Reviewing the Review: October 30 2005

A disturbing report has just come in: tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review has been invaded and occupied by the Times’ News desk.

The evidence shows that several foreign policy journalists and think-tank types have moved into the Book Review’s literary territory, evicting aesthetes, academic theoreticians and fiction/poetry-scene gossip mongers from their familiar positions. The iron curtain of political journalism has even fallen over the cover layout, which features the large title “IRAQ”, an illustration of a bloodied flag (how original), and five headlines, all relating to current news.

A puppet display of tepid fiction reviews (Alison Lurie’s Truth and Consequences, intriguingly reviewed by Alice Traux; David Maine’s Fallen, an Adam-and-Eve retelling faintly praised but ultimately dismissed by Bruce Bawer) will not satisfy the rage of angry literateurs who may care deeply about the war in Iraq, but get plenty of reporting about it elsewhere. Attempts to locate poetry critic David Orr for comment have been unsuccessful, and his whereabouts are unknown.

This will not stand.

4 Responses

  1. Ahh …So you mean the NYTBR
    Ahh …

    So you mean the NYTBR is acting more like the NYTBR again …

  2. what’s the differenceI was
    what’s the difference

    I was thinking, if every writer of fiction, cookbooks, journalism, whatever; if everyone would spend some time, whatever amount needed, and write about nothing except our current planetary condition; would that not cause someone to pay attention? Or does what we do with our allotted time on this little planet really not matter, one way or the other.

  3. Curious Forces (of Nature)I
    Curious Forces (of Nature)

    I can only imagine that this has something to do with CNN Headline News replacing their “news” with programming, much like MTV’s gradual departure from videos. Instead of “real news, real fast” (headlines every fifteen minutes), would-be newshounds are now subject to the insipid prime-time drivel of Showbiz Tonight and Nancy Grace. The network even has the audacity to replay these episodes in close succession, with the “fair and balanced” Ms. Grace warranting two replays in the same evening. Keep in mind that AOL/Time Warner already has an outlet for ratings-friendly programming on their non-Headline CNN channel, a.k.a. the Larry King network. So if we really need all of this noise during prime time, then shouldn’t NewsNight with Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper switch channels with Showbiz and Grace? If the network cares to maintain any semblance of integrity, it seems the least they could do.

    “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” ~Sir Isaac Newton

  4. You’re right, BV — basically
    You’re right, BV — basically with all this clamour between news and not-news, I guess we should appreciate whatever scraps of literary content fly by in the breeze, whether in book publications or any other medium.

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