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.