Sunday, September 05, 2010

Franzenfreude?

I won't offer my opinion on Mr. Franzen. Who would care anyway? But I do offer this link to a Slate article on the criticism of the NY Times male slant.

Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. One could easily extend the criticism to lots of other categories, though. For example, what do their percentages look like on reviews by authors of color? What about male vs female people of color?

Personally, The Times has actually been quite good to me. When I was a literary historical novelist they gushed. When I became a somewhat more commercial historical novelist they were still pretty good to me. When I became a fantasy novelist...

Okay, well at that point I ceased to exist for them. But three out of five ain't bad. Fortunately, it was offset by all the other readers for whom I sudden popped into existence. Always trade offs...

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Juba the Wolf said...

"Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. One could easily extend the criticism to lots of other categories, though. For example, what do their percentages look like on reviews by authors of color? What about male vs female people of color?"

I agree completely, David.

But then again, race, sex, and genre discrimination aren't limited to the NY times book review--but enshrined to a great extent in literary academia as well.

Honestly, I stopped reading the NY Times years ago--about the time Judith Miller broke the camel's back with her Iraq 'reporting'.

Shawn

11:43 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yep. I've got nothing against the Times. They are what they are, and in lots of ways that's terrific. I don't really object to a newspaper having a slant in terms of the books and authors they review. They're doing it based on the readers they think they have.

I chaff a bit at an organization that claims not to have bias and then exhibits it despite themselves, but such is life.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Juba the Wolf said...

"I chaff a bit at an organization that claims not to have bias and then exhibits it despite themselves, but such is life."

Like Fox News, "Fair and Balanced"? :)

No news source (or human for that matter) is truly unbiased, but it's a concept worth striving for, and a good place to start as a journalist, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. we have this blue-state/red state mentality when it comes to news--MSNBC are cheerleaders for the Democrats, FOX for the Republicans. If you're looking for a mainstream source openly critical of both parties, whoever happens to be in power-you're out of luck.

On the other hand, many on the political right malign the NYTimes as a part of the 'liberal media', when in fact they are anything but, being status quo (i.e. truly conservative) on most issues of the day.

For an old lefty like myself, I find my news/politics/culture via the web, from independent sites that cater more to my sensibilities.

Shawn

10:04 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Mr. Wolf,

I've long since taken Fox's "Fair and Balanced" as completely tongue and cheek. It's a bit of a "screw you" to to the general public. It's so absurd a notion that I got to give them props for gumption. They got that.

I like your analysis of the Times, too. They are conservative in a real sense - that they're cautious and professional and very intent on staying a mainstream voice of news for the world. True enough.

You may know that I lean left, but I have to admit that doesn't mean I want my news coverage to be slanted left in the same way Fox slants right. It's manipulation and simplification either way. So... while I'll probably vote the same way Keith Oberman does almost all the time I sometimes have a bad taste in my mouth watching him.

But... that was in the past, actually, since in my MA home we choose not to have tv reception. (I was in CA and CO for three years - that's when I was watching a lot of cable news.) Nowadays I'm back to National Public Radio for most of my news. I like it a lot. I do have small quibbles with them, but most of the time I feel like I'm listening to a real discussion of real news. I love it that they don't cover a lot of the non-news that takes up so much time on cable channels. That alone, I think, boosts my IQ. (Or, at least doesn't sink it like spending time with Greta Van Sustren does.)

6:19 PM  

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