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.