Let's say you're a woman who's worked hard, climbed the ladder, and risen to the very pinnacle of your profession—a historic achievement. You're taken seriously as a writer, a thinker, and a boss; you alone have the power to set the agenda for how many of our most important issues are covered by the national and international media. You have made it. Why—hypothetically speaking—would you not shut up about your stupid dog?
I mean, great, you have a dog, congratulations. A dog is its own reward, is it not? And sure, we expect you to mention it to your friends. Tell folks around the office. Put a few puppy pictures on Facebook. Perhaps—perhaps—even change your computer screen saver.
What we explicitly expect you not to do is to write an entire book about your god damn puppy dog, and to release that book just as you are assuming your position as editor of the world's most influential newspaper, so that the primary thing you become known for, right away, is your affinity for golden retrievers. And even if you were to make the awful mistake of doing all of that, we certainly expect you not to assign your own paper's review of your own self-evidently self-indulgent book to the motherfucker who wrote motherfucking Marley & Me.
That would just be too much.
"The Puppy Diaries," based on a popular online column Ms. Abramson wrote for The Times from July 2009 to May 2010, is her account of the first year with a beautiful but predictably high-energy golden retriever. The book is a worthy addition to the crowded so-called dogoir genre, primarily for the candid glimpse it offers into the softer, personal - yes, even cuddly - side of one of the world's most influential opinion shapers.
Allow me to propose an alternate theory: it is not a worthy addition to crowded so-called dogoir genre. A correlative of this theory holds that the so-called dogoir genre is little more than the bathroom reading material in Hell. If I were to put a precise numerical measure on the amount of information that I—and, I would boldly predict, the vast majority of other New York Times readers—would like to know about Scout the Golden Retriever, that number would be the folowing: Zero. Zero is how much I would like to know about your god damn dog. If that state of affairs changes, the editor of the world's most influential newspaper will surely be the first to know.
But for now, let's stick with zero.
[Photo via Beverly & Pack/ Flickr]