I wish I could be in New York this weekend for this, if only to see how similar (or dissimilar) the array of views are.
Kevin Smokler complains that The Paris Review costs $12 and that this is an inflated price to pay if you’re only looking for the interview. You know, my copy of McSweeney’s #19 was $22 and all I really wanted was a Pepsi the T.C. Boyle novella (the leftover “novel” that Dana was working on in Talk Talk that wasn’t published). That I had to hunt for this in a cigar box containing ancillary illustrations was bad enough, but several of the other stories I read, particularly that mediocre pirate story, were DOA. So the argument cuts both ways. Do I bemoan McSweeney’s for charging this price or for offering a bad selection this time around? Not at all. Having once worked at a magazine and having lengthy conversations with the printing folks, I realize that printing in color is expensive. Methinks Mr. Smokler doth protest too much.
And while we’re on the subject of “what the New Generation wants,” since whenis it “hip” to like Spiotta, Danielewski, and Powers? I’m troubled by the notion that one’s literary sensibilities are defined not so much by what one personally responds to, but by whether one is connected to some unknown inner circle or lofty organization. Should not a person read Danielewski because he is innately curious and not because it is the apparent thing to do? Further, who is anybody to determine “what the New Generation wants?” This presumes that writing, editing, and reading involves an exclusionary process based not on literary value, but on egregious market demographics. Should not great literature transcend generations? Or is it now apparently impossible for a McSweeney’s cigar box to appeal to someone outside of the 18-34 demographic? Or a Julia Glass novel to appeal to a twentysomething?