Comments: Michiko Kakutani Jets In From The Late 1800s To Smack Around Thomas Frank

Sometimes with critics, it doesn't matter what they are reviwing and the truth doesn't count for anything. They have something to say and they are going to say it.

Posted by cemmcs at August 20, 2008 04:30 PM

a literary convention known as a "footnote"

LOLOL

Posted by Cloud at August 20, 2008 04:42 PM

Holy crap. I fear for Somerby's blood pressure.

I can't remember how many times a similar false claim has been made recently. As I recall, the WaPo review of Al Gore's book claimed he didn't have footnotes, although he had an extensive endnote section.

But then, writing reviews is much easier when one decides on the verdict beforehand.

Posted by Batocchio at August 20, 2008 04:53 PM

"Whether her education was a catastrophic failure, or worked exactly as intended, is a judgment you'll have to make yourself."
Both?

Posted by Dick Durata at August 20, 2008 05:07 PM

Well, surely this is just an isolated instance and Kakutani doesn't have a long record of saying pleasing, misleading things about the books she reviews.

What?

Posted by The Dead Bodies at August 20, 2008 05:45 PM

I was curious about what the footnote for that complaint would be, but still didn't want to get copy of the book (enough to read already!). Thanks.

Maybe the NYT has a job opening for somebody with your advanced level of research skills? Or are you so in demand that you've been priced out of that labor market? If so, perhaps they could hire an H1B visa worker, it shouldn't be too difficult to find somebody with the sole technical qualification of reading english at the 6th grade level. I bet they could find a properly credentialed guest worker down at the local Home Depot.


Posted by buermann at August 20, 2008 06:12 PM

What's "all manner of capitalism" Frank's got his knickers all tied up about?
Heck, I'll call Harold Bloom and find out. He's Skull, but not Bones.

Posted by donescobar at August 20, 2008 07:04 PM

As a fellow graduate of Yale I can safely say that she is just as dumb and as full of shit as the many neo-cons the school has produced.

To paraphrase the Smiths: "New Haven, so much to answer for."


Posted by trollwiththepunches at August 20, 2008 07:27 PM

As a related aside, Norman Mailer had some rather amusing things to say about Kakutani:

"She's dissed Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, Thomas Pynchon – she hates major American novelists who are male," Mailer says. Kakutani did not review The Castle in the Forest.

"For a good reason," he says with relish. "I was interviewed in Esquire and I said `I don't know why she dislikes me so much. What put the hair up her royal Japanese ass?' And that was put into print and then it turned out she was disqualified from reviewing me because the Times has a policy that none of their reviewers can review someone who is either a friend or an enemy."

Posted by Tony C. at August 20, 2008 07:28 PM

As a related aside, Norman Mailer had some rather amusing things to say about Kakutani:

"She's dissed Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, Thomas Pynchon – she hates major American novelists who are male," Mailer says. Kakutani did not review The Castle in the Forest.

"For a good reason," he says with relish. "I was interviewed in Esquire and I said `I don't know why she dislikes me so much. What put the hair up her royal Japanese ass?' And that was put into print and then it turned out she was disqualified from reviewing me because the Times has a policy that none of their reviewers can review someone who is either a friend or an enemy."

Posted by Tony C. at August 20, 2008 07:28 PM

Mailer wrote some good stuff (at least two novels and much journalism), but "The Castle in the Forest" is not even amusing rubbish. If his name hadn't been on it, any agent would have told its author to try real estate.

Posted by donescobar at August 20, 2008 07:37 PM

Excellent commentary. It made up for the horror I underwent while reading her review.

I take it her review is an example of the garbage you have to write if you want to be employed by the NYT. I think I'll pass. LOL

Posted by Dimitria at August 20, 2008 07:43 PM

I become continually more mortified with my alma mater. The recent low point was an article my wife (who still reads the NYT - I do not) by John Tierney titled along the lines of "Ten Things Not to Worry About".

I explained to my wife that John Tierney is, to use Jon's description, just "the remora attached to David Brooks". But I was so enraged by the idiocy of the article that I bothered to investigate this remora's biography. Unfortunately I discovered (perhaps unsurprisingly) that Tierney is (yet another) Stutts-eddumicated dumb fish.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at August 20, 2008 08:25 PM

Dear lord, this review is criminal.

Seriously, people should face stiff fines for writing this bad.

Posted by Christopher at August 20, 2008 09:44 PM

she was disqualified from reviewing me because the Times has a policy that none of their reviewers can review someone who is either a friend or an enemy

So if I write a book I should make a point of publicly insulting any and all of the idiots I don't want to be reviewed by? Something along the lines of "No-one who hates Cormac McCarthy can be all bad, except Michiko Kakutani.", etc?

Even if restricted to NYT reviewers, I'm guessing that could be time-consuming.

Posted by Rob Weaver at August 20, 2008 10:17 PM

Actually, it's just some guy named Colin:
http://www.mcsweeneys.net/1999/01/23michiko.html

Posted by Wareq at August 20, 2008 10:34 PM

Would it be helpful to write snarky letters to the editor pointing out that Kakutani made an error that should disqualify her from her profession, or at the very least severely demote her within it? Or is that just an exercise in futility?

Posted by grendelkhan at August 21, 2008 09:12 AM

The Times does not respond to snarky letters or publish snarky comments. I offer this with absolute, apodictic authority.

Posted by tom at August 21, 2008 09:25 AM

She reminds me of the "moderate Democrat" in Tom Tomorrow's comics.

She wants a "bipartisan" reasoned debate against Bush's cronyism but she can't understand it will not happen. Not as long as the GOP is the way it is.

Posted by Phersv at August 21, 2008 09:26 AM

Bush has a degree from Yale. And Harvard. Let's stop pretending those schools are anything special.

Posted by Christopher Wing at August 21, 2008 11:40 AM

She wants a "bipartisan" reasoned debate against Bush's cronyism but she can't understand it will not happen. Not as long as the GOP is the way it is.

Or as long as the Democrats are the way they are, and the corporate media are the way they are, and ...

Posted by Duncan at August 21, 2008 12:28 PM

I added a link to this post to her wikipedia article. Curious how long it'll stay there.

Posted by abb1 at August 21, 2008 01:39 PM

curiously, after demonstrating her lack of understanding of "footnotes", we are treated to a demonstration of her glorious lack of understanding of the concept of "past events, still relevant":

"Finally, there is something curiously dated about this book. Mr. Frank spends a lot of time reviewing conservatives’ attitudes toward South Africa when apartheid was still the official policy of that nation, and while he says little about how the Internet has affected politics and policy making, he expends a lot of energy talking about the right’s use of direct mail, as pioneered by Richard Viguerie in the 1960s and ’70s."

if you do not stop to think about it (and she certainly has not), it is indeed curious that an author who is "casting his eye back on the early days of the conservative revolution" (front blurb of the book she is reviewing) does not stick to current events...

Posted by andreas at August 21, 2008 06:17 PM

Are you the
DJ that Carl the weather man in palm spring an pendleton knows???

Posted by andy anderson at August 22, 2008 10:25 PM

"When you read the New York Times, it's often hard to tell whether we're living in 2008 or during the Chester Arthur administration."

Somehow I don't think that someone named "Michiko Kakutani" would be writing for a U.S. paper during the Chester Arthur administration. But that's really just a guess.

Posted by Bob Boberstein at August 25, 2008 03:33 AM