Southerners, etc.—are decidedly notnmainstream: because the stream is fednfrom the polluted spring in New YorknCity. The reigning publishing housesnand journals in that city decide who’snwho: who should be read, who isn’tnheard about. For example, Gore Vidaln(published by Random House) inevitablynappears blazoned on the cover of thenNew York Review of Books when henwrites for it. Kurt Vonnegut is prominentnin The Nation. I suspect that few havenheard of Federman, Sukenick, or Abish.nIn a full-page ad recently sponsored bynthe Magazine Publishers Association,nInc. (575 Lexington Ave., New York,nNY), what it terms “great writers of ourntime” are listed. It opens correctlynenough with Fitzgerald and Hemingway;nit moves to some good, not great,nwriters such as Dorothy Parker and JamesnThurber. The final seven names in its listnof 24 are: Norman Mailer, John Updike,nTom Wolfe, Philip Roth, John Irving,nSaul Bellow, E, L. Doctorow. Perspicaciousnor perverse? Of those seven who butnBellow will be remembered in the samenleague as Fitzgerald or Hemingway?nThose who have written pieces for ThenRockford Papers series “The MonumentalnLiterature of Dwarfs” fly directlyninto the face of those touting Vidal, Vonnegut,nMailer, Doctorow, and others ofntheir breed as “great writers of our time.”nWould the writers of that series find annoutlet in which to voice such hereticalnstatements in a mainstream journal?nJ. criticism often heard of Chroniclesnof Culture is that it is too “negative” in itsnapproach to the leading fiction writers.nHowever, when these writers, the darlingsnof the Liberal Culture, dominatenthe scene and thereby obscure the view ofnwriters of talent like Kenneth Gangemi,nEarl M. Ranch, those previously mentioned,nand others, then it’s clear thatnthe mission of Chronicles of Culturenmust be to attempt to open the field innhopes that these others will rise. Perhapsnthe surfictioneers and the other modernnwriters are not in our philosophicalncamp. But it’s obvious that if they are innI S ^ H ^ H M ^ H HnChronicles of Cttlturenthe other camp, they only have the statusnof pets that are trotted out on occasion.nIn the meantime, the New York mafianbreeds litde Sontags and Barthelmes tontake up the mantle when the originalsnbecome too hoary, and things go on,nbusiness as usual, the parasitic situationnin which family writers are made byn”family” critics, ad nauseam. If stridentnrevisionism is necessary to put an end tonthis, then Chronicles of Culture must ben—and is—in the avant-garde. While Mr.nKostelanetz and Chronicles are probablynleagues apart on many issues, both sharenan acute concern with writing, its past,npresent, and fiiture. •nThe Distortion & Simplification FiestanJonathan Schell: The Fate of the Earth;nAlfred A. Knopf; New York.nby Alan J. LevinenJVeading Jonathan Schell’s Tate ofnthe Earth is a dismal experience, but itnreminds one of an old joke. A motoristnstops to ask an elderly farmer for directionsnto his destination. The farmer replies,n”Mister, there ain’t no way to getnthere from here.” We did not need Mr.nSchell to tell us that we are in a dreadfulnstate. We all know that. But the analysisnhe supplies is neither especially penetratingnnor very reliable. And the coursenof action he recommends to get us fromnour present dilemma to the peace andnsafety we all desire is not likely to do anynsuch thing. If there is a way “to get therenfrom here,” it is not in Schell’s book.nThe dilemma referred to is the threatnposed by nuclear war. It is not necessarynto espouse Schell’s views in order to sharenhis feelings about this subject, and hisnbook, despite its many faults, is thoughtprovoking.nAnd sometimes—thoughnnot very often—his prose is moving.nMost of the book, however, substitutesnphilosophical disquisition for analysis ofnthe actual situation and tends to evadenstrategic points. Schell is both wordy andndogmatic; his argument runs in circlesnfor pages before making any, even an obrnvious, noncontroversial point.nSchell’s argument can be reduced tontwo decisive contentions. First, thatnDr. Levine is a frequent contributor tonthe Chronicles.nnnnuclear war not only can, but must,nmean the utter destruction of both sidesnand, very possibly, of all mankind.n(Though he draws back from insistingnthat war must mean the extinction of thenwhole of humanity, he assumes throughoutnthat this is the case.) Second, that thenonly way to avoid a holocaust is to haltnthe arms race and to end national sovereignty,ninstituting a world governmentninstead. All of this is expressed innassured, apocalyptic tones: “The questionnnow before the human species,ntherefore, is whether life or death willnprevail on the earth. This is not metaphoricalnlanguage, but a literal descriptionnof the present state of affairs.” Thenchoice, as Schell sees it, is now betweenn”peace on the one hand, and annihilationnon the other . . . Two paths lienbefore us. One leads to death, the othernto life.”nNow, there is little doubt that, in certainncircumstances, a nuclear exchangenbetween the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.nwould largely destroy both countries,nand probably most of the advancedncountries of the northern hemisphere asnwell. But the direct, known effects ofneven such an all-out war would not exterminatenhumanity, although some sideneffect of the war could, conceivably, disruptnprocesses vital to the survival of lifenon earth. Some scientists fear thatn10,000 megatons of thermonuclear explosivesnwould generate sufficient nitrousnoxide to damage the ozone layer,nexposing the earth’s surface to deadlynlevels of ultraviolet light. Schell goes onnand on about how much worse it wouldn