Surprise of the year: Franzen is being a jerk again.
Yes, he who snubbed Oprah and her “schmaltzy” book club, he who lacked the capacity to laugh at the ransom of a pair of glasses kidnapped from under his nose (quite literally), has climbed back onto his high horse again. The author of The Corrections and Freedom now declares in a new Guardian essay his disappointment in authors who turn to Twitter, lovingly casting himself as the reincarnation of Austrian satirist Karl Kraus, aka “The Great Hater.”
Not that you would know who that is, being a techno-communicating cretin and all. I mean, #karlkrausthegreathater takes up a big chunk of 140 characters.
I would explain more of Franzen’s essay for you, but like his other work, I didn’t get through it. So, I’ll just leave you with a link and some idiot friendly bullet points:
- “Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen.”
- “The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers, and of people with the money to pay somebody to churn out hundreds of five-star reviews for them, will flourish in that world. But what happens to the people who became writers because yakking and tweeting and bragging felt to them like intolerably shallow forms of social engagement? What happens to the people who want to communicate in depth, individual to individual, in the quiet and permanence of the printed word, and who were shaped by their love of writers who wrote when publication still assured some kind of quality control and literary reputations were more than a matter of self-promotional decibel levels?”
- “As fewer and fewer readers are able to find their way, amid all the noise and disappointing books and phony reviews, to the work produced by the new generation of this kind of writer, Amazon is well on its way to making writers into the kind of prospectless workers whom its contractors employ in its warehouses.”
And with that, I have to get back to Twitter. I think I’ll be in good company, what with Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Joanne Harris, Ian Rankin, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Fry, Salman Rushdie et al.
Besides, I’m kind of a sucker for the cat pictures.