Thursday, September 8, 2016
Another constituency heard from
For those misguided souls like me who can't get enough of the awful coverage of the Wolfe book, here is a breath of fresh air. Steven Poole (I think that this is him) has a short reasonable review in the Guardian (here) (Thx to David Hall for bringing it to my attention). The tone strikes me as just right, as is the main judgment. He notes that Wolfe's book is "a sad example of the interface of literary celebrity with publishing." Yup. Poole, however, is more optimistic than I am about the current state of publishing and critical thought among the high brow, for he continues by saying: "An author less famous and bankable than Wolfe would surely have been saved from such embarrassment by more critical editorial attention." If only. We have a natural experiment indicating otherwise, Knight's book which is by an unknown, has been published by Yale and is also deeply ignorant of the linguistic subject matter. It seems that anything goes when going after Chomsky. Why? Dunno. Maybe the threat his ideas presents are too great to take what he actually says as the subject matter for criticism. Maybe the aim is to make sure that they don't get discussed at all for fear that they will prove too persuasive. And what better way to prevent this than attacking straw men, and poorly fabricated ones at that.