Saturday, December 09, 2006

Stalking the Wild Itzkoff, Part Two

Continuing the incestuous Usenet-to-Blogger connection from Stalking the Wild Itzkoff, here are some more posts of mine on the subject...

Johan Larson remarked that there were probably dozens of people more qualified than Itzkoff to do his job, and I replied tersely:
To get a job at the Times, you first need to be someone known to the Times. I don't think most SFF types qualify.
Johan then suggested (being a voice of reason) that the Times should have advertised in Locus. I'm not a voice of reason -- I'm a cynical bastard -- so I shot back:
You're assuming the Times knows -- or cares -- about Locus. Or that they advertise for any reviewing position. Or that, even if they did advertise a reviewing job, they'd consider the skiffy beat worthy of that. All completely unwarranted assumptions.

Remember, the Times is real -- it's "the paper of record." Things are important because they say they're important, and so the things they ignore are by definition unimportant.

We are the outsiders; they are the insiders. If we complain, they're sure it's because we are outsiders, and it only solidifies their image of us.
Johan replied again, and Mike Schilling got into it, too (the whole discussion is interesting; you should go and read it), and, well, here's me again:
Exactly. Read the NYTBR's introduction to Itzkoff, and Itzkoff's first column -- they explicitly say that his job is to find the "good" stuff in our very, very "geeky" genre, and present it so that "real readers" will try it.

In short, you could say that we're being condescended to if there was any reason to believe they cared what we think at all.
And Johan, following that up, asked if there was any metric by which Itzkoff was succeeding (and didn't, himself, think there was a major one). This very evening, I spake thusly:
I think the NYTBR editors are probably pretty happy with Itzkoff; he's choosing relatively populist things that have some lit-snob appeal (without calling anyone's category definitions into question), and presenting them in a cheery, lookie-what-I-found way.

They gave him the cover for a SF-related book, which has got to be some kind of seal of approval.

Again, we're not the people they're talking to. They don't seem to care what the people who already read SF think.
And that's the state of play right now.

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