Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Josh Baines, some writer on the internet, hates on other writers also on the internet

                Josh Baines is a hater’s hater. Haters look up to Josh Baines and his flaccid response to what he sees going across the internet. Reading Josh Baines’s response to the online scourge of Alt lit would lead one to think that Alt lit is popular. Alt lit is currently in an embryonic stage. Many of the Alt lit writers that Josh gleefully dumps upon have been writing for a long time before the term ‘Alt lit’ was even coined. Look carefully and any reader can see that Josh Baines is a rare breed of hater. Josh Baines might be the first person to be paid actual money for the sole purpose of trolling a literary community. Though this should not diminish Josh’s first novel entitled 'Joshin with Josh' set in mid-19th century England which deals with colonialism. In fact the cover of that book is the photo shown above. 

                Secretly Josh Baines loves Alt lit too. This is tragic. Many refer to this form of flirtation as ‘the nine year old boy syndrome’. By hating on the thing Josh loves he tries to woo it over. Hence Josh’s article is like putting a thumbtack on that special someone’s seat. Yes it’ll hurt but secretly Josh will admire them from afar. Using the whole ‘Look at all these people that suck. Hold on let me link you to their Tumblrs’ approach appears to work wonders. Perhaps if Josh trolls a community hard enough he figures he might be able to find the one thing that eludes him in life, a friend. 

Or at the very least he attracts hits to Vice Magazine. Either way it is a win-win. Alt lit gets a ton of attention thanks to the painstaking effort that Josh takes in linking everything he deems to ‘suck’. Yes while Josh hates Alt lit he wants to make sure he has everything easily linkable. Links are the new footnotes anyway so why not include them. Obviously Josh is playing the whole ‘I hate your back, you hate mine’ kind of deal. Yes the whole negative publicity scam. It is too easy. In fact if ‘Alt lit’ ever became a trending topic on twitter then Josh might be in luck. If Alt lit trends on twitter Josh Baines can finally score that lucrative editor position he’s craved at the most Alt lit magazine, Vice Magazine. For all of Alt lit knows that Vice Magazine is welfare for Alt lit. Josh’s article proves that Vice Magazine cherishes Alt lit. 

Bad cop requires some good cop however. Josh discusses writers he likes. Using this method he hopes the reader will stay ‘with him’. Mentioning David Foster Wallace and Tao Lin he says good writers do exist. It also shows Josh has read a book at least in the last decade. Bringing up those two Josh hopes builds some cred with the reader, which he later shatters. During this ‘good cop’ section he fails to mention Alt lit writers that do write for Vice Magazine such as Marie Calloway (who has a book coming out) and Megan Boyle (who has a book out and a Vice column). It is odd that Josh hates on Alt lit despite the close relationship Vice Magazine has with the Alt lit community. That’s before he begins drinking some good old haterade. What is weird is not his criticism of the grammatical ticks but how he manages to insult the reader. He states that Alt lit lives are not worth writing about because they are the lives the reader already lives.

Writing about an ordinary life is worth writing about. Most people live ordinary lives. Alt lit does too. Josh has a problem with the levels of intimacy that come with a lot of Alt lit. Willis Plummer’s work bothers him because it relates. That’s why it works. By saying that ‘these are just normal people living their lives’ and dismissing it Josh misses the point of Alt lit. Normal people living their lives and writing about it is a good thing. While it may not all be the same quality it is growing and maturing. To simply decide that blindly supporting people distributing work for free is a bad thing that’s cruel. Most members of Alt lit jobs have lives outside of Alt lit. In Alt lit there are plenty of writers creating a quality product free of charge! That’s something to be celebrated not hated. 

Josh Baines of course may be behind perhaps the greatest troll ever trolled. By increasing Alt lit Facebook chatter, inspiring a really weird Facebook fan page, and having angry parentsTweet at him telling him he sucks, Josh Baines may win Alt lit’s heart yet. Follow him on Twitter!


  1. This Josh Baines backlash is childish beyond belief. Not that I agree with him, but the community's response only seems to support his position.

    1. This community's response only seems to be way more entertaining and rhetorically labyrinthine than his one-trick-pony position

  2. So much irony and snarky, self-satisfied bullshit here that I think I'm going to throw up. You 'Alt-Lit' people are trying way too hard to personify Dennis Cooper style man-children. Instead of lazily indulging your poor writing skills and expecting people to find it entertaining why not try improving yourselves and being honest instead. This crap is the human centipede of literature and the readers are on the recieving end. Grow up.

    1. Beach Sloth? Sounds like just ANOTHER LOSER alt lit kid who wishes he could get paid to write for vice.

      GROW UP, BRO.


      seriously, you make me fucking SICK.

  3. Alt-lit is not all snarky, casparghost. I am the least snarky person in the world--quite sincere actually--and if you read more into many of the lives of those writing on the internet you may discover the same thing----I have been writing way before Alt-Lit came along, but I happen to enjoy this community and the work we do, and so do my students who can't wait for me to suggest another internet writer for them to look up! Our world needs more self-publication, less economic monopoly on literature--on words! It's about time this sort of sharing started to happen more visibly------but don't worry, in about 2 years, the economic monopoly will catch on, make a few alt-lit stars famous, another revolution will begin, and you will have something else to hate on in no time!

    PS Don't forget that Walt Whitman was considered a complete idiot when he began writing free-verse poetry, and that Allen Ginsberg was condemned---the list goes on and on--of course there is room for improvement--everyone knows that--but to hate something without any real grasp or understanding of history seems bleak.