Carmen Electra is 37 today. Jessica Lange is 60. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens turns 89. Real estate mogul Bill Rudin is turning 54. Ryan O'Neal is 68. Author Heidi Julavits is 41. Victoria's Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr turns 26. NFL Network chief Steve Bornstein turns 57. Artist Matthew Day Jackson is 35. George Takei of Star Trek fame is turning 72. Journalist Andrew Tobias is 62. And '80s sitcom star Joey Lawrence turns 33 today.
Heidi Julavits, the editor of the McSweeney's-distributed book review mag, The Believer, has a problem with "snark" which she describes as a "hostile, knowing, bitter tone of contempt." She'd probably hate Gawker. (Although I think her definition is totally inaccurate with regard to actual intentions.) The magazine was, in part, prompted by a nasty review written by one of her ex-husband's friends, although she denies that any antipathy for her ex caused her to react so violently to the review. "It's definitely bizarre," she says, "but Dave Eggers is friends with Sam and whatever, so it's alleverybody knows everybody in one way or another." [Emphasis mine. You'll see that again. Like, tomorrow. Stay tuned.] In defense of snark: criticism is not always hostility. Sometimes, it's just honest feedback.
Hunting snark: Heidi Julavits stomps a virus. [Observer]
YankTheChain's Eric Rosenfield reviews Heidi Julavits' literary criticism mag, The Believer, and makes a case for Why Dave Eggers Isn't So Bad and Why The Believer Isn't All Crap. [My description; not his.] His argument sounds familiar: Eggers/Julavits/McSweeney's have their faults, but at least they're trying to stir things up. The less polite version usually goes something like this: "Dave Eggers sucks. McSweeney's sucks. But, hey, indie publishing is cool. (Very small, nearly insignificant) kudos to Eggers on that one!" A friend of Rosenfield's disagrees: "Our own JF Quackenbush has trouble discussing Eggers without using phrases like 'subliterate postmodern flippancy.' I told him I was going down the McSweeney's Store in Brooklyn for research and asked him if he wanted me to ask anything; he said, 'please ask them to knock it off.'"
Regarding Dave Eggers [YankTheChain]
As previously reported, Dave Eggers of McSweeney's is distributing a new magazine called The Believer (the brainchild of Heidi Julavits). The "indie" publication features pieces by up-and-coming "indie" writers like Salman Rushdie, Robert Olmstead, and Anne Carson. (Oh wait, it's "Be Nice to Celebrities Day." Sorry. This is very painful for me.) Actually a friend of mine subscribed and says it's very good and it even "smells nice"always the mark of high-quality literature. I haven't seen it yet, so it's probably quite lovely. I'd probably even like itand hate myself for liking it. (See? That was nice...ish.)
New magazine has an abiding faith in the good book review [LA Times]
UPDATE: Felix Salmon reviews The Believer, a magazine about reviews.
The Believer [FelixSalmon.com]
It has been pointed out that McSweeney's is selling subscriptions to a new monthly publication called The Believer that's co-edited by Heidi Julavits, which perhaps means that The Balloonist was never The Balloonist, but The Believer.
The Believer: 12 issue subscription [McSweeney's store via The White Shoe Irregular]
An insider tells us that The Balloonist will be published by "Heidi Julavits" and "some other guy whose name I couldn't remember." But "Dave [Eggers] is distributing the magazine, not publishing it. It will in no way bear his stamp."