In my career as a litblogger, I was never persuaded that an ombudsman was a good idea. This isn’t because I have any particular beef against ombudsmen. It is simply because litbloggers can’t afford to hire them.
But my own history with ombudsmen aside, it is safe to say that there is clearly no man more deserving of a blowjob than Daniel Okrent. Not only would I invite Okrent to fornicate with any member of my family (including those under eighteen), but, if nobody was available to wrap lips around his cock, then I would willingly step in and do the job myself.
Because this is the kind of industry Okrent inspires. Okrent isn’t just any ombudsman. He’s the ombudsman for the New York Times. Which means that, in all book review circumstances, he must be given the reverential bukkake treatment. No constructive criticism. No hint of a flaw in his chiseled sentences. No in-review notation of an ethical conundrum. Like the obverse but no less sleazier conundrum of John Dean reviewing Mark Felt’s memoir, with Okrent, it’s all the ooze that’s fit to squint. Never mind that there’s a stupendous conflict of interest or that Okrent’s gushing flow might just blind.
The point is that Okrent is there, waiting for you or any reviewer, either literally or metaphorically, to unzip his fly and work some magic. Unfortunately, in this case, it looks like Harold Evans and Sam Tanenhaus got to Okrent’s phallus before I did. So my mouth remains dry and unsullied. But I suppose there’s always the Wall Street Journal‘s ombudsman to consider. Assuming, of course, that the Journal will print my in-house rodomontade as easily as the Times ran Evans’.