Bread Company is a vaguely hoity-toity type establishment where we had
fondue and beer with Michael Bérubé and
Cary Nelson. Theyve got a real nice selection of breads, beers,
fruits and cheeses. William had some kind of black beer (I think thats
what it was called, too, Black Beer) while Dirk, I and Bérubé each
had fine foaming mugs of Alpha King Ale (big pint glasseschilled).
We werent just having beer with Nelson and Bérubé
because they were left wing intellectuals who generally sympathized with
our goals in terms of restructuring American
society. We wanted to talk to them, and they wanted to talk to us,
they were literary critics and every movement needs a couple of decent
critics to describe how important literature is to society
as a whole and to assure that the work of its writers will be taught
well after the writers themselves are dead. Things hadnt turned
out so well with McCaffery in San Diego,
but we thought Bérubé appealed to a wider audience anyhow.
If McCaffery felt slighted, they could always take turns.
Nelson is a jovial, Falstaffian man, full of fire
and revolution. Bérubé is hyperkinetic, a whirling dervish
of a man who fed the jukebox full of Motown and was able to deconstruct
the entire ironic structure of our gathering within that particular restaurant
in that particular moment in the history of American society
within two minutes flat, so we wouldnt have to dwell on it when
the conversation turned to the topic of serious literary criticism of The
Unknown: An Anthology.
And serious literary criticism of The Unknown: The Criticism. And,
of course, the hypertext. Which everybody really wanted to talk and
about which is fine but hey, Michael, I said, hey, lets not forget
hypertext was basically a publicity stunt for
the anthology itself.