Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Rage of a Rejected Writer

Mediabistro writes, “N.P. Thompson, a Seattle-based film critic who earned the nickname ‘notorious’ for his predisposition to pan everything, expressed his frustration with Slate's reviews section in the post-David Edelstein era — and, specifically, being rejected for publication in Slate — in an e-mail to editors Jacob Weisberg, Bryan Curtis and Meghan O'Rourke last night.”

Thompson wrote (in part), “Meghan O'Rourke gives the impression that living in a Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhood (preferably Brooklyn, and the more gentrified, the better) is pretty much the lone criterion of worth, and that if one lives outside the bubble, then she isn't going to read what a writer submits, nor will she even consider looking at a writer's clips, and beyond that, neither she nor Bryan Curtis will have the slightest interest in making a new discovery. What we have at Slate are editors hell-bent on preserving the shittiest, shallowest aspects of the status quo by slamming a door on anyone capable of upstaging their friends and neighbors, or their lovers.”

“And after Meghan has dodged reading your piece, sent you an absent-minded rejection letter that gives her entire show away, she will, in a week's time or so, have her assistant Blake Wilson send a second rejection letter in which he announces that the piece you've submitted ‘isn't write for Slate.’ That's w-r-i-t-e when he means r-i-g-h-t.”


Blogger Lons said...

You know, the guy comes off as kind of whiny in his letter, but I believe he's pretty accurate in his assessment of not just Slate, but modern entertainment/arts feature writing overall.

To put it simply, most writers reviewing music or film or theater for major publications suck. Horribly. A few weeks ago, I read a review of "Two Lane Blacktop" (which was showing at a revival screening in LA last week) in which the reviewer referred to actor Warren Oates as half of the 80's pop duo Hall and Oates. WHAT?

The Internet, on the other hand, is filled with creative, original writing by unknown, obscure authors. Why is it that the most talented people don't seem to work for Old Media publications, while all these talentless hacks and sycophants get published in Slate, Salon, the LA Weekly and other such papers and websites?

I have some socio-economic theories on why this might be, but it's still annoying.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Well, I was intrigued enough by Thompson's letter to see if he had any writing cred. I went to his web site, read a couple of reviews and was underwhelmed.

"To put it simply, most writers reviewing music or film or theater for major publications suck."

I tend to agree, but I think 'twas always so.
Why was James Agee the only celebrated film critic in America until Pauline Kael came along to usurp his title?
While both were entertaining and perceptive, it is also true that in the country of the blind, the one-eyed-man is king.

It so happens that I agree with the piece in Slate that ripped The Searchers.

"I have some socio-economic theories on why this might be."

And I'd like very much to read them. Write about it on your blog.

4:16 PM  

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