Tod Goldberg lays down his rules: “I don’t want to read your self-published novel. Ever. If you’re reading this and thinking, Hey, I see Tod sometimes reviews books places, I wonder if he’d like to review my book? The answer is that I’d rather sit through I Know Who Killed Me covered in fire ants.”
So folks, do you have Asperger’s? Who needs some perfunctory summation from an psychological rube when the Web can play this kind of ignoble Asperger’s card for you? Apparently, I’m an “average female scientist.” Which presumably means that I’ll need to work twice as hard to prove that I’m capable, because the world seems to consider me more of a stewardess who should be popping out kids from her uterus than a thinker. (via the Valve)
Charles Simic has been named the new U.S. poet laureate. But wait a minute, Simic was born in Yugoslavia! What the hell’s going on? I thought our government specialized in celebrating and maintaining a purebred America! This is hypocrisy! The last thing America needs is one of these goddam Yugoslavians taking away American cultural thunder. Why not simply give the title to a Madison Avenue copywriter? “Born in fire, blown by mouth and cut by hand with heart.” Sheer poetry that keeps this nation going!
After reading Julie Phillips’s James Triptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, I have many conclusions. But the one that sticks out the most (which indeed I still possessed even before picking up the Phillips book): Ursula K. Le Guin, hubba hubba! Yowzahs! Rowr! Considerable correspondence between Sheldon and various science fiction writers can be found within the book. But it is Le Guin’s volleys, laden with wit, intelligence, and an irresistable wordplay, that made me swoon. Letter writing may very well be a dying art — something abdicated to the “dats cool” one-sentence truncations of contemporary email. Because of this, I think it’s high time to remind readers that Le Guin is still around and still pumping out interesting books. It’s also high time to remind all emailers to up their game! (More recent news on the literary merits of email here.)
Can I say again just how saddened I am to see Janet Maslin, who was once a sharp film critic, offering such asinine book reviews like this? One would think that after a few years of book reviewing, Maslin would understand that there are these things called legal clearances which often affect decisions in historical fiction and that the critic has to be very careful when dwelling upon authorial intention. But, no, this review saddens me so much with its idiocy that I must walk away, head hunkered down, hoping that the Janet Maslin I read in the ’90’s will return. For the love of letters, Gray Lady, get Maslin away from books and back into the movie theaters, pronto!