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Drew Burk — I get in arguments sometimes (Sorry, Jules. Sorry HG)


In the course of rejecting submissions, I get to points where I'm arguing that it's not the form that's the problem. Despite the fact that I generally dislike the form in question, I dislike it less when done properly... but I wouldn't feel the loss were I to never see it again. And the reply I most often get is that the form in question's time-honored and valid and wondrous and was used to great effect by so and so, and then I, sometimes (times when I'm still saying things, where I feel like for some reason it's really really important that I get this point across, so I say it and I say it and I) say No, I get that—it's a preference on my part, I know, I'm so fully aware of that and that's not what this is about anyway (that I'm arguing at all, ever, mystifies me—what's the point of it? By this point I've usually looked up the person and yeah, it's happened enough that it's meaningful for me to say usually, and I've often gathered that they're undergrads or early-grads and so this is to be expected and I'm not gonna win anyway. Post-grads and non-students don't argue, in my experience, they converse, and it's nice. But there's these times where I feel it's important, if nothing else, to stand my ground and if nothing else, put some little seed in there that maybe hopefully makes them pause a little and question themselves, if only privately, if only silently, and maybe they'll revisit this bad thing they've done, maybe revise, maybe honestly acknowledge that they half-assed it, or maybe find a legitimate justification for doing the shit they did—I'm all about the legitimate justification... might not make me like a thing any better, but I'll feel less bad about the whole thing and maybe even give a Right On [though never a high-five]).

Forget that I dislike the form, I say, what I'm saying is despite the fact that I dislike it, you done went and fucked it up. You did it wrong. That's what I'm saying. I'm saying you did it wrong. But folk feel that since I'm no fan of it I'm just gonna hate anything where it's attempted. And then I'm thinking that my bias and preference is gonna make me more sensitive to its success or failure.

So, folk that I argued with about it, despite the fact that you're not reading this, I'm saying that I. Fontana, in this week's piece, he did that thing I hate so much (or at least dislike so strongly), and he did it well, in a calm and translucent kind of way, as though he was just writing it, like that's how a thing should be written... rather than what y'all seem to do, with your hyperawareness of intent and shit understanding of form... like all you gotta do on the rez is pop a few feathers in your trucker cap (your post-post-post ironic trucker cap, yeah you fucking win already) and give a palm-up "How" to everyone you meet and you'll fit in just fine.

Stuffy dead white folk, they got feelings too, you know? Show some fucking respect.