This morning, while I was lying in bed, at long last forming an intricate theory about James Doohan’s purpose in “Spock’s Brain,” I came across this stunning news. The NYTBR editor search is being restarted.
Let us not vex ourselves too much. The Times has plenty of cash and resources to blow up their noses for these parlor tricks, but not nearly enough to pay their pressers.
But no matter. It’s clear that Bill Keller is wasting all of our time. As my loyal readers know, I campaigned vigorously here on behalf of two editorial candidates who made the shortlist. Ads were prominently placed. Envelopes with stacks of Franklins were given to the appropriate people. I played the game first for Ben Schwarz. And then when Schwarz tried to appeal to centrists by dissing literary fiction, I switched my allegiance to Sarah Crichton. Not long after she took New Hampshire.
But today’s move illustrates that Keller hasn’t respected any of these efforts, nor does he respect democracy. And not a single soul knows whether he appreciated the strip dancer I sent to his office. What’s more, the NYTBR been jumping the gun, moving towards more repeat profiles (such as the lad lit angle and the endless American Sucker coverage), covering popular fiction over literary fiction, and giving far too much space to thick nonfiction books that spend hundreds of pages stating the obvious.
In other words, Bill Keller has a mission in life: to bore the socks out of book enthusiasts. Yet even with this solitary goal, Bill Keller doesn’t seem to have the management or people skills to go about doing it.
It’s clear that political campaigning has had little success. We all know that money won’t buy Bill Keller. He’s a man inflexible in his love for Jonathan Franzen, but who barely gives David Markson the time of day. Firm principles, to be sure. But perhaps humor can change his mind. In fact, humor may have been the very thing missing in Bill Keller’s life.
Have you ever noticed that Bill Keller has not once smiled or cracked a joke this whole time? Perhaps that’s been the problem all along.
So here’s the plan: The time has come to bombard Mr. Keller with gag gifts. Constipation crisis kits, fake vomit, false bumper stickers, Mr. T in your pocket. Name your weapon of choice. Each gift should be sent to the Times with the following message: “For the love of humanity, for the love of literary fiction, learn to laugh, laugh and love, you crazy waffler!”
These packages must be sent religiously to Mr. Keller’s office until one of three things happens: (a) he confesses that he might cover literary fiction, (b) he makes up his goddam mind, or (c) he reveals that, all this time, he’s been suffering from a nervous breakdown and offers to resign in protest.
Packages can be sent to:
NEW YORK TIMES
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Remember: It is every American’s duty to restore the former glory of the NYTBR. And if Keller can’t do it, perhaps mass gag gift hypnosis may help us bring the NYTBR into alignment.