Thursday, December 17, 2009

Meghan Daum's eulogy for Kirkus Reviews is based on an OK idea--better a pro than an am, in most cases. I think everyone has agreed on this for a while now; fine. But there's a couple of casual asides that, for me, pulled things to a stop. To wit:

Granted, at Kirkus many of those critics were anonymous freelancers who were paid about $50 per review (an executive salary compared to Publishers Weekly, which in 2008 dropped its rate from $45 to $25 per review). But as dangerous as it can be to instill power in reviewers who work for cheap (and are therefore less experienced), there's now an even more menacing form of arbiter in our midst: the customer reviewer.

Hold on a minute: "less experienced"? Says who? This is the kind of glass-tower presumption that, in 2009, holds no water at all. People who've been writing for years--writing well for years--struggle to keep afloat in publishing. Talent = paycheck has always been a specious notion, if only for backstage/political reasons. (Not to mention that unpopular opinions often lead to less work, or work for less money. And no, "unpopular opinions" does not ipso facto mean "bad writing.") Entitled much? As for, "Too often, the pretense of sharing advice devolves into oversharing the contours of one's navel"--I'm sorry, the sob story about maxing out her credit cards wasn't navel-gazing on which planet, again?