Did You Get That Thing I Sent You?

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MuuMuu House Embezzlement Scandal

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Brandon Scott Gorrell had a short story contest on his website (I linked to it a few posts ago).  Entrants had to pay $7, and the winner would receive half of all the entry fees, a final amount of $254.80, as well as a lifetime subscription to MuuMuu House books, and a bunch of other crap.

Long story short, head publisher at MuuMuu House and literary cult leader Tao Lin won the contest.

God I want to stop writing about this guy.

Gorrell posted the winning story on his blog.  The third comment on the post is Lin saying “Damn, Sweet story.” By the fifteenth comment, it is revealed that Lin wrote the story and then used one of his interns (possibly girlfriend?) to send it in.  Shit to fan.  “Sarah Schneider,” who submitted the story for Lin, told the whistleblower to “stop making up lies.”  Gorrell insists that the story was sent by Schneider, he didn’t know it was penned by Lin (though through employing some Critical Reading I learned in High School, I was able to find evidence that the story was written by Lin in the first word and then also in every single word that followed), and that even still he didn’t violate any of the rules he had established for his contest.  Then Lin admitted to sending it to Schneider, then later admitted to specifically using Schneider to enter the contest.  This all happens in that comments section, btw.

I won’t bother detailing the internet fray that followed.  The word “shitstorm” has been used a lot.  Though he never says it directly, Lin eventually acknowledges that all the prizes are going directly to him.  He will refund anyone “who asks.”

While Lin comes off as conniving and manipulative here, and his girlfriend Schneider seems spineless, its Gorrell who looks the worst from all this.  Let’s first believe his highly questionable claim that he didn’t know he was awarding a Lin story.  OK, he should have specifically stated that no interested parties can participate.  That’s how contests are typically structured.  Lin and Gorrell AND Schneider, as intern, make up the publishing company MuuMuu house, and this contest was partially billed as a way to get the attention of publishers.  But OK he didn’t say interested parties couldn’t participate, so he’s just not too bright.  No rules broken.

But what does it say about this guy, whose style draws heavily from Lin (you know, like how Dark Star Orchestra draw heavily from The Grateful Dead), who also works directly under Lin, and whose blog even looks like a rescripted facsimile of Lin’s , when he is finally given the opportunity to be in charge of something, something personal that could distinguish him from Lin, he just goes ahead and cedes the spotlight to his master, yet again.  Gorrell is a minion.  It’s a shame, because it was really a great idea for a contest.

Anyway, the larger picture has to do with the entire “internet writer” thing.  All the inappropriate quotations, the lack of punctuation, excessive use of phrases like “I feel,” “it seems like,” and “whatever,” the prevailing tone of slightly shocked existential awkwardness…it is all so tired by now.  But Lin, Gorrell, Ellen Kennedy, Schneider, and basically everyone who posts anything positive on any of these blogs, are all more than happy to maintain the hivemind.  Movements more famous and far more interesting have eventually crumbled due to stagnant like-mindedness.  Lin is still a genius of self-promotion (and this may be his greatest stunt yet), but it seems like MuuMuu House And Friends have forgotten there’s supposed to be literature being made.

PLUG: there is a new story of mine at The Whiskey Dregs.  It’s called Simon and it’s a very short story about becoming other people.  I wish I had given it another name.


Written by Peter Kelly

May 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm

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