Friday, May 11, 2012

Tom Barbash

On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 7:06 PM, Tom Barbash wrote:

Steven Warren,

I had no idea who you were until I came across your blogspot article on my book "On Top of the World," which it seems you did not like.

In it you call the book hagiography, which I would take odds with, especially since the book included countless unflattering details about Howard Lutnick, along with a detailing of some of the extraordinary measures he took to save the company. There were by design no preconditions for my writing the book, and much of it made those written about uncomfortable. Other parts made them proud. Go figure. No one has disputed any of the facts in the book, and as for it being thin, or poorly edited the book was edited by Harper Collins executive editor David Hirshey and his assistant Jeff Kellogg, who were extraordinary. Read a few of the customer responses on Amazon to get a measure of how most people perceived the book. The Times liked it just fine too and named it a noteworthy paperback.

The Atlanta Constitution, Newsday, the Miami Herald, the SF Chronicle, and the leading newspaper in South Africa - which named it a top ten book of the year - liked it fine.

As for my literary credentials which you call thin, my novel was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, an Anniston Star Best Book of the year, a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Prize and for the Sarroyan International Prize, winner of the California Book Award, (a big deal out here) and the James Michener Award. Right after it was published I received a literary fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo Colony and MacDowell. I became a regular book reviewer for the New York Times. My story Ballon Night was just - two months ago - performed by the actor Tom Cavanagh at Symphony Space in New York for NPR's Selected Shorts Series. Other short fiction has been published in One Story, McSweeney's, Tin House (and The Best of Tin House), Virginia Quarterly Review, Narrative, The Best American Non-Required reading Anthology, the Distinguished Stories list for Best American Stories, ESPN the magazine's Fiction Issue, Story Magazine, StoryQuarterly, and the list goes on, virtually every journal that matters.

My non-fiction has run in McSweeney's, Business Week, the San Francisco Chronicle, Book Forum, Men's Journal. I was named a Library Laureate for the city of San Francisco. I am a regular literary host for the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.

You say I'd done little by the time I was 40 other than publish two well received books (did you only read one review. Every important pre-pub review - Kirkus, Library Journal PW, Booksense - which named me a pick for the year - loved the novel. If you'd done your research you'd see I was a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a Stegner Fellow at Stanford. How do you think one gets into those places??? Through their writing. After Iowa I won the Nelson Algren Award - another big deal - for the best Short Story in what is likely the most prestigious national short story contest - awarded by Joy Williams, Charles Johnson and Stuart Dybek.

I think my credentials were fine. What are yours?

I'm not a particularly defensive person, but your lazy hit job really got under my skin.

Who are you anyway? I've got no reason to even know you, but I kind of loathe you, and for me that's pretty rare.

You owe me a written apology.

Do your homework.

Tom Barbash


 Mr. Barbash---

Well, you have no reason to know me. The best job I ever had was as a head waiter at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, NY, which the Wine Spectator once named as having one of the ten best wine cellars in the United States. Is that a credential? Have you ever dined there? Did I ever serve you?

With some creative record keeping on the part of the administrators I DID graduate from a public high school in Tennessee, but that was it for formal education----so, no hits there.

I've written numerous blogs about Howard Lutnick and Cantor Fitzgerald, each of which adds to a case where I find the individual and the entity to be utterly corrupted, part of a much larger system of corruption, which since it includes banks, corporations, the government, etc., probably includes all of the literary feathers in your cap.

For some reason unknown to me, but clearly outside the previously established channels of personal power, Google favors my web postings, with many topic and key-word searches returning my work at number one, or at least somewhere in the top ten. I'll have to check to see if that still holds true for the Lutnick saga.

You know, I'm not delighted that you "kind of loath" me, but I'm delighted you played your cards with that remark. If I felt an emotion toward you it would be a kind of pity. I write on the blogosphere, where the rules are different than the sycophantic system you arose in. When I kiss ass it is for pure erotic pleasure and not for career advancement.

Your only option here was to ignore me, but now you've gone and ruined that as a defense.

I'll publish your email and my response on my blog, where they will have to serve as the "written apology" you asked for.

Sincerely, Steven Welch

aka StevenWarRan

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading this, I will witness history as it is being played out here.
    I gots to know.