Litblog Roundup 2014-12-08
The weekly liblog roundup features the latest highlights from the world of literary blogs.
The New, The New Republic
Today in Tabs , and yesterday, has coverage of recent developments at the venerable publication, The New Republic. I can’t do a better roundup, so I’ll quote two entire paragraphs.
Established white dudes in journalism felt a disturbance in the Force yesterday afternoon, that soon erupted into a full-fledged Clone War . History’s luckiest roommate, Chris Hughes, who bought The New Republic in 2012 had apparently,in his trademark passive-aggressive style, allowed editor Frank Foer to become fired and neglected to disagree with the becoming-hired of his replacement Gabriel Snyder . Without actually saying or doing anything, Hughes somehow caused to be conveyed the fact that questionably literate former Yahoo News bro and public laptop stroker Guy Vidra is now firmly in charge. Important Journalists were quite vexed! IMPLOSION OF A WASHINGTON INSTITUTION , wrote Dylan Byers. Lloyd Grove got deeply shady in The Daily Beast, comparing the departure of most of the magazine’s staff to the Red Wedding . Former staff such as Jonathan Chait, David Grann, Cass Sunstein, and Ryan Lizza were so upset that they momentarily forgot they don’t still work there and quit again . “ Cancel! Unfollow! Unfriend! ” the cries of vexation echoed through the halls of extremely secure career journalism from the tip of Manhattan all the way to the lower edges of the Flatiron District. Chait eulogized the 100 year old former home ofStephen Glass , and so did Freddie deBoer, in a slightly different way . For some, however, the grief was simply too intense for words . For more on this developing story: ask literally any white man.
You didn’t think we were done complaining about Chris Hughes yet, did you? Oh you poor deluded sap, no! We won’t be done until literally every person who has ever read The New Republic has registered his (yes, his) Take on it. Can we start with the best one? Former TNR intern Max Fisher has a pretty self-recriminating tab about how willing all these denouncing daisies were to take Marty Peretz’s racist money. Slate’s Seth Stevenson tracks the backlash and the backlash to the backlash , but mainly he seems to be mad about Leah Finnegan’s Gawker mockery of the white-man handwringing over which white man is in charge of the very white man institution. I’m sure a solid half-dozen of you will be disappointed to hear that the December issue is canceled , but Chris Hughes did publish what may be the blandest, most pro-forma Vision For Journalism’s Future ever on his pal Jeff Bezos’s blog (possibly because he couldn’t figure out how to work The New Republic’s CMS , according to Glenn Fleishman). Dana Milbank, a writer who was once banned from Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show, filed this tear-stained column and then took a really long nap with his favorite blankie and ate a whole pint of ice cream. Clive Crook had what might be the sanest take, in Bloomberg View: “ Whatever. There are more important things to worry about. ”
The Myth of the Full-Time Writer
“ The myth of the full-time writer is a perniciously sticky one—and it doesn’t help that once in a blue moon a J.K. Rowling does come along, thereby entrenching the cultural delusion that being a full-time writer is a thing that could realistically happen. But the truth is that being a full-time writer is basically just the literary equivalent of a career in the NBA.” Liz Entman Harper interviews seven writers who discuss how they manage to cram the act of writing into their already crammed lives. (Via The Millions , where there’s more on that subject, with Working the Double Shift , an essay by Emily St. John Mandel.)
NaNoWriMo is So Last Mo
National Novel Writing Month concluded with the end of last month. How did it go? What’s it like to draft an entire novel in one single month? One writer, Shawn White, managed to blog the experience of NaNoWriMo , in addition to drafting a novel.
Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror
It can be occasionally frustrating when, at an open mic literary reading, the usual three minute limit cuts off some good work. Why must all writings fit into tidy three minute packages? I say “occasionally frustrating” because the limit is more often a savior from mediocrity than it is a sore spot for masterminds. I was glad to see that Silliman’s Blog doesn’t have such a three minute constraint, even though it does have Twitter and YouTube. This week, there’s a post with a recording of John Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, in all of its twenty-nine minutes.
All of the “Best of”
The year-end onslaught of lists that list the “best books of 2014” continues, with an update from Largehearted Boy . The updates will continue daily until the onslaught abates.