enough already

I’ve decided to give up reading the dozen or so blogs that (1) pride themselves on their literary acumen and taste; and (2) take it upon themselves to move beyond flogging others who do not live up to their standards to trying to get them booted off the web. This includes Mark’s The Elegant Variation (he’s the one that pushed me past the point of no return with his Dump the Book Babes petition; more below), Sam at Golden Rule Jones, Daniel of The Reading Experience, and a host of others. I’m so pissed that I’m not even going to include links to their blogs, so if you want to read their side of this, you’ll have to go find them.

here’s the thing. There’s a column at Poynter Online (news for the journalism community) called Book Babes, written by two women. It’s supposed to be, as I understand it, about the publishing industry, for its insiders. But TEV decided that they weren’t doing a good enough job as so he started a petition to have the column handed over to somebody else. Who? He doesn’t say, but he wants somebody more literary. More in tune with his view of literary, at any rate.

Let me be clear: I don’t particularly like the Book Babes column, and I don’t think they helped matters with the column in which they responded to the petition (nor did Mark with his response to that column). In this back and forth, a lot of very complex issues got jumbled together, things to do with gatekeeping (and that is the issue here, no matter what the LitCrit Police would like to claim); elitism (which I admit, pushes all my buttons; and yes, I have a Princeton PhD — that’s precisely where I learned to hate the pompous academic oriented literature types); censorship; reading as a cultural experience; definitions of good and bad in storytelling; and the nature of the publishing industry.

I never have read the Book Babes and I won’t be starting. It’s not my claim that they deserve a huge readership, just that they don’t deserve to be dumped on by the self-annointed LitCrit Police, who I won’t be reading anymore. However, if and when one of them has a novel come out, I’ll read that. And you’ll hear about it here.

Postscript: someone who wishes to remain nameless sent to a link to this article (“It’s a Little Too Cozy in the Blogosphere”) by Jennifer Howard (dated November 16 2003 at washingtonpost.com). Note this memorable paragraph:

What began as the ultimate outsider activity — a way to break the newspaper and TV stranglehold on the gathering and dissemination of information — is turning into the same insider’s game played by the old establishment media the bloggerati love to critique. The more blogs you read and the more often you read them, the more obvious it is: They’ve fallen in love with themselves, each other and the beauty of what they’re creating. The cult of media celebrity hasn’t been broken by the Internet’s democratic tendencies; it’s just found new enabling technology.

Jennifer Howard has a website; there is also a discussion of her Washington Post article on blogging,
here
. And yes, I picked up on this late, but then I don’t usually read the Washington Post.

fictional genealogy

So the weekend was taken up with more seasonal insanity, including dinner with some neighbors (one of whom produced the X-Files, and tells wonderful stories about his many years in the business), and baking cookies (put two of my favorite recipes up on the forum) and otherwise running around. Except for Farscape, of course, and Angels in America (on HBO) I’ve had little sit-down time at all.

bonner family tree

But I wrote well on Friday and today I’ve already got some serious words down, including finishing a possible foreword for the new novel that recaps the first three. While I was putting it together I wished for some heavy duty concordance software that would just chug away and spit out all the details nicely formatted. Tell me, oh software, on what page in ITW do we first get a good look at Curiosity’s eyes?

As a part of the process I did a full family tree on my genealogy software (Reunion, which is excellent, by the way, but only for us sensible enough to be on a Mac). It produces nice graphics if you ask it politely, like this waterfall tree of the Bonner family genealogy. you can click on it to get a better look. WARNING! The chart contains spoilers... as Erin points out in a comment, below. Thanks, Erin.