On Sept. 29, Hobart Pulp, a niche literary magazine, published an interview with me. In it, I took the literary world to task for its identitarian obsessions and performative tokenism. Initially, I received little pushback. Writers in my sphere of Twitter complimented my “heterodox” stances, but the interview received fewer than 100 “likes,” and no more than a dozen retweets—not surprising, given it was more than 10,000 words long and published in a small lit mag frequented by low-level writer types. Still, I considered the interview a success, because it gave me the opportunity to have my say about a culture I was eager to leave behind. I had gotten the bile out of my system and was finally ready to move on with my life as a critic and pundit.
In my mind, I was now officially no longer a member of the literary world—to my relief.
Then, on Oct. 11, I was scrolling on Twitter and noticed I picked up five new followers in quick succession. I hadn’t tweeted in a few hours or published a piece recently, so I thought this was strange. Then five more. Ten. News of the interview, I soon realized, had finally reached the same crew of artless losers I had trashed for 20 pages. I Twitter-searched the interview, and the first hit was from a woman who had found it “very upsetting to read” and “really hurtful on a lot of levels.” And we were off.