I didn’t read Garry Wills’ original review, but it turns out that I don’t need to. Unless Harvey C. Mansfield demonstrates that he can drink me under the table or beat me in an arm wrestling contest, I think it’s pretty clear that his masculinity is muted at best. The fact of the matter is that manly men do elaborate. And this tendency to expatiate is part of the problem. Small notes in denial of this suggest a titmouse’s temperament. (via Scott)
Charles Frazier responds to charges of betrayal and greed: “I saw something that said I was ‘the symbol of greed in the publishing industry.’ I’m not the one who decided what the offers were gonna be on the book. And it’s not like I went into this just looking to take the highest offer.” While I can see Frazier’s point, Frazier doesn’t clarify just what it was about Random House’s publicity plan that made their offer more compelling than the extra cash. Hopefully an eagle-eyed interviewer will clarify what Frazier meant.
With all this inflated talk of five year anniversaries (“Never forget” and “It’s not a question of if, but when” are the common phrases I hear), Elizabeth Crane ponders the larger question of whether one is truly defined by place.
And speaking of Sammy T, one must ask why Stanley Crouch was asked to cover a Huey Newton bio. Why not assign him a book that you wouldn’t expect him to review? Was Crouch assigned the book because he’s African-American? Does the NYTBR‘s troubling policy of assigning men the nonfiction and women the literary fiction (if, indeed, assigning women at all) also extend to race? It is not Crouch’s review I take umbrage with, but the idea of assigning like-minded reviewers to like-minded books. This smacks of institutionalism. Consider this: Dave Eggers can review Edward P. Jones’ All Aunt Hagar’s Children. But why can’t Crouch or Jones review, say, Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics?