our mocking the genre and our general disregard for your energetic emails. Sorry. We hope you will accept our collective apology here.'' - The Gang
I have tried for the past few months to reach you by email and Twitter about the rise of a new genre of literature and cinema that's been dubbed "cli fi."
You know about cli fi because you have read about it in the pages of NPR, the Guardian, the FT, the New York Times, the New Yorker and New York magazine, and yet you have steadfastly refused to answer my emails or tweets about the possibility at your paper or website of covering the rise of cli fi, not as a marketing buzzword and not as a self-promotional stunt (as you have accused me of doing in your groups tweets: [@paperhaus "yeah I know know show you are talking about, I've blocked him! Somebody needs to alert the ASU PR dept!''] -- and Carolyn, you are the books editor at the Los Angeles Times and this is how you react to the rise of a new literary and cinema genre? By blocking a fellow journalist and refusing to answer even one of his emails?
At least Hector Tobar was a nice enough to reply by email and say he might do something on cli fi when he thinks there is a story there but not until then. Thanks Hector for your good replies.
You all know each other and you all tweet back and forth to each other, it's there for all to see. @paperhaus, @dankois, @pamelapaul, @dwightgarner, @hectortobar, @roncharles, @athitakis, etc.
And that's cool. I am glad that you are at least aware of the cli fi genre but what i don't understand is why you refuse to engage me in conversation and at least find out what i am trying to do with this PR work I am doing on behalf of the cli fi genre.
Why not at least talk to me, ask me what this is all about, email me, answer my tweets rather than block me. It's not very professional or responsible as leading literary critics and media observers at major publications to thumb your collective nose as the rise of a new literary genre -- which you SHOULD be covering rather than snickering away to each other on Twitter. "oh, he's just a self-promoter, ignore him" says one of you -- "i blocked him hehe" says another one of you.'' "someone should alert the ASU PR dept about this guy." "I'm getting PTSD already from this cli fi crap" says another one of you.
You are acting like children. And unprofessionally as book and literary editors and reviewers at your respective publications.
If this was someone trying to contact you by email or tweets about some new genre called steampunk or chick lit or even SCI FI long ago when sci fi first appeared on the literary scence, would you also have ignored the emails and tweets of maybe Isaac Asimov or Harlen Corben or Kim Stanley Robinson?
You accuse me of being a self-promoter in your group tweets and yet what am I self-promoting. I know you hate PR people and I know you get 500 PR emails every day, so it makes sense that you think I am part of that industry. I AM NOT. WAKE UP, MATES! I am doing this for the future of this planet.
UPDATE: MARK A. SUBTWEETS LATER AFTER READING THIS AND SENDS TWEET TO HIS SNICKERING SNIGGERING PALS WHO ARE THE NATION'S TOP BOOK SECTIONS EDITORS: "Oh i will stop subtweeting on cli fi, for the future of this planet!"
Don't you get it? It's not about ME. I am not promoting myself. How jaded and cynical can you all be? Well, now i know. I see your tweets and your refusal to answer my emails. That's okay, I understand. Fear is everywhere these days. In your haste to run away from the rise of cli fi, which has already been reported in the pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times, papers where some of you work, and also in the pages of many papers around the world, you refuse to even engage me in a conversation by email or answer my tweets for info.
Unlike your other colleages, such as Richard Perez-Pena at the Times and Rodge Glass at the Guardian and Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow at Dissent and Amanda Ericson and Adam Kushner at the Washington Post, or Alison Flood at the Guaridan or Pilita Clark at the FT in London, you guys sneak around on Twitter and snicker "oh that guy again! ignore him. I've blocked him and alerted my editors as well" -- what gives?
You are adults, you are mature adults who love literature and yet you treat a fellow reporter who also loves literature and is not doing this to promote himself AT ALL -- I am not a cli fi novelist, I am not writing a Hollywood cli fi script, I am not writing a nonfiction book about the rise of cli fi [somebody will but not me, I am not a writer at all, just a former newspaper editor and freelance reporter now and with cli fi working as a climate activist and a literary theorist, NOT for myself, i get nothing from this, I am working on my own time, I am not pulling down the kind of salaries you guys are pulling down -- that's for sure! -- and I am not doing this cli fi work for money or fame. You don't get it.
You don't get it because you never bothered to take time to answer my emails. Or my tweets. I have from the very beginning always treated you (and tweeted you) with complete utmost respect for your jobs as editors and book reviewers. And yet in return, you resort to ignoring my emails, not replying to me tweets and snacking in your group tweets about my cli fi work. What gives?
Oh, and did i mention that Jim Milliot the chief books editor at PW, Publishers Weekly, refused also to answer my email queries to him last year just telling him about the NPR story as a possible link for the PW Daily newsletter, and after ignoring my first 5 emails, sent again and again to see if he was even reading them since he chose not to reply, he finally did reply, bless him, took some time out of his busy day in his cluttered cubicle in Manhattan and his two word email rely , finally, was [no salutation, no signature] just a rude "not interested!" Can you imagine the top editor for the most influential book industry trade magazine in the world and he is "NOT INTERESTED" in the NPR link for his daily newsletter? But thanks God, the UK Bookseller did reply to me emails and they did print the link of the NOR story in the British media. Seems American book people are way behind the curve. Why is that? I have no idea? And Jim still doesn't answer my emails. New Yorkers are overworked I think. Ask Rodge Glass, ask Alison Flood, ask Pilita Clark.
So look, with the WAPO having done an oped the other week under my byline and with the New York Times soon to do an oped by me in the Times, why can't we try to be friends and communicate at least? I've been trying to communicate with all of you here, and no one has given me the time of day.
Well, no, Hector did reply in a very nice way and say not now but maybe later.
Pamela Paul did reply to my first email to her and she said, paraphrasing, and admit it Pamela, you did write this: "Hi Dan, The NYT book section will never never ever print the word cli fi in our pages as long as I am editor, not in a book review, not in a headline and not in a Bookends essay by someone, and never by you. Sorry, Dan".
NOTE TO THE FUTURE: the top books editor at the NYT really said that? Hard to believe but that's the truth, and of course, I was paraphrasing; Pamela can tell you future historians what she really wrote to me. I have her email in my file. Ouch. And like Pamela, a fellow Brown alum like the great Andy Revkin. And she can also explain to you why she never once answered my tweets, not even once to say "not interested.'
And I like Pamela, she is a great editor, one of the best the NYT books section has ever had!
Thankfully, I don't take any of this personally as the rise of CLI FI as a new literary genre is not about me. I am nobody here. This is about a new genre. It's not about any person. I am not doing this promote an academic career or to try to get a job promotion and therefore a higher salary or PR my new novel or anything like that. Richard Perez-Pena took the time to talk to me, Pamela. You didn't.
So did John Broder in Washington and then Paris and John Schwartz in New York. I have friends at the Times, But obviously not in the books section. Garner blocks me on twitter, too. What kind of journalist does that? He goes on and on about Tao Lin but cannot even engage me in a chat about CLI FI? Ouch.
And.....the BOOKS SECTION editor runs away and pretends that cli fi does not exist, and no way is she going to give that new genre any ink. Not in HER pages.
So, look, friends, here is what i want to say to you as colleagues in the news and commentary field. Why don't you read my friendly OPEN LETTER here and then reply to me with a response to my open letter here either in the comments section below OR write a LETTER back to me by email and post it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will publisher your letter, without any editing, on this very page, below this very OPEN LETTER.=
isn't that a good start? can't we try to be friends and put egos aside and start communicating. I don't have an ego here, I dropped my ego long ago. This is about climate change and global warming and using a new genre to help wake up the world, especially the climate deniliastst and climate skeptics. Which side of all this are you on? Snickering away on twitter does not help move the conversation forward.
Which reminds me, mates, you might want take some time to read David Holme's very good piece on CLI FI that appeared in THE CONVERSATION, an academic journal in Australia that was read and seen by academics the world over. Read it at theconverssation.comau or google his name to find it. it's a good read and you will see there that I am not doing this for self=promotion and that in fact Ed Finn at ASU supports what i am doing with CLI FI , as goes Margaret Atwood. She doesn't snigger and snicker on twitter like you guys do when it comes to cli fi. Ms Atwood is trying to build better world and she knows that CLI FI has a place in it too. Ask her, if you don't want to deal with this self-promoter.
So write your letter back to me and I will print it here. I am on your side for God's sake. I love literature. i am a lifelong reader. I am trying to repair the world, ''tikkun olam'', Look it up.
n.Slate senior editor Dan Kois and film critic
Promotion, including advertising and publicity, of oneself effected by oneself:
1. the act or practice of promoting one's own interests, profile, etc