Well, I’m back from the
Madagascarian Malagasy institution. The electroshock therapy has worked wonders. The only downside is the fluttering at the back of my head — feels like a butterfly is trapped in there — but at least I’m burning more calories. And of course I’ve got a new pile of stamps. Or I did have a pile until I stuck them all over my apartment and cats. I tried to stick one on Mr. Maud while he was sleeping, but he was dreaming about fighting off a biker gang and he accidentally punched me in the shoulder.
Anyway. Those are mostly lies, except for the part about being back. So, hi. And many, many thanks to CAAF and Stephany for taking the helm while I’ve been gone and for steering the site in a smart, fun direction. (And Steph, post any old time, not just on Fridays!)
I wanted to agree briefly with Stephany’s post about last week’s NY Times article discussing a student’s deconstruction of the gender, race and location preferences in New Yorker fiction. Deborah Treisman, New Yorker Fiction Editor, is quoted as saying that the study “gives you a new way of looking at these stories which would not have occurred to me. Do I walk away thinking, ‘Now I have to think about gender and race and location in selecting stories?’ No.”
This remark is dumbfounding. I suppose Treisman means to imply that she selects the very best stories, period, regardless of gender and race and location. But I don’t see how it follows that thinking about gender and race and location will somehow interfere with that selection process. After all, choosing the “best” story is a very subjective thing. It’s not a horse race. Stories written by men, about the concerns of men, don’t automatically cross the finish line first. Someone has to decide they do. How would it hurt to be mindful of your magazine’s historical biases?
I agree. What’s more, given that Treisman has expressed interest in publishing international writers and is attuned to “sudden release[s]” of good writing from particular regions of the world, her response seems more than a little disingenuous.