Friday, August 11, 2006

Otto Penzler: still dissing chicks and their lit

Yesterday Booksquare linked to and commented on Otto Penzler's cranky article in Tuesday's The New York Sun. I left a comment over at Booksquare's place, along with a link to something I had posted about Mr. Penzler here at No rules more than a year ago.

After taking a look at that old post, I decided to point it out to you today, as many of you weren't reading this blog way back then. Give it a look, and be sure not to miss the readers' comments, which are hilariously scathing.

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J. Mark Bertrand said...

What I had a hard time figuring out was why the commercial-mindedness of Spillane was "honest" but coming from Jennifer Weiner it's bad. Seems to me that the "you may not like it, but [insert author here] has sold lots of books" argument is applicable, for better or worse, in both cases. If he'd said something like "the genre has its Spillanes, and now its needs its Chandlers," I'd have understood better.

Brenda Coulter said...

I did notice that contradiction, Mark, as I'm sure everyone else will. I chose not to mention it because life's just too short to point out every ridiculous thing Mr. Penzler says about writing and women.

Brenda Coulter said...

Hey, I just noticed that Sarah Weinman's linking to this post from Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. How cool is that?

pacatrue said...

By chance, I flipped by Prairie Home Companion on the radio this weekend, and they seemed to be doing their own slam of Chick Lit. However, in this case it was in the service of comedy and they were poking fun at everyone, not just chick lit. In the skit, we have a stuck up librarian who is only interested in Literature with a a capital L, and the audience is supposed to laugh at her. The library hosts a reading with a famous chick lit author who, per the comedy bit, apparently had been surgically enhanced with silicone and proceeded to do a breathy reading of a vacuous book where the protagonist's entire life hangs in the balance as she contemplates the red or black skirt to impress the man coming over. I think the PHC writers can get away with it somewhat, due to their equal opportunity flogging of all parties (and the fact that the comedic bit turns into a romance itself), but it still seemed a little rough, buying wholesale into all stereotypes of chick lit. There was certainly an implication that there was nothing of real merit to chick lit.

Brenda Coulter said...

Keillor writes most of those skits himself, Paca, and even when he pokes you in the ribs and says "Just kidding!" it's often quite clear that he is not. I didn't hear last week's program, but I've listened to PHC often enough to be well able to imagine what it was like. ;-)