The literature articles of Salon.com should come with a warning which states “Best read after jamming an ice pick into your frontal lobe, the better to blunt the pain of screaming entitlement,” and I know that, so really, I’m the asshole here for not having such a tool handy, to employ immediately after linking through to the site. I just want that out there. This is my fault.
That said, honestly, this has got to be just about the most incoherent piece of enviously fumbly writer spew I’ve read in a long time, and I’m having a really hard time winkling out what it’s actually trying to say. As best as I can tell it’s saying “Jennifer Weiner thinks she’s got it rough, but her problems aren’t really problems and it’s really men writers who have it rough because women actually read, but then again men writers get perks because they’re men, so, in sum, I’m doing fine even though I don’t sell a lot a books and also Jennifer Weiner should just shut up her best selling woman pie hole.”
I admit I’m condensing and paraphrasing. But that’s what I got out of it. In a sense it’s a tour de force, since it first asserts inequity against men, then acknowledges male privilege, and ends with mansplaining to a woman how she should feel. It’s like a triple axel directly into a pile of pig manure. It’s impressive in its way, but you have to question the wisdom of skating on shit to begin with.
In all seriousness: What was the point of this article, other than to allow this fellow to vent at Jennifer Weiner because she sells more than he does? How does Ms. Weiner’s success invalidate her point that the data suggests male writers are disproportionately featured in the nation’s premier literary review, whose influence resonates well beyond its own pages? It does not, and the article’s “Your facts may be technically correct but you’re the literary 1% so therefore what you have to say is invalid, and now having disposed of your irrelevant concerns, let me, as a man, tell you what the real scandal is, which involves us poor men” thing is so widely missing the point, and cluelessly dismissive of the point, that it’s a little breathtaking.
Do men writing mid-list literary fiction have a harder time of it than women? Got me; I write science fiction, where I have to tell you the men are doing just fine. But this fellow may be correct in his assertion; it may even be a topic on which an interesting article could be written, which then jumpstarts a conversation about the current state of the lit fic genre. I submit to you, however, this is not that article, nor does that article need to be surrounded with a bunch of fuming envy pointed in the direction of Jennifer Weiner, whose own point regarding the New York Times and its literature coverage is almost entirely unrelated to that other topic.
So, again: Am I missing something here? I don’t think I am. I will say this article confirms my long-standing opinion that the seven most damaging words in the English language for the reputation of any novelist might very well be “I just wrote an article for Salon.” Writer, beware.