Thursday, June 14, 2007

Eighteen Cats

I managed to read Adam Kirsch's denigration of book bloggers yesterday without it bothering me in the slightest (especially since delightful responses to the article came fast and furiously), but I found myself taken back this afternoon when I stumbled across Michael Rogers' BEA journal from earlier in the month.

He attended a bloggers panel moderated by Bud Parr that included "legitimate reviewers" --Anne Fernald, James Marcus, Lizzie Skurnick--but instead of therefore concluding that the battle between bloggers and print reviewers was downright silly, he deliberately perpetuated it by saying the following:

Those folks aren't the people causing concern. It's others going by the handle of Book Girl, or Book Dog, or Bookasaurus, etc., basically book nerds with no chops who pound away on their PCs while their 18 cats prance in the background. Those are the people I wanted to see defending their legitimacy. . .

Eighteen cats. Ouch. It's sad that an editor for Library Journal holds that much contempt for book lovers. And it's particularly sad that an editor doesn't communicate well enough to get across just who it is who's supposed be concerned that such inconsequential people are writing about the books they read and having conversations about them and if these concerns are the least bit legitimate in the first place. Claiming you're for "anything and everything that promotes books and reading" after making fun of readers isn't awfully smart.

For the record, Mr. Rogers, I have only three cats. And if our paths should happen to cross next week at the ALA conference, count on me, instead of stopping to defend my own legitimacy, to mutter "Bastard" in your direction and to keep on moving.

20 comments:

Bybee said...

I'm seeing a trend of bilious, middle-aged men who have sneering down pat but probably also have skidmarks in their drawers because they've never learned to...

Where are they getting this crap? I started my blog because I love books and wanted to do something fun with that. I don't have to prove a thing, especially not to some sneerer who probably has a bad comb-over and the aforementioned skidmarks. OK, I'll stop now.

SFP said...

I want to make some crack about such men not having enough cheek chops for the job but I don't think I should risk it this early in the morning. . .

Most journalists are herd animals--particularly these days--and they just can't stop themselves from writing the same articles from the same perspective. It only takes a few differing details--18 prancing cats, former quality-control manager for a car parts maker--for them to feel they've broken from the herd.

Dorothy W. said...

That article was ridiculous, utterly ridiculous. I'm amazed at the way people are so threatened by blogging -- it makes them say the most absurd things.

zhoen said...

Wonder what he thought of Edward Gorey, who loved books, and cats, and was admittedly a little odd, as well as brilliantly talented. Would have made a wonderful blogger.

Matt said...

I do particularly like how he denigrates people who love books. Seems that someone involved in the business of books would welcome anything that lauds the merits of literature. Again, it proves that these people are more concerned with protecting their professions than furthering the cause of reading.

Ah, look at the time, got to run, need to get started on my cat collection, don't have a single one yet!

Dewey said...

One-cat book nerd pounding away on her Mac here. I can see I'm going about this the wrong way, but you can't really blame me, since I only started my books blog in April. I will quickly join Matt in the search for more cats and a more appropriate laptop!

piksea said...

Call him a name for me, too! I'll be busy purchasing the requisite 13 cats. My poor puppy Pickles will not be pleased.

danielle said...

Why do these people have to keep perpetuating this *highly* annoying argument? I am so tired of it. "book nerds with no chops"? Shame on him. I suppose he felt pretty amused by his comments. Why are these people so threatened? If you walk by him at ALA, please don't mutter...feel free to shout it!

bhadd said...

Handsome cats also--three.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the whole Persephone kerfuffle all over again. Is this guy saying that you need an academic qualification to write a book review? Why? Thank goodness for the democracy of the internet and the book bloggers without whom I would never have discovered the delights of E M Delafield, Elizabeth Taylor, Noel Streatfeld and all the other overlooked 20th century writers who don't get allocated much space in the literary press - because they're too busy plugging the latest celebrity tie-in.

Susan said...

Hi Susan :) I followed the link from Book Girl's Nightstand to your site. I just had to scoop out a fellow book lover w/ the same name. I just began my book blog in January and need to create a blog roll. May I had you? Regarding your post...You go girl! I hope your paths cross. I had not heard of this topic. Now, I must go and check it out. Have a wonderful weekend!

SFP said...

Hi Susan! You may certainly add me, and I'll reciprocate.

What? Is there NO ONE to take Michael Rogers' side? Not here, not on the LJ site?

Ah well, at least he amuses himself.

Sylvia said...

Whoah. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

SFP said...

Great response to him on his site, Sylvia.

stefanie said...

Oh my. Bud made a great comment on the article and so did Sylvia. Cheers to them both! It seems to me at root to be an elitist argument, those who have "made it" in the upper echelons of the "legitimate" (read old school conservative) book world defending their territory from the upstart masses who think they can understand books and reading on their own. Oh, and as for the cats, I haven't had a cat since mine died in December, but I am bringing home two kittens today. Now I have to figure out where to get 16 more! The dog is not going to like it.

SFP said...

Can't wait to see new pics of Waldo and Dickens, Stefanie.

Elaine said...

Well I used to have six cats but they have now all gone to the cattery in the sky and I am now catless. I therefore feel I am fully qualified to blog as there are no felines around to ruin my reputation. This sort of polemic really makes me mad. I simply cannot understand why bloggers are under such attack. Can it be that we bookies are becoming influential and they are just a tiny bit frightned? I have waxed at great length on my blog re the Persephone debacle which still makes me seethe if I think about it, so I won't.

I know I am out at work all day and should not have a cat any more but I do feel like nipping out to the local cat rescue and bringing them all home

Maggie said...

Damnit! I only have one cat! So, I have to run out to the animal shelter and get 17 more to be an ineffective book blogger. Well, I'm about to make the local humane society VERY happy! :D

Nicola said...

Hi again, didn't mean to post my previous comment anonymously, I just forgot to type in my name -wouldn't want anyone to think I won't put a name to my words! I'm Nicola, not a blogger myself but I regularly read half a dozen or so of my favourite book blogs for recommendations.

Anne said...

I'm allergic to cats...and to mean comments about blogging. --- : ) Anne