I don’t have any self-serving magazine manifesto or “woe is me” Eggers-style panegyric to contribute to this argument, but there are two additional misleading statements in the Pollack article that should be pointed out. The first needs to be corroborated, but if it is true, then I will update this post with the rather interesting results. If true, Pollack doesn’t have nearly the sense of humor or “thick skin” that he claims he does.
The second involves Pollack’s misleading statement that he “had a five-figure credit card debt.” As reported here last November, the film rights for Never Mind the Pollacks were sold to Warner Brothers’ Bill Gerber for a mid six-figure sum, somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 — enough to take out a five-figure credit card debt and more. (This news was, as I recall, originally reported in Publisher’s Lunch. But the deal was also reported in Variety and at Done Deal.)
I don’t care if Pollack is writing under a persona or not. I’ll only say that I’ve enjoyed Pollack’s satire in the past, but find his recent non-satirical work stiff, humorless and far from genuine. If Lenny Bruce or Andy Kaufman came up to you and told you that what they did was an act, would you have as much respect for them in the morning? That’s like telling a four year old kid that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
Pollack, by his own admission, has settled into yuppified complacency. That’s a shame. Because he’s become about as lively as a tired Catskills comic waiting for the septuagenerians to laugh. This isn’t a “hateful” statement. It’s an honest criticism for a writer who has, to my great sadness, turned chicken.