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Friday, October 29, 2004

 

More Crap from Big Time Publishing

So Where's the Zeitgeist? It Looks Just Like College
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI

Yet once again one of the "don't trouble us with your submissions, you nobodies" big time publishers has issued another piece of crap, in this case Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Priced at $28.95, I wish they'd give the weight rather than the number of pages (676.) That way we'd know how much they want per ounce for crap.

Not only has a mega-publisher issued more expensive feces from one of their brand-name writers into the world of reading, but the New York Times has wasted ink and space reviewing it.

A quote from the review: "Though Mr. Wolfe tries to gussy things up with his hyperventilated prose and a noisy arsenal of narrative bells and whistles, most of his observations will be overwhelmingly familiar to anyone who has been to college, sent children to college or gone to the movies. We're told that athletes look down on studious types as pathetic wonks, academic types look down on athletes as stupid jocks, and the wildest of wild frat boys look down on just about everyone else. We're also told that there are racial tensions between the black and white players on the basketball team, and that most of the players get academic breaks their classmates don't.

Other observations feel peculiarly dated: gallons and gallons of beer are consumed by the characters but drugs are hardly mentioned, and Britney Spears and the 1978 movie "Animal House" are cited as cultural touchstones. Mr. Wolfe's depictions of the cultural wars on campus over multiculturalism and gay rights have a faintly stale 90's smell to them, as do his depictions of arguments about athletics and academic standards."

Alas and alack! And why is the publishing world in decline? This sure doesn't deepen the mystery. It will stay in decline until publishers look for new talent and reviewers start writing about it.

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