The Source of My Discontent

This post was going to be about William Wantling and The Source, but my mind wandered as I was reading through that chapbook, and I started obsessing about The Source’s publisher, Len Fulton of Dustbooks.  I am sure Len was a wonderful guy, all the obituaries say so; he was truly dedicated to the small press, and he devoted his life to furthering it.  Good for him, but in my opinion, not good for the Mimeo Revolution.  It is a cliché that the revolution will not be televised, or maybe it has become a cliché that it will, but there is a lesser known maxim that the revolution will not be bureaucratized.  Unfortunately, Fulton did just that, and, in my mind, he is a major reason for the Revolution’s decline.  Hugh Fox and Fulton started the Committee of Small Magazine Editors and Publishers (COSMEP) in 1968.  In addition, Fulton through Dustbooks became the major supplier of directories related to the small press, such as the International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Press.  Another boondoggle of bureaucratic bullshit.  This should not be surprising as Fulton was a bureaucrat in real life, acting as the Fifth District Supervisor in Chico, California.  Fulton was obsessed with low level politics, and he introduced inane bickering and time wasting committees to the Mimeo Revolution.  Fulton, quite simply, is a menace.  He turned a literary community based on communicating through the mail into a bureaucracy arguing at conventions.  According to Clay and Phillips, Ronald Reagan is the major villain in the decline of the Mimeo Revolution; I nominate Len Fulton.  He got mimeo publishers hooked on competing for government money in the first place. 

To be honest, I do not consider Fulton, Hugh Fox, Curt Johnson of December, or Carol Berge members of the Mimeo Revolution at all.  In fact almost everybody in the recent anthology on the little magazine, Paper Dreams.  They are “Small Magazine Editors and Publishers,” which means they are a minor leagues to the major publishers.  They are sleeping with the enemy.  The Mimeo Revolution was a league of its own, and mimeographers did not attempt to play by the same rules.  They were playing with and amongst themselves.  The Mimeo Revolution is play; the small press of Fulton is politics.  Fulton fucked up the scene by trying to make a neighborhood pick-up game an organized sport.  He deserved to be in the Mimeo Hall of Shame.


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