Results tagged “Boston Globe” from critical difference
We know now that J.D Salinger was no recluse, despite what the headlines say. He shut the larger world out, but he did it with help from his neighbors: the people of his tiny New Hampshire town, who closed ranks around him to keep outsiders at bay.
There's a story to that effect in tomorrow's New York Times, and The Boston Globe had one yesterday. But it's a local paper that deserves the credit for the scoop. The Valley News broke the story on Friday, two days after Salinger's death, in an utterly charming piece by Susan J. Boutwell and Alex Hanson. It's the kind of story that only local journalists would realize was there to be reported. It probably couldn't have been broken by the big guys even if they had known, because who among the famous author's neighbors would have opened up to them?
There was a startling melancholy to a street scene in Chelsea yesterday, just off Eighth Avenue. An old Boston Globe delivery truck, now with New York plates, idled at the curb, removed from its native habitat, disconnected from its original purpose. The painted lettering that betrays its past life is only partly scraped off, legible enough to lend the new owners -- a Brooklyn firewood delivery business -- a certain retro cool.
But melancholy is the mood where newspapers are concerned. A reporter friend, as weary as I am -- as we all are -- of the endless coverage of newspapers' demise, roused himself from his professional ennui the other day to recommend a stellar essay on the subject. I was skeptical; who wouldn't be? But Richard Rodriguez's "Final Edition," in the current issue of Harper's Magazine, is lovely, literary, smart: the kind of thing that reminds you why you fork over money to read good writing -- which you'll have to do for this, even online.
We are a nation dismantling the structures of intellectual property and all critical apparatus. We are without professional book reviewers and art critics and essays about what it might mean that our local newspaper has died. We are a nation of Amazon reader responses (Moby Dick is "not a really good piece of fiction"--Feb. 14, 2009, by Donald J. Bingle, Saint Charles, Ill.--two stars out of five). We are without obituaries, but the famous will achieve immortality by a Wikipedia entry.
Like all the best obits, Rodriguez's essay tells us what's been lost, and why it matters, not least to our sense of place. But, as he points out, "An obituary does not propose a solution."
If only Alice Hoffman had given a thought to David Shipley and Will Schwalbe's "Send" before she raged on Twitter Sunday about Roberta Silman's Boston Globe review of her new novel, "The Story Sisters."
I sympathize with Hoffman; truly I do. I haven't read her book, but I've read the review, and Silman's writing is pedestrian -- inelegant. Any spoilers the review contains, as Hoffman says it does, are inexcusable. (And, though I don't believe this figured in the tweets, did the editor have to run quite such an unflattering photo of her?)
But sending messages out to the world is not generally a good idea for someone in the grip of fury. That's where the advice from "Send," a book of e-mail etiquette, comes in.
"Nothing bad can happen if you haven't hit the Send key," Shipley and Schwalbe write.
Or the Update button. Whichever.