Posted January 29, 2008on:
I haven’t even read past the first paragraph yet and I’m in my “office” (with two other grad students) but I just signed up for the thing, damn it, and look what they’ve gone and done to me (to me). Long time readers know how I feel about such moves so my response was quick and visceral.
Few minutes later:
But McConnell promised that Bookforum “will remain a book review. I imagine it will be broken down roughly in thirds—one third fiction, one third academic and one third current affairs, but book based.”
Noooooooo! No, no, no, no, no. It doesn’t work. It’s not going to remain literary. It won’t. I’ve seen it at other periodicals. They may review books but the criticism never fails to focus on the ideological to the exclusion of practically all else and it’s no use pretending otherwise. Didn’t I praise you guys for not resorting to this two months ago?
They don’t do the really really long journal-type articles either, but give moderate, even space to a lot of different kinds of books, as much fiction as non-fiction, and not a lot of politics, bless their hearts, but more focused on various cultural figures and movements, artists, musicians. Do you know how rare it is to find great, smart magazines that don’t feel they have to stuff their pages with a bunch of stuff on Iraq and Abraham Lincoln to be taken seriously? This is love!
You’re not fooling me. Don’t think you’re going to hide under the “it’s all books, luv!” and not have me point out that that doesn’t necessitate the coverage being literary or about culture. (I hope all the artsy/music stuff falls under that one third given to academic. You’re not pushing out stuff on awesomely (to me) eccentric French musicians I’d never heard of before so you can publish yet another damn review on a Tariq Ramadan book. ) I’m finding myself a multibillionaire husband so I can fund in perpetuity my own god damned magazine since apparently one can’t depend on subscribers to fund anything approaching my ideal.
Few more minutes later:
Oh, and you see what happens there? Non-fiction will now “roughly” take up two thirds of the publication. All of my beautiful, beautiful fiction reviews…gone! So I can read ANOTHER critique on George W. Bush, another insight into the mysterious Islamic mind. I’m not even entertaining the hope that their current affairs section will cover any issue one couldn’t find in a host of other publications.