Friday, October 24, 2003

The Takedown artist 

The New York Times Magazine has a very lengthy piece on Bad boy critic Dale Peck, who is just the kind of person that the Snark Hunters go after the most. But as it happens, the upcoming release of a collection of his infamous reviews for the New Republic, "Hatchet Jobs" signifies an end to Peck's reviewing career:

''I'm not going to write any more bad reviews. I'm publishing this book'' -- ''Hatchet Jobs'' -- ''and that's it.''

But won't he miss the commotion his reviews stir up?

''I don't like being the center of attention,'' he said. ''I don't mind, you know, being listened to, but I don't like being the center of this whole debate.'' So, wait a minute. Did that really mean we would no longer be hearing from Dale Peck the feared and hectoring critic? No more combat in the literary trenches? It was hard to imagine that strident voice forever stilled. I'd miss it. Sort of.

I'm sure Peck has his reasons--good and not so good--for getting out of the review game. The best one I could think of is that first and foremost, the man is a writer and he'd rather be known for his books, and thus his own words than for his reviews of other people's words. I suppose someone else will have to be the poster child of Gonzo Reviewing now, but as long as it isn't Laura Miller.....

(thanks to Marc for the link.)

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