The Last Curse in Pandora's Box

I had hoped that Romenesko -- the clearing house for news about what is happening in American journalism -- might link to my column from last week about how the Austin-American Statesman was going against the current by having regular coverage of books from university presses. I know that at least a couple of people submitted it as a tip.

But Romenesko almost always ignores anything having to do with cultural journalism. Steve Wasserman's recent piece in CJR was completely right. You should never underestimate the anti-intellectualism fostered by newsroom culture.

Thanks to Galley Cat and Conversational Reading for the links, however.

Letting the literary blogosphere know about this development is fine, but to have any chance of persuading people at other papers to emulate the Statesman's example, it really needed to be linked at Romenesko.

I keep thinking I've given up all hope on this score, only to find that there is still a little bit of it left that must be purged from my system.

November 28, 2007 11:10 AM | | Comments (2)



This article is very meaningful to me. At 73, its been a very discouraging trend to watch the steady ant-inellectualism, thus disdain for the arts and CULTURE in general. The Houston Chronicle just terminated the visual art critic. This was a mixed blessing as she was too obviously coterie biased, lazy and very vendictive,sort of a Roberta Smith of the SW. Her predecessors worked hard, reviewed much, were as objective as one could expect about subjective manners and obviously they are gone. The real point is that the coverage and quality had steadily diminished when Patricia Johnson took over, 26 years ago and hs now diminished to zero.The current Cheney(w)
JUNTA represents this same dimissal of culture and journalists continue to let it happen. May MSM perish ASAP. My the Web take over if Coms**t, AT&T,an Verizon don't destroy it first, with the K-Street Congress assisting all the way.

Thanks for letting me rant about this lose. PLEASE keep pressing this issue. And I went to the jounalist links you included and spewed there as well.
Love this site, HJB

From my review of Gail Pool's book on newspaper book reviewing, Faint Praise:

"[The fact that some journalism schools are now offering classes in reviewing is] "also encouraging because of the baseline anti-intellectualism of American newspapers. Journalists haven't devoted book-length studies to reviewing because, like so much in the press, it's viewed more as a craft, as something aimed at Any Straphanger with a 5th Grade Education, than something needing or deserving intellectual consideration. It's still the case at many newspapers that pop music critics and video game critics, for example, are chosen among the youngest, most inexperienced staff members because, presumably, they're more "in touch with the young 'uns." And besides, that's all the subjects are worth. It'll keep the kids away from the important, influential, thoughtful, Pulitzer-winning stuff. Like writing editorial columns getting the Iraq War wrong.

Actually, I often find our newspapers' Front Page anti-intellectualism profoundly healthy, especially in its disrespect for authority. But as Ms. Pool indicates, in such an environment, it's hard, even paradoxical, to pursue any sort of intellectual endeavor (that is, anything requiring more than gut instinct or a five-star rating system). A real review, after all -- not a blurb, not an Entertainment Weekly paragraph with a B plus -- is a demonstration of, an argument for, the reviewer's authority."

Leave a comment

Recent Work

Fidel Castro: My Life 
A review from Newsday
40 Years of "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" 
Marking the anniversary of Harold Cruse's great book
Style and Grace 
A review of a book by the late, great Grace Paley from ... sheesh, almost ten years ago.
Oh, Canada 
National identity -- going south?
The LaRouche Tabernacle Choir 
An interview with me about the LaRouche movement, on Pacifica radio in Los Angeles
Open Library 
An interview with Aaron Swartz, one of the developers....
Sailing From Ithaka 
The new report calling for a digital platform for scholarly publishing deserves a wide audience


Battle of the Titans 
Dinesh D'Souza and Alan Wolfe debating? Imagine a slime mold in conflict with a patch of mildew. It's just that inspiring.
To the Tehran Station 
Not about Edmund Wilson
more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on November 28, 2007 11:10 AM.

Reading Lists was the previous entry in this blog.

The Menace of Urban Youth is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.