Sunday, May 20, 2007

So who's the former quality-control manager for a car parts maker who presumed to write 95 book reviews last year? Richard Schickel has a message for him/her. (It's rather holier-than-thou.)

Edited to add: It's Dan Wickett who's the former quality-control manager. Richard Schickel has a problem with Dan Wickett. Good grief.

20 comments:

  1. This was my favourite part: For example, French critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, a name not much bruited in the blogosphere, I'll warrant.

    I laughed out loud when I read that. I'm dead sure that critic isn't "much bruited" anywhere except perhaps certain university departments. I mean, really now! Talk about trying too hard. I find the arguments surrounding this 'controversy', particularly the ones in the most "wonderfully" concentrating print, increasingly hilarious. At the end of it all I imagine print reviewers miming their pain and ire while wearing clown suits out on the streets in front of newspaper head offices rating a humorous Slate article

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  2. Nine listings by Sainte-Beuve in the library catalog! Should I quote him next week in French or English? Hmmm. . . .

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  3. Richard Schickel seems to feel very threatened by bloggers who have encroached upon his elitist territory. Sure, there's a big difference between most of the reviews that one finds in a book blog and those found in print.

    But someone needs to tell Mr. Schikel that many of us have come to rely on blog reviews as being much more truthful and meaningful than the gibberish that some of the print reviewers toss out. Each type of review has its place.

    Snobbery is a very ugly thing and I'll forever more think of Schikel as the ultimate book snob...and a very ugly man.

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  4. That was a ridiculous article -- why CAN'T anybody, absolutely anybody, write about books? Who is that going to hurt?

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  5. I just want to Schickel to know that if it weren't for blogs, I would never have heard his name (we get Newsweek, not Time).

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  6. I read this article as well and I thought it was funny. I agree with Sam Mr. Schickel seems to feel threatened by the bloggers out there. I personally go to fellow bloggers for reviews before I read the papers so I guess it is not unjustified.

    Amanda

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  7. Yes. I seem to read the bloggers and commenters on Readerville first. Then, sometimes after I've read a novel I'll look at the reviews or literary criticism.

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  8. Susan:

    I just wrote about this.

    What prompted his overblown vitriol, anyway? Are bloggers *really* encroaching on the territory of critics and reviewers?

    Tempest. Teapot.

    MFS

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  9. From what I can tell he ranted about bloggers at a writing conference a few weeks back. Charter member of the lead pencil club, probably.

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  10. I was not aware that literary critics were anointed by some higher power and therefore not just anyone could become one. He also claims that literary criticism lays the basis for a lasting dialogue, last time I checked there is not any dialogue in an article. Blogs are all about dialogue, hence the section for comments. This guys is ridiculously pompous.

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  12. It was a rather pompous article. Why choose Sainte-Beuve as his example of a lasting critic? Even Proust was not a fan! (and why does he say, "a name not much bruited in the blogosphere, I'll warrant"? Didn't he have time to check?)

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  14. I am having the *worst* time with comments, Susan. Sorry.

    I mistakenly deleted the comment about Wickett because I saw your edit. 'can't even tell you what I was thinking.

    And then I said something that made no sense and hastily deleted *that.* This is, of course, why I generally stay out of the commenting business altogether -- because I STINK at it.

    Heh, heh, heh.

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  15. He took a swipe at Dan Wickett of all people? I wouldn't have gotten into literary journals if it weren't for him!

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  16. Don't worry about it, MFS. I posted the wrong link at Sherry's on Saturday and then my one comment asking her to fix it multiplied.

    Yes, Dan Wickett. Isn't that horrifying? I was at least going to give Schickel enough credit to think he was talking about some guy who spent his time reviewing beach reads or had simply made up a straw man, but all I'm left with now is his age. Sigh.

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  17. What a snobbish jerk! Oops, that just popped out of me, such as my reviews. ;D

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  18. You'd think we had First Amendment rights or something. :)

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  19. I swear I saw the name Saint-Beuve mentioned on Litlove's blog! It sounds familiar to me and I wouldn't have ever heard of it otherwise were it not for a blogger. Hmpf. See this post:

    http://litlove.wordpress.com/?s=beuve

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  20. The Saint-Beuve comment made me laugh too. proust didn't like him at all. I also laughed at the description of blogs as "yammering" and the comment that a democratic literary landscape is a wasteland.

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