Pure crap. And yet, how can an honest writer hope to compete with emotional porn from a helpless rose petal, no matter how badly done?

Ah, but I forgot: this is Chicago. There are echelons where bullshit does abound, but bottom-feeders in the arts here still reward each other’s craft: the crowd thunderously elected Walker.

I should go easy on such a youngling as Steve’s crushed foe. But I doubt she”€™ll ever improve”€”not unless someone gets the nerve to say to her: “€œLook, kid, life for everybody stinks. If you don”€™t care to do the work to make your story resonate with people who aren”€™t you, go home and take your Zoloft and quit drowning the market in nonsense.”€

Overlord Belknap’s bout was suicide-themed: “€œguns and butter.”€ His adversary drew “€œguns,”€ and delivered a dismally predictable satire on gun-rack Amurricans. Even the people who hooted for her at first out of political solidarity were standing there cringing and sucking at the last of their beers by the end. Belknap’s blackly jolly guide to death by gluttony creamed her, if you”€™ll pardon the pun; perhaps dated stabs at Sarah Palin would play better amongst West Coasters who have better things to do with their time than think.

So the evening was a treat, with an unexpected shot of moral uplift. Write Club won”€™t solve the problem of getting live exposure for all sorts of writers, as it plays to the strengths of theater types, who already have a live outlet, leaving novelists out in the cold once more. But here in Chicago, it’s that most freakish of pleasures: a meritocractic democracy.



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