Book review publications are failing across the board. Meanwhile, NBCC, a book review organization, is absorbed in gender counting. See:
NOT in figuring out how to make book reviews in particular, and the lit scene in general, more exciting. No. Instead: Gender Counting.
We have a collection of monothink people who all view literature the same narrowly constipated way, but within their slim ranks, they want to enforce rigid concepts of gender counting. Hmm. Not representation by class background. (Counting numbers of Ivy Leaguers might be an embarrassment!) Not diversity of viewpoint: populist versus “literary.” Gender counting. How will they enforce what they want? Can’t leave it up to individuals!
Women are in fact well-represented in most aspects of literature. They dominate many areas as it is: English Lit degrees; writing degrees; bookstore employees. God knows, with the feminization of the art, how they’ve avoided taking over book reviews—but I suspect that’s coming. They shouldn’t panic. Men are wildly underrepresented in colleges, and will soon be underrepresented among readers—if they aren’t now.
I notice New York Times Book Review Editor Pamela Paul is on the panel. She’s best known for her Atlantic essay, “Are Fathers Necessary?” which suggests as an answer: “No.” (She’s apparently never noticed the fate of young men raised in lower class areas without fathers. It’s not good.)
Likely the next item on Ms. Paul’s agenda, with full support from VIDA, NBCC, and other politically correct outfits, will be, “Are Men Necessary?” No use waiting for the answer. We know it.