I would like to join my fellow bloggers in denouncing the provincial specifics of book review editors. This is, after all, a more pressing issue than the number of column inches available and the quality of coverage. I demand that all book review editors live in the same town, 365 days a year! No vacations! No retreats! Not even BEA! This is the only way that we can be absolutely sure of a book review editor’s integrity! To step foot outside of Chicago or Atlanta for even a week is to commit a journalistic disgrace that can never be forgiven. Of course, there are other things to denounce here. It’s almost as bad as being a Chicago blogger writing a blog post from Washington, DC. But we forgive bloggers because they are all based in Terre Haute.
So go figure. Ian McEwan takes questions from readers and then proceeds to openly insult them: “Publishers seem to be very keyed up to embrace the Internet, but I don’t have much time for the kind of site where readers do all the reviewing. Reviewing takes expertise, wisdom and judgment. I am not much fond of the notion that anyone’s view is as good as anyone else’s.” Okay, Ian, we get that you’re an elitist. If that’s the case, why subject yourself to the rabble of Time readers? Ain’t that a big hypocritical? Or do you truly feel that such sad interlocutory specimens as “When you are writing a book, do you expect it to influence your readers in a certain way?” are somehow better because they came from a magazine reader (as opposed to someone from the Internet, who may very well have offered the “expertise, wisdom and judgment” you call for)?
Annalee Newitz on the problems with Wikipedia: “Besides, who is to say what is ‘notable’ or not? Lutheran ministers? Bisexual Marxists? Hopefully, both. For me, the Utopianism of Wikipedia comes from its status as a truly Democratic people’s encyclopedia—nothing is too minor to be in it. Everything should noteworthy, as long as it is true and primary sources are listed. If we take this position, we avoid the pitfalls of 19th-century chroniclers, who kept little information about women and people of color in archives because of course those groups were hardly ‘notable.’ Yet now historians and curious people bang their heads against walls because so much history was lost via those ‘deletions.'”