Cunning linkage

NS September 17th, 2010

Don’t try saying that three times fast.

So here’s what’s been on my mind:

– My oh-so-dreamy, clever boyfriend, Stephen Fry. I love him more and more each time I read something by or about him. And today he won me over once again with the gleeful revelation that he enjoys being hated by the Daily Mail. This line in particular* caught my attention: “I don’t read it of course: like anyone of education or sense or moral decency I wouldn’t have such a purulent creepy production in the house.”

If Stephen ever decides he’d like a baby with his partner and needs to find a womb pod, I’d volunteer mine for free. Anyone who is that hated by the Daily Mail is a hero in my book. I think we all know how much I despise that rag.

– Jonathan Franzen (of The Corrections fame) has apparently kissed and made up with Oprah after their ‘spat’ nine years ago. In a nutshell, Franzen dismissed Oprah’s Book Club as “schmaltzy” and “one-dimensional” and expressed concerns that male readers would be alienated by the Book Club logo because they associate it with ‘chick lit’.

Now, while I can understand Franzen’s reservations about his novel appearing on such a mainstream book list and think his point about reaching male readers is important (women read far more fiction than men), I still bristle at the idea that because it was mainly women buying Oprah’s suggested books that this meant said books would be taken less seriously. The message seemed to be that either a) female readers are not a desirable fan base, b) a book club by and for women is mainly about light, summer reads and not ‘serious’ fiction, i.e. it is all ‘chick lit’, or c) men being turned off from reading a novel based on a sticker on its cover from a (mainly) women’s book club is a problem with the book club itself, not the men’s (or at least the macho cultural idea that a book promoted by women is less-than and inferior to ones widely read by men).

I’m sure purist book snobs will disagree, but I’m glad to see that he’s embracing the publicity and welcoming the legions of readers he will gain from Oprah’s endorsement. Even though I don’t personally watch or even like her show, I do have a lot of respect for some of the things she’s been able to accomplish, the Book Club among them. Anyone who can get people reading deserves praise and kudos as far as I’m concerned.

– Only one newspaper out of the top 50 in the US had any mention of the winners of last night’s WNBA championship on the front page, and that was in the winning team’s home town. Sigh. Women’s sports and respect…that’s a thin leaflet.

– I’m disappointed that an op-ed on closing the wage gap in the Washington Post today by Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, did not mention the words mothers, maternity or parent(ing) once. Are there really still people who don’t realise that the gender pay gap is mainly a mothers‘ pay gap?

– The pointy-hatted one is here. Yawn.

Finally, this, which I can’t stop watching and listening to, even if I am more than a little jealous of how fabulous this woman looks throughout her pregnancy. Catchy little ditty though!

Magic- A Belly Grows from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

Enjoy your weekend, folks.

*hat tip to NH

5 Responses to “Cunning linkage”

  1. Expat Mum says:

    I am addicted to reading the Mail online. It’s like a car wreck/accident – terrible but you can’t look away. I get a lot of blog fodder from the crap they write about and the level of misogyny (sp?) is unbelievable.
    Expat Mum´s last blog ..Just Bring Yourselves ReallyMy ComLuv Profile

    Mistress of Boogie Reply:

    @Expat Mum, ha ha! Me, too! It’s also really useful if you find yourself strangely calm and need to feel furious. It’s like anger given out on the NHS. ‘Doctor, her BP’s dropped to nothing, she feels strangely serene, I think we’re losing her…Give her this immediately, nurse, it’s an article blaming feminism for the coalition government and the fact that a handful of people think George Osbourne knows more than diddly-squat about economics. If that doesn’t work, turn the page where it says it’s feminism’s fault that women are fat and have stupid children and men can’t multitask…What do you mean you can’t find it?? Just open a page at random, any will do! But do it now, for god’s sake!! She’s started smiling inanely!’
    Mistress of Boogie´s last blog ..How to Suddenly Find Yourself With Nothing to DoMy ComLuv Profile

  2. I loathe and despise the Mail (although, as Expat Mum says, reading it online is strangely addictive).

    I think you’re absolutely right about Franzen. You can’t ignore the book clubs, whether it’s Oprah or Richard and Judy – however ‘serious’ an author you are. It’s just misogyny in the guise of literary snobbery.

  3. Geekymummy says:

    I have read many excellent books that were on Oprahs book club. Franzen should be proud to have his books (also very good) included.
    Geekymummy´s last blog ..opposite boyMy ComLuv Profile

  4. jen says:

    i do find Oprah irritating beyond all measure… but if you actually look at her list of book club books though the years, there are not that many that i’d actually classify as purely “chick lit”. (although definitely more in the early years -perhaps she’s maturing?)
    jen´s last blog ..i know- you know- that i can’t get awayMy ComLuv Profile