Today at Ars Marginal, we’re having an exclusive interview with Dennis R. Upkins, who is making the rounds with a virtual book tour for the release of his debut novel, Hollowstone, due out on June 17. While most interviews so far, have asked about Hollowstone‘s journey from blank page to published novel, here at Ars Marginal, we get to the real story: the anti-white, anti-straight agenda of author Dennis R. Upkins.
When we meet at a swanky coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it’s easy to be surprised that such a soft-spoken, devilishly handsome man could be so militant. It doesn’t last long.
ARS MARGINAL: What makes Hollowstone unique in its portrayal of LGBTQ people and POCs?
At this question, Upkins removes his glasses and takes a lit out of his pocket. He’s clearly prepared for this interview. Like a Black-ass Batman. He says . . .
UPKINS: Here’s a few of the following:
- POCs and LGBTQs are the main characters in the story.
- Said marginalized characters are handled with respect and portrayed as three dimensional human beings.
- Even in tackling racism and homophobia, the POCs and LGBTQs actually fight back and take their power back.
- The narrative actually illustrates the casual everyday racism and homophobia that POCs and LGBTQs have to endure.
- They’re awesome kickass characters who happen to be queer and POC rather than it being their end-all, be all identities.
ARS MARGINAL: How does the main character of Hollowstone play a cello? Shouldn’t he be rapping or playing basketball?
UPKINS: Funny you mention that because that actually gets called out repeatedly in the novel. Because you know, black kids never get told that enough.
ARS MARGINAL: How is writing a novel different from the other kinds of writing you’ve done?
UPKINS: It’s a lot more intensive by virtue there’s more bulk and more story so there’s more prose that you’re responsible for. Writing a novel is a journey in itself and when you’re penning 300 pages, it can sometimes be a challenge to see it through. But you’re always that much stronger for staying in there and getting it done.
ARS MARGINAL: Hollowstone is debuting around the same time that Tulpa, or Anne&Me is premiering in NYC. Who would come out of your television set?
UPKINS: Joss Whedon. That would be awesome. Hell, the Whedon brothers. Robert Gant. Sean Maher. The Clippinger twins.
At this, Upkins breaks out into a 500-watt smile and says . . .
Excuse me. I’ll be in my bunk.
He suddenly leaves the coffee shop and returns 20 minutes later.
ARS MARGINAL: Welcome back. What did you learn about writing and art as a result of working on Hollowstone?
UPKINS: I surmise it’s probably the same lesson that you learned doing Tulpa. There are some stories that just must be told.
ARS MARGINAL: Speaking of Tulpa, who would win in a celebrity deathmatch – Anne Hathaway or Paris Hiton?
UPKINS: Assuming you didn’t jump in it and execute a spine buster on Paris’s ass?
[Note: The answers to this question are the personal views and opinions of Mr. Upkins and do not reflect those of Ars Marginal or RVCBard/afro_dyte/Afrodyke. Ars Marginal bears no responsibility for the consequences of what would happen if some deranged fan would attempt to initiate a violent conflict between these two accomplished young women. It would be a shame and a tragedy if Miss Hilton were to suffer death, dismemberment, or disfigurement at the hands of Miss Hathaway.]
I’m gonna have to go with Anne. If for no other reason than she’s going to be taking on the mantle of Selina Kyle for the next Batman movie and you know she’s gonna be training how to throw down. You can’t portray the most iconic super villainess and anti-heroine in comic books without being a bonafide badass.
ARS MARGINAL: I have a hypothetical scenario for you. Let’s say that a major Hollywood studio buys the rights to Hollowstone and plans to make it into a big-budget motion picture. Assuming money and availability are no object, who would you cast in the movie adaptation of Hollowstone, and why? Feel free to include pics of random hawtness.
UPKINS: Way ahead of you: http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/954523.html
ARS MARGINAL: Most people who know you quickly find out that you’re a fan of comic books and graphic novels. With X-Men: First Class out in theatres, I guess you could say this next question would be obvious. Denny, which one of the X-men is most like you?
UPKINS: Hands down Cyclops and Storm. You could even say I’m their lovechild. (Note to self: that fanfic pairing will not write itself.)
Being the first son and the over-achieving golden boy perfectionist, I could always relate to Cyclops who has certainly come into his own as a man, a leader and a superhero. A brilliant strategist, still a boy scout, but now a straight arrow with an edge, he could be considered a hybrid of Superman and Batman which is something I definitely enjoy. That and those frequent shirtless panels. LOL!
Scott is very reserved but if you piss him off, there’s not anyone he can’t take out. He’s frequently underestimated when in fact he’s the smartest guy in the room and is usually 5 steps ahead of everyone else. I think the fact that one of the most iconic superheroes in all of comics is a black woman, is a testament to the phenomenal character Storm is. Regal, intelligent, beautiful, and powerful, Storm debunked many of the deplorable stereotypes that inundate those of us of Nubian descent. And to have said character actually lead the premiere superhero team in comics and not be the comic relief, the sassy black best friend or the sidekick, that’s virtually unheard of. And seeing as the First Lady of Marvel actually kicked Wonder Woman’s ass during the DC/Marvel crossover is 8 kinds of epic. Much like Cyclops, I actually emulated Storm growing up. Carrying myself in a regal demeanor. Proud to be black. Proud to be unique. Embracing my alpha. And being a descendant of greatness.
During the break in the interview, Denny and I chat about race, gender, Anne Hathaway, orientation, fandom, Anne Hathaway, theater, writing, Anne Hathaway, books, movies, Anne Hathaway, Star Trek, True Blood and this little-known actress by the name of Anne Hathaway. He is breezy and charming and eloquent, nothing like the raging time bomb he is described as. The effect is disarming, and it’s easy to see why people flock to his banner.
ARS MARGINAL: You speak so well, Denny! Has anyone told you how articulate you are? Did you graduate from college?
As he answers, we get a glimpse of the militant anti-white, anti-straight demagogue lurking beneath the surface of his nerdy exterior.
UPKINS: Yes and yes. Thank ye gods for Affirmative Action. Because that’s clearly the only way I can achieve anything in this country. You know, I get told all the time by white people that I speak soooo well and I love it when they tell me that I’m unique and not like the rest of those Negroes and that I’m clearly not a product of black culture. I tell you, nothing brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes quicker. It just feels so magical to be recognized as a speshul snowflake who has evolved from the lowly Negro to be something unique. I kinda orgasm every time I hear it. Just a little. It’s like being touched by the hand of White Peepul’s Jeezus. You know, Ronald Reagan.
ARS MARGINAL: This is an Ars Marginal interview, so you know we’re going to talk about bruised feelings. Denny, whose fee fees does Hollowstone hurt?
UPKINS: White people. Straight people. White Southerners. Because their culture gets called out something fierce. Religious conservatives. By no means is Hollowstone anti-religious (as the story will illustrate) but it does call out the hypocrisy that happens far too often in organized religion. But mainly, it hurts the fee fees of privileged mofos of the caucasian persuasion. You know my motto, if I’m not alienating the all folks white, then I’m not doing it right.
ARS MARGINAL: Where does this hatred of Whites and straight people come from?
UPKINS: People misunderstand. I totally like white people and straight people. That’s why I’m always snarking on them, it’s totally out of love. See me being masculine isn’t me being me, I’m aspiring to be a breeder like real men. And everyone knows me reading books and listening to alternative rock is my deep-seated desire to be white. TRU FAX!!!!! TRU FAX!!!!!!! I love white people. I’ve mentioned this before. I don’t just mean my loved ones (who are closer to me than blood relatives) of the Caucasian persuasion. White people have given us so many wonderful things. None come to mind at the moment but take my word for it.
I even have a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase, “WHITE PEOPLE ARE AWESOME.” I wear it all the time. As a matter of fact, I kept getting looks from the angry Negro co-workers (who I must add only have jobs because of that affirmative action business) at work today. In fact, I had to have security walk me to my car because several threatened to fuck me up in the parking lot. I tell you, those Negroes savages are just soooo Negro and savage.
ARS MARGINAL: Then why is the protagonist of Hollowstone so angry and militant?
UPKINS: You know, you’d think he’d be grateful attending a school with all those illustrious rich white people and being able to use the same bathrooms as them and not have to go through the colored entrance but nooooooooooo. I mean my God, he doesn’t even have to work in the kitchen. There’s just no pleasing people. The white man in all of his benevolence gets rid of Jim Crowe and suddenly nigrahs wanna get all uppity. You see how ungrateful they are.
ARS MARGINAL: Does bringing up race, gender, and sexuality help young adult readers? Shouldn’t we all be color-/gender-/sexuality-blind?
UPKINS: Absolutely. And we should conveniently ignore the fact that POCs continue to be screwed over by our educational system, young women are the frequent targets of violence and that few people actually try to protect them. And that gay teens are regularly assaulted and murdered.
ARS MARGINAL: But we have a Black president now! Doesn’t that count for something?
UPKINS: You’re right. That 400+ years of oppression is all forgiven now. Tabula rasa and all that.
ARS MARGINAL: How does Hollowstone connect with the 10 conversations you’re sick of having with White people?
UPKINS: Before I answer this, I should probably share the backstory to provide some context. So for those of you just joining us, late last year (around November if I’m not mistaken), I penned a piece entitled 10 Conversations I’m Sick Of Having With White People. Essentially they’re 10 arguments and points that whites frequently make and I expressed why they were problematic. It was done in the spirit of educating whites how to do better and how their actions even unintentional can be harmful to POCs. Well in April, Ars Marginal began to be flamed by racist trolls (more than the usual variety) and I began receiving visitors on my personal blog. All of whom referenced my 10 Conversations piece.
After breaking out the Google-Fu, I learned that the article had been picked up on People of Color Organize (an awesome website by the by) as well as Tumblr. The post had gone viral. I was gobsmacked. Many of the comments were insightful, encouraging, and I appreciated many POCs thanking me for expressing what they’ve been wanting to say for ages. Many whites thanked me for enlightening them on how to do better and sharing my insight. There were even whites who stated that they were infuriated on my behalf and couldn’t imagine how I could be so patient and eloquent in expressing myself in the face of such ignorance and hatred.
Some of the others, however . . . I’ve known white conservatives who didn’t engage in the level of racefail that these white liberal fauxgressives were engaging in. Among the favorites I read: I’m a racist for being soooooooooooooo mean to white peepul and hurting their fee fees. And I’m a raging misogynist for calling out how women of color endure both racism and sexism. Because everyone knows that women of color don’t qualify because feminism = white women. Obviously.
To date that article is the most popular article at POCO. And to date, nearly 100 comments later, white folks are still bawwing and showing their whole asses. One commenter even whined about how it’s so unfair that they couldn’t use the word nigger and I shouldn’t complain because we (black people) are taking over anyway. The follow-up post from the POCO editors summed up the issue beautifully.
Even thus far to a lesser extent, I’ve experienced a similar dynamic with Hollowstone when tackling racism. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Denny, white people aren’t THAT racist. The racism depicted is sooooooo over the top.” Never mind the fact that virtually every incident either happened to me personally or I witnessed it firsthand.
With both Hollowstone and 10 Conversations, it points out why whites and POCs just can’t sit down and have an honest discussion about race. Because when POCs share our experiences and inconvenient truths about the horrors of bigotry we face in our day to day, we get shouted down, silenced and attacked for not keeping white people’s fee fees in mind. And I think for many white people (not all of them obviously), they don’t want to change. They like having the advantage of having societal privilege but they also want everyone to buy into the Matrix that we’re in a post racial society when in many respects, we’re regressing.
ARS MARGINAL: How would you describe your liberal minority agenda as evidenced through the propaganda known as Hollowstone?
UPKINS: Well obviously my agenda includes (but certainly not limited to) converting impressionable young boys into limp-wristed dress wearing fags, turning women into a bunch of vagina monologuing hairy legged suffraging feminazis, make certain that the coloreds remain shiftless and uneducated while getting handouts after handouts from the government and society at large. Yes I’ll be using my novel to take over the world with subliminal messages promoting the evils of socialism and healthcare and allowing the queers to serve in the military. Good times.
And with that, militant author and activist Dennis R. Upkins shows his true colors at last: entitled, bitter, and consumed with rage and hate.