Thursday, July 13, 2006

Addressing the @#%!& Issues

And yes, I do realize that my last post on Hirshman doesn't actually address any of the important issues that her original article and her book (presumably) address. I wanted to look at her Washington Post article in and of itself, because I found it fascinating, in much the same way that I found Caitlin Flanagan's trainwreck interviews compelling. I'm hoping that the article actually holds as little relation to Get to Work as Flanagan's interviews did to To Hell with All That, especially since I see that I'm next on the (pretty small - 1 of 2) library request list.

Is this a new phenomenon, this thing where authors make petty
ad hominem attacks or other outrageous statements badmouthing large groups of people in an attempt to publicize their books? Probably not, since I'm sure everything under the sun has already been done in publishing, but the internet and blogs certainly add a new element to it. Perhaps some of the author invective I've seen is a response to the immediacy, the crudeness, and the anonymity that e-mail commentary and criticism allows, if not actively encourages. Hirshman certainly implies this in her Post article, where she mentions the good old days, when only a few hardy (and presumably well-educated) souls wrote letters to authors or newspaper editors, and "iron-fisted editors" kept the riff raff out of the discussion (and perhaps back in the kitchen, where they belong if they sell out to the patriarchy). But wait -- isn't that exactly what Linda is supposed to be protesting?

Katha Pollitt adds a pretty funny essay to the whole "no such thing as bad publicity" idea with yesterday's article on "Thank You for Hating My Book". It's a much more reasonable response than I've seen from the other authors - or should I say from their public relations advisors?

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