Is Marie Calloway the future or the end of Alt Lit scene?

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Answered by: Jason, An Expert in the Contemporary Literature - General Category
Marie Calloway exploded onto the alt lit scene (some call it "internet literature") with the publication of "Adrien Brody" on Tao Lin's Muumuu House literary website. The early-20s writer followed that expose of an older, more famous lit star with yet another expose ("Jeremy Lin") of what most people believed was her mentor, the very same Tao Lin who published her in the first place. Recently, she published a series of Google docs shorts which gathered a lot of attention from Alt Lit pioneer Blake Butler at HTMLGiant, another alt lit website. These Google docs pieces further complicated Marie Calloway's already contentious relationship with the Alt Lit scene which spawned her. In these Google docs pieces, Marie Calloway gathers screenshots of facebook and gchat conversations with various alt lit writers and then sometimes places other texts over nude pics of herself, one example being a quote from a disgruntled reviewer being placed over a pic of what appears to be Marie Calloway masturbating. This all seems to be the height of what Alt Lit is about. Brutal honesty, the breaking of the 4th wall, juxtaposition of various social media sites and email contacts. Yet commenters on HTMLGiant, the alt lit scene's main source of news and content, continue to denigrate Marie Calloway's use of the alt lit scene's main aesthetic gestures. In her earlier works, the main complaint was that Marie Calloway, or at least the character the author portrayed herself to be, came off as vapid and stupid. She didn't seem to understand the point of her own work, or the resistance to it from other alt lit scene members. What these Google docs pieces showcase however is a heightened understanding on Marie Calloway's part of what emotions and reactions her work incites in her readers. In short, these Google docs pieces seem to be the zenith of the Alt lit scene aesthetic. Only there is one problem. The Alt lit scene doesn't seem to get it, and continues to deride Marie Calloway. Some commenters worry the author might need psychological help. Marie Calloway's gender continues to prove her biggest fault. Several commenters on HTMLGiant asked whether it would be more interesting to see Marie Calloway's works from a male perspective. What literary critic asks this question if not already assuming the (female) author has no right to discuss or bring to readers' attention issues of female emotionality and women's place in the alt lit scene? It seems that in Marie Calloway the alt lit scene has found its artistic crescendo, for nothing could exemplify the alt lit scene as much as Marie Calloway's Google docs pieces. Yet given this example the alt lit scene seems to have instead bludgeoned the author (figuratively) to a type of literary death. Nothing Marie Calloway produces in the future will be accepted within this community because the alt lit scene has already placed her in an inescapable of prison of prejudice and misogyny. There was a time when the alt lit scene could have raised Marie Calloway in the air as their leader, but that time is gone so in one instant she existed both as the future and the end of the Alt Lit scene.



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