Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The New York Times laments the decline of the newspaper book review and the rise of the literary blog. As I've said before, much of what is online is an imperfect substitute for thoughtful newspaper book reviews. But thoughtful newspaper book reviews are rarer than what that article would have us believe. And quite frankly I'd think you can write meaningful criticism on the web just as easily as anywhere else.

The Times quotes novelist Richard Ford--who is so open-minded that he's never read a lit blog--who kvetches "that he wanted the judgment and filter that he believed a newspaper book editor could provide. 'Newspapers, by having institutional backing, have a responsible relationship not only to their publisher but to their readership,' Mr. Ford said, 'in a way that some guy sitting in his basement in Terre Haute maybe doesn’t.'”

That reminds me of the pilot episode of "Studio 60", in which a character--no doubt expressing the thoughts of series creater Aaron Sorkin--complains about the influence of bloggers and says that he prefers "credentials." It's elitism, pure and simple. Other words for bloggers in these contexts are "viewers" and "readers". Why would a writer have so much disdain for them?

(Thanks to Pinky's Paperhaus.)


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