Steve Wasserman Interview

Critical Mass has a really interesting interview with Steve Wasserman following up on some of the ideas Wasserman wrote about in Goodbye to All That, a long piece on book reviewing he recently published in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Both the article and the interview are worth checking out, and although bloggers will inevitably attack John Freeman for some of his questions, I found the stuff about reviews on the internet to be quite interesting.

Q: It seems if anything, one of the largest impacts the web might have on reviewing is the pushing forward of an even more subjective model of reviewing (with blogs, etc). I suppose you could argue that any review which pretends toward objective is telling you a lie. Still, what do you think the impact of this will be on literary conversation?

A: Good writing (which is to say, good thinking) will always triumph over bad writing (which is to say, bad thinking). The problem here is the technical ease with which the web dignifies shoddy thought by presenting it in a way that aesthetically (justified margins, graceful fonts, pleasing format) confers an unwarranted gravitas upon even the most coarse and supercilious of opinions. Thus, the web permits a thousand flowers to blossom as well as a thousand stinking roses. In the end, however, content rules.

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