Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Oy Vey Caucus Sits in Judgment of Philip Roth

Air that passes between Philip Roth's butt cheeks carries more grace and acumen than this latest take on his work à la New York magazine. For starters, it omits at least one of his early long (and critically undervalued) novels, Letting Go. Then it slings the same old mud, calling him a “(probable) misogynist,” and reduces the life of America’s premier novelist to a Powerpoint of half-witted quotes. And while the panel includes some of my favorite authors, among the likes of Salman Rushdie, Jonathan Lethem, David Bezmozgis, Katie Roiphe, Brian Morton and Bret Easton Ellis it also lists James Franco. Not that I have anything against Mr. Franco or his very earnest attempts at writing. But when I want deep insight into Philip Roth’s fiction I think of David Remnick and Claudia Roth Pierpont, not the giggling burnout from Pineapple Express. Oh, one other thing: of the 35 members of this very esteemed literary caucus only 5 are women—something to mull over while on a break from protesting Seth MacFarlane’s boob song.

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