Odd McIntyre

In March of 1936, New York columnist and critic O. O. McIntyre leveled four acerbic inches of copy at what he described as, “a weird offshoot of magazine publishing,” i.e., the pulps. His criticism was stock, superficial and actually untrue, as in: “Every possible historic plot has been catalogued, and copies are furnished a group of writers who punch the clock like factory hands.” There were no pulp factories, writers certainly received no hourly wages, and if plot-lines seemed classical, it was only because all competent stories tend to echo classical themes. It was, however, true that those fortunate enough to make the pulp grade tended to command hefty salaries, and certainly more than the likes of McIntyre.

As president of the American Fiction Guild’s New York chapter, and highly visible master of popular fiction, L. Ron Hubbard was called upon to supply a response. That response, in the form of a 2,500 word article entitled “Pulpateer,” is as truthful as McIntyre’s is not. “Primarily a pulpateer is a very decent writer (he has to be that, you know). He is sincere about his work as any of the top rankers will testify. He tries to write his very best and make his stories exciting and often he gets a lot more than excitement into them.” By the same token, however, and given the two-fisted reputation of pulpateers, Ron felt obliged to wryly add: “If you should happen to intimate to a pulpateer that his stories are trash, you are likely to be soundly punched in the nose.” In either case, the eventual meeting with this O. O. McIntyre inspired an altogether subtler response.





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