In this week's journey into the intellectual bitchery that is known as the New York Times Book Review takes Intern Alexis into not one, but two different lesbian book reviews — and, in the absence of any real book news, this counts as a trend. Meanwhile, Dave Itzkoff continues to reach new levels of geekiness while writer Cynthia Ozrick gets a little dorky herself by responding to an unfavorable review with a freaking poem (the closest the Gray Lady will ever get to a "your momma" snap). After the jump, Alexis takes your hand and walks you through the pseudo-fray.
But sometimes it makes us a little uncomfortable when a poem on the letters page clearly reveals that the poet has gone crazy. This love-slash-uncomfortableness that we sometimes feel was certainly a factor when we read Cynthia Ozick's letter-slash-poem which she penned in response to Walter Kirn's dismissive review of her collection of essays "The Din in My Head."
Here is her poem. It's called: "How to Write a Literary Essay, by Walter Kirn":
No words too big, no brow too high.
Haunch lacks raunch, so just say thigh.
Stuck-up prose gets up your nose.
Edge is what the wise guy knows.
What's new is true, the rest is quaint.
What Trilling was is what you ain't.
If you don't agree with the dogma I bring
You are left behind (and surely right-wing).
So take my advice, and din it in your head:
The best is right now, because Trilling is dead.
Now it's your turn, Kirn, to go crazy. Write back and lay a killer limerick on Ozick's ass, yo.
Further supporting our theory that the New York Times Book Review is using Davie Itzkoff's semi-regular "Across the Universe" column to appeal to the Comic Book Guy from "The Simpsons" is Itzkoff's lede this week:
Perhaps the surest sign that I paid too much for my college education is the amount of time my classmates and I spent in a freshman philosophy seminar debating the metaphysical underpinnings of the technology on "Star Trek": What exactly happens to your body, and to your mind, when the transporter beam disintegrates you in one place and reassembles you someplace else? If the simulated human beings created by the holodeck can convince you, and themselves, that they possess consciousness, are they not, in fact, alive? Could dilithium crystals have any recreational uses?
There were two books about lesbians reviewed in this week's New York Times Book Review! Catherine Friend's "Hit By a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn" as reviewed by Katherine (with a "K" this time!) Lanpher and Mary Cheney's "Now It's My Turn: A Daughter's Chronicle of Political Life," which was reviewed by Alexandra Jacobs. Not sure why we're wasting our time and yours pointing this out, but may we go so far as to say that lesbian writing is to mid-summer as baseball writing is to mid-spring? Just some food for thought for a lazy Tuesday afternoon in July.