Neal Pollack responds to Rick Schleisser’s accusation that he is Dave Eggers’ hatchet man:
McSweeneys published my first book. I feel no reason to apologize for my past involvement with the magazine. Those early years were very fun, and very exciting. But if you care, Mr. Schleisser, and you obviously do, you might notice that I haven’t had a piece published on the McSweeneys website in more than two years. McSweeneys took down the link of my “archives.” That’s because Eggers and I had an aesthetic (not a personal) split. For some reason, I found and still find myself growing angrier, more bitter, and more confrontational. He was interested in starting 826 Valencia and The Believer, which, whatever their intent, simply aren’t my style. So we remained friends and parted company in print.
An excerpt from Schleisser’s letter that inspired the controversy (in case you didn’t follow my link to the Antic Muse’s post about it over at Bookslut yesterday):
Eggers has shown himself to be thinâ€“skinned and meanâ€“spirited, not above intimidating or humiliating reviewers or features writers he has not personally vetted. Then he’ll do an about face and write a piece urging everyone to play nice…. Like someone else who promised to “change the tone,” he’s also got a handy hatchet man, his very own Karl Rove, in Neal Pollack, master of the “I’m only kidding” High School cafeteria style of discourse. Pollack handles the messy work of attacking writers like Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Franzen, James Frey, and so forth, while back at The Believer/McSweeney’s compound, there are rainbows and hummingbirds and everyone repeats, glassyâ€“eyed, “If you can’t say something nice, donâ€™t say anything at all.”