Daniel Menaker Branches Out Into Motion Pictures

At a press conference attended by only three reporters*, Daniel Menaker announced that he is now slated to star in a new motion picture: The Karate Kid V: Titlepage. This represents the next step in what Menaker calls “the Titlepage evolution.”

“With Pat Morita dead, they’ve been trying to find an excuse to revive the franchise,” said Menaker. “I pitched them on a book-themed martial arts picture, and they went for it!”

Studio executives were taken with Menaker’s consistently black apparel. Menaker informed the executives that he had picked this idea up from Steven Seagal. Menaker took meetings. Contracts were then signed.

Menaker will play a new sensei — “an old war buddy of Mr. Miyagi’s” — who opens a dojo in Reseda and instructs teenagers to sit in uncomfortable chairs while cameras rapidly capture their bored expressions, while only one person at a time talks about books. Those who cannot fall in line with this stern routine will be given the crane kick.

Martin Kove will reprise his role as Kreese, who will take revenge on “all friends of Miyagi” and, in particular, any awkward television he has to endure just before fighting. John G. Avildsen, who expressed problems with the script, has reportedly demanded a minimum of $3.2 million to direct this film.

* — Once again, demonstrating that the newspaper book review crisis has been lost.

NBCC Plans “The Month of a Thousand Panels”

National Book Critics Circle president Jane Ciabattari has revealed that there will be no less than a thousand panels devoted to book discussion during the month of April: with sometimes as many as 112 panels at one time.

“Panels are the only way to address the goals of our organization,” said Ciabattari, who got the idea after reading something about “the German form of life.” “We want to have panels about panels. We want to have panels about panels about panels. Just to go the extra mile. Just to show the other bloggers that we’re more hard-core than they are.”

The panels would be followed by several long reports posted on Critical Mass, the NBCC’s blog. Ciabattari indicated that there would be at least five reports for each panel. Just to be extra sure that every turn of a panelist’s head was dutifully reported so that future literary enthusiasts could know all about it. The panel reports will be written by NBCC members who Ciabattari describes as “friendly bloggers.”

Comments posted to the Critical Mass blog will still take three days to be cleared and may take even longer because of all the time spent organizing panels and panel reports.

“I guess this demonstrates that April is indeed the cruelest month,” said Wilma Atherton, a grad student who lives and studies at Columbia who had hoped that the newly elected NBCC board would concentrate more on books and less on talk of books. “I guess this means I’ll have to mine that pamphlet that the n+1 boys shoved under my door for literary value.”

Love in the Air for Gessen and Sarvas?

Longtime enemies Mark Sarvas and Keith Gessen were seen walking in Central Park, holding hands. There were even peals of laughter and a few hearty back slaps.

“I tried to send the tip into Gawker,” said 21-year-old video enthusiast Holly Brendon, “but they told me that it would get in the way of tarnishing Emily Gould’s reputation.”

Brendon said that she would be uploading her footage to YouTube later this afternoon, so that “readers could decide for themselves, the way they always do on the Internet.”

Several references on Gould’s blog involving “the other man” and John Banville do lend credence to Brendon’s extraordinary claims. And a recent post on The Elegant Variation reports that Sarvas is “brushing up on his Russian.”

Has this literary feud entered into a detente? Stanley Crouch insists that it has not. “I’ll bitch-slap both of those white boys if that’s what it takes to keep this literary feud going.”

But a violent enforcement along these lines may prove difficult for Mr. Crouch. Neither Sarvas nor Gessen have ever been spotted at Tartine.

Adam Kirsch Tests Out New Sense of Humor

New York Sun critic Adam Kirsch stunned a young literary couple in the Upper East Side when he was observed attempting to crack a joke to a Starbucks barista. The couple, knowing of Kirsch’s humorless writing, were especially astonished to see Kirsch actually converse with someone in a class beneath his station.

“He didn’t act as if she didn’t exist. The way he usually does,” said Gloria Reynolds, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mother and Caitlin Flanagan fan. “He actually asked her how he was doing, and then he tried out a zinger!”

“It was a knock-knock joke,” said Harold Bentley, a 32-year-old investment banker. “Nothing great, mind you. But it was a start.”

Sources at the New York Sun reported that Kirsch entered into an argument with a copy editor. Kirsch threatened that he would leave the paper if his piece did not include a sentence that began “You might be a redneck if….” The copy editor was then fired without severance pay by New York Sun management.

“There may still be a chip on his shoulder,” said the Sun‘s books editor, David Wallace-Wells. “But at least it’s now a funny chip.”

Samantha Power to “Give the People What They Want”

Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell and Chasing the Flame, has announced that she will turn her attentions to “more entertaining, less challenging” books in the wake of recent developments. Expressing dismay that her thoughts on weighty matters were overlooked by off-the-record remarks, and that she was now being relegated to the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times, Power pledged that she would now “give the people what they want.” And if that meant abandoning important probings into American foreign policy that the people needed to know about, this was simply how the cookie crumbled.

Power also showed less reticence to more base endeavors.

“I’m 37,” said Power in a telephone interview. “I still go to the gym. I still have a body. And if the American people prefer my body to my mind, then who am I to argue? I’d rather just move forward and put the Obama incident behind me.”

Power reported that her third book would be a meticulously researched biography on Beyoncé, with the working title, Dreamgirl: A Woman’s Only Choice in America.

“I’ve already talked to hundreds of people close to Beyoncé. Only a handful grew uncomfortable at the mention of Raphael Lemkin.”

Expressing approval for these unexpected developments, Larry Flynt offered Power $500,000 to pose naked in a future edition of Hustler. “That’s the great thing about America,” said Flynt. “Even when a woman’s as sharp as Samantha, she still has anatomy.”

Power did not offer an answer as to whether she would take this offer. But she did say that it was good to have some insurance “if the Beyoncé book tanked.”