Monday, December 09, 2013

New Yorker minute

You know the famous Andy Warhol line... well, my quarter hour seems to have arrived! No less august a magazine than The New Yorker has seen fit to publish a review of my book - indeed, quite a long one (5 pages!). I haven't actually read it yet (you can, here). Why? Well, I learned of it from my editor, who sent an email saying

a fulsome treatment of your book in The New Yorker – did you see it? I don’t think you come across as Mr Rodgers, personally, but as they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Mister Rogers? It was Fred's Will Rogers reference made me a little uneasy. Usually you note that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about when pretty bad things are being said. So all I've done is checked the Mister Rogers reference:

In all this, Larrimore maintains a supremely tolerant position. He approves of the wealth of “interpretative openings and opportunities.” Everything is O.K. with him, and he thinks that whatever disagreements there are may lead to community. (This is interesting, since an absolutely crucial aspect of Job’s trial is that he suffers alone.) Such a latitudinarian approach is perhaps appropriate to a reception study, telling who thought what, and who, after them, thought something else, but eventually it comes to seem anti-intellectual. At times, Larrimore sounds like a kindly Unitarian minister, or like Mister Rogers.

That would hurt if I didn't make the same point about Job's solitary suffering in the book - admittedly among many points and in the context of medieval liturgies and Books of Hours, and again in the admittedly quite involved interpretation of Margarete Susman. It's true that I condemn those who too quickly condemn Job's friends... Just sayin'.

What also doesn't really hurt, though I think it's supposed to, is the reference to Mister Rogers. So I come across as nice? How, well, um, true! I can't remember when it was, but someone likened me to Mister Rogers once before; I rather liked it.

I'm wearing my red cardigan to school tomorrow!

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