Elitist White People Trying To Make Themselves Feel Better


(Which includes me.)

“The workshop’s most famous mantras – ‘Murder your darlings,’ ‘Omit needless words,’ ‘Show, don’t tell’ – also betray a view of writing as self-indulgence, an excess to be painfully curbed in AA-type group sessions.

Shame also explains the fetish of ‘craft’: an ostensibly legitimising technique, designed to recast writing as a workmanlike, perhaps even working-class skill, as opposed to something every no-good dilettante already knows how to do.

Shame explains the cult of persecutedness, a strategy designed to legitimise literary production as social advocacy, and make White People feel better. . .”

Elif Batuman on the ethics of writing programs, white privilege and other irresistible elephants-in-room up at London Review Of Books.

It’s long but worth it. I suddenly feel conflicted about so many more things. It’s like I already had white class guilt before but now it’s reached guilt level orange.

Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →