We’ve just heard from an anonymous reader concerning “The Pearl Report,” the email newsletter that was apparently written by Paul Maliszewski. Again, if anyone has any additional leads on what content was featured within “The Pearl Report,” then we will certainly post them.
The reader writes:
Forgive the nom de plume but I’m avoiding the Wrath of Dave. In late 2001 I (and apparently a number of people whose names were culled from the McSweeney’s e list) began receiving, about two or three times a month, emails with the subject heading “The Pearl Report,” signed Allan Pearl. (This is the name of Eugene Levy’s character in “Waiting For Guffman” but I don’t know if that was the reference intended by “Pearl.”) The epistles purported to relate various gossipy tidbits, mostly about Tom Beller and the three Jonathans – Ames, Franzen, Lethem. (Though I think Chabon and maybe even Eggers figured in a few items.)
To give you an example – one item, as memory serves, alleged that J Lethem, tiring of the effort involved in signing a ltd edition in the late ’90s, rounded up a young, unknown friend of his named Colson Whitehead to forge his signature on the books, and that these forgeries could be identified by Whitehead’s having written a microscopic “CW” in the corner of each leaf in which he wrote Lethem’s name. (The joke may not be obvious to Dave but I can see it – such a book, thanks to its Whitehead connection, would be worth more than the usual ltd Lethem. But I suppose Lethem would have been unhappy about the allegation – since he’s the former rare-books specialist at Moe’s in Berkeley, this would indeed be rather a slur.) But more often the items were of the Tom-was-seen-with-Parker-the-other-night kind, rather harmless.
After several months of such hijinks, circa the spring of 2002, a young lady came up to Ames at a reading in darkest Brooklyn, informed him that she was “Pearl’s” ex-girlfriend, and spilled the beans. Ames told Dave. At which point Dave did the stuff that makes him so eminently qualified to replace the ‘zinger-man at the Holy Office, now that the dude’s moved on up.
After this all went down, I did some Googling for a while to see what turned up online, but there never was a thing. Such was life in the dim, dark days before litblogs. As to where the Pearl Reports could be found now – maybe the deepest, darkest recesses of the cast-aside laptops of the Jonathans could yield some answers.