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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Literary Bias in "The New York Times" Confirmed

With the news of the Brooklyn Book Festival out on Sunday, September 14th, and the announcement on the "News" section of the "Paul Auster Definitive Website," it was with some excitement that I ventured over to the NYT Book Review to seek out news of "The Great White Jewish One." Well, a total omission of Paul Auster from the reported festivities has now confirmed with long-standing-rag-passing-as-a-newspaper" status (at least in my mind). You'll have to forgive my Ad Hominems, but I just can't understand. It's almost like the case of Jim Carrey not winning an Oscar for many of his absolutely brilliant performances. I am not a fan of Jim Carrey, but I've heard speculation from people who know that he must have really pissed off some people over at the Academy. Fans continue to wonder why Carrey hasn't won an Oscar for the performances he gave in "Man on the Moon," "The Truman Show," or "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Could it be because he started out as a comedian? Not enough serious for the Academy to consider? Just like Paul Auster (who has ventured into other art mediums), Carrey seems to have stepped on some toes. Paul Auster's only fault is to write first-rate literary novels (and write and direct some of the top meaningful films today)... guess that's enough to throw people into fits of jealousy. Case in point: Tom LeClair. I guess I can't throw the same accusation at him that I threw at Kakutani, that of Hemingway's blow to his critics... something to the effect that "they [the critics] take something you've done and worked hard and tear it apart but couldn't bring themselves to create something like it in a million years." I can't level this at Mr. LeClair because he is a novelist and should know better.

I said in my previous post regarding the review of "Man in the Dark" that I must really sound like a high school girl defending her crush on the varsity quarterback 20 years after the fact, but I can't help to question the NYT absolute hostility to Paul Auster, a New York (and Brooklyn) institution in his own right. Here's the most recent review from the NYT Book Review, this time written by Tom LeClair. HERE is the link. Contrary to the previous one by Michiko Kakutani, this one levels covert and subversive criticism over Auster's "audacity" to in turn criticize the critics. The protagonist of "Man in the Dark" happens to speak, not very fondly about his own life as a literary critic. So, that's the reason why this book is "not as good as previous work by Auster?"

I submit the following: Tom LeClair's novel has just been published. Is he perhaps fishing for a nice review from a fellow NYT reviewer? Is he doing this because--as far as I know--he can't hold up to the genius level of Paul Auster's work. If you are reading this, Mr. LeClair, and you think that I am hiding behind a blog and talking tough, you can send me an email and we can arrange for a meeting. I'd be happy to show you how we (back in the day) used to deal with this type of unfair character assassination down in the South Bronx where I grew up. You may take the boy out of the South Bronx, make him a teacher, a literary man, and a deep thinker, but you can't take the South Bronx out of the boy. If you ever decide to be a real man, gimme' a call, or else, "fuggetaboutit."

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