Let us stipulate that rinky-dink columnists can be divided into three categories. At the top are Jimmy Breslin (not yet dead, but not currently writing a column) and Hunter S. Thompson (dead, but did he really write a column?) — who write well-crafted, uncompromising essays that the many hacks who now occupy cramped cubicles couldn’t come close to even if .41 Derringers were pointed at their cantaloupes — straight, no chaser. At the other extreme we have hacks — no names here, because I’m a spineless and dishonest turd and quite likely one of these unnamed hacks myself for being so goddam prolific and having an email address named firstname.lastname@example.org — who write what can be charitably called bullshit, deliberately dumb articles laced with generalizations and gimmicks (such as jejune taxonomies and dash-laden sentences) because if they turn in a column, they’ll lose their precious berth even if what they write has little to do with the real world. In between, we have writers of many types which I won’t identify, because it would be a little bit like showing a pornographic film to a small child.
And then there’s Patrick Anderson, a man who I suspect is quite humorless, who won’t comprehend the timbre of this clearly satirical post, and lost his ratiocination skills sometime in the late 1970s. It’s safe to say that this book reviewing savant can be classified in one of the three categories mentioned above. But since I’m a litblogger who doesn’t talk down to his readers, I’ll let you decide which tier Mr. Anderson belongs to.