Friday, March 30, 2007

Author Jennifer Weiner Whines on Oprah

Well, she obviously wishes she were the one on Oprah instead of "dead white males" like Cormac McCarthy. That much is clear from this very bitter rant I read on a visit to Weiner's blog.
"By choosing The Road, Oprah demonstrates the folly of believing that she'd revive the book club and emerge as the savior of literary fiction in general, and lady-penned lit fic, specifically.

She picked a book that’s already reaped a lion’s share of acclaim and critical attention…and, in the time since she’s revived the club, Oprah hasn’t picked anything written by a woman (yes, there’s THE SECRET, which is another animal altogether).

Not that there should be gender-based quotas, or affirmative action, at the Book Club. Not that Oprah has to answer to anything except her own taste. But maybe it’s time for the Big O to look to the ladies again.

After all, it wasn’t a girlie author who held her nose and complained about the low-brow, stay-at-home, soap-opera-loving nature of Oprah’s audience, a la Jonathan Franzen.

It wasn’t a girlie author who made up outlandish tall tales in her memoir of addiction, like James Frey.

Surely, in the wide, wide world of books, there’s something that would appeal to the big O that was written by someone with ladyparts."

Why denigrate Oprah for her choices? Because I'm betting that if one of them had been one of Weiner's chic-lit books she wouldn't be waxing condescending on how "the big O" "did not turn a disaffected generation of non-readers into fans of important works of fiction," but rather, "Oprah turned a disaffected generation of non-readers into consumers of all things Oprah."

I visit Weiner's blog every so often and I'm aware that her tone tends to be snobbish, but this particular post annoyed me. The tone implies that Oprah herself has proclaimed to have some huge, booster effect on the literary world. It's a given that it's the audience of people watching her show that are going to be influenced by her choices. Duh. The only reason anyone would need to spew that and dress it up as some type of
insightful point is because their just plain bitter.

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