The Unknown: The Red Line.
  MICHAEL: Granted, Scott, and its juxtaposition of the techniques of the PR genre with that of modernist referentiality and the encyclopedic approach of the great systems novelists and the metafictional techniques of a Barth or a Pynchon . . . The ontological uncertainty, the shifts in voices and points of view . . . I hope I’m not bringing the coals to Newcastle when I say that in terms of theory, from a cultural studies standpoint, the inclusion, of course, of the varied materialia of hetereoglossic pop culture, all simply amazing. The anthology is decent, but the hypertext kicks ass.

CARY: Bahktinian subterfuge indeed. Ho, ho, ho, ho. And starting your own press, subverting the whole system. Eliminating an entire industry. Fat cat capitalists beware The Unknown. Ho, ho, ho, ho. Wench, lovely, please, another round of flagons!

DIRK: Yes, we have indeed built a following!

SCOTT: Dirk, you better not start recruiting again. That cult shit—

DIRK: I’m not. I assure you. Just in terms of our theoretical significance I’m commenting—

MICHAEL: Yes and the way that you have all over the short course of this summer become yourselves media icons in such a way as to bring about a consequent critical paradigm shift, reinvigorating the previously drained theoretical territory of narratology. It’s like a Real World for critical theorists. You’re giving people things to talk about. We’re grateful.

SCOTT: No problem, Michael.

CARY: I’m reminded of William Blake.

WILLIAM: And what, exactly, is that supposed to mean?


Tyger, tyger, burning bright.
In the Forests of the Night—

WILLIAM: This Bill Blake guy don’t know jack-shit about poetry.

SCOTT: So listen, Michael, Cary. You can count on us to answer your calls, do interviews, etc., etc. We’ll give you access to our papers that no one else can see, all the foundational texts. We’ll even give you direct access to our publicist, Marla, to arrange joint events—critics and their writers type of things. Because, and this is important, we think you can handle it.

DIRK: It’s not easy for us, as critics, to give control of our criticism over to anyone, particularly other critics, but we admire your work.

WILLIAM: But they don’t get to do no biographies.

SCOTT: That’s true. We’re way too young to have our biographies written.

DIRK: No Hand to Mouth syndrome here. No memoirs for this lot—

WILLIAM: Except for our travel memoirs.

SCOTT: Which we will get you uncorrected page proofs of. You’ll have it before anybody else gets their prying eyes on it.

MICHAEL: That would be the shit, Scott.

CARY: Now there’s the small matter of the check.

WILLIAM: The bill you mean? Don’t look at me—I’m an adjunct. Ha ha.

[Nervous silence.]

MICHAEL: Thanks, Cary, we appreciate.

CARY: Jubilant jubilee, boys, jubilant. Pleasure mine, I assure you. Looking forward to reading more Unknown. (Great Booming Laugh.) I love that. That gives me the shits and giggles. Yes. Yes. The Unknown, The Unknown, The Unknown. . . .



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