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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Belle de Jeu 

For those keeping score:

-Sarah Champion issues a denial and talks about the whole fracas in the Observer;

-San Francisco-based Andrew Orlowski, an editor of the Register, a UK-based media website, is being put forward as a possible candidate;

-The Independent picks Michel Faber (!!) as a likely suspect;

-The Manchester Evening News gets the local angle on Sarah Champion, interviewing her mother, her friends, and so on and so forth;
-and Rowan Pelling discusses meeting Belle a couple of months ago in the Independent on Sunday.

If all this link-gathering seems rather by rote, well, it's because it is. Because it's really getting rather ridiculous, all these people clamoring to get the scoop on who she really is, when for crying out loud, the book won't even be out for another 10 months. How about waiting for a while until, oh, the galleys are made available to the press, then getting an "exclusive interview" revealing Belle's identity which will later turn out to be a carefully orchestrated plot by her agent and publisher to play the puppetmaster as they dangle their spicy (and evidently, good looking) carrot in front of a host of drooling journalistes?

Let me be the first one to say that when (I suppose I could say if, but really, it's only a matter of time) Belle's identity is revealed, it will be incredibly anti-climactic and will lead people to shake their heads and wonder, "so what was the fuss all about all those months ago?" Although this business is only interesting to me for one reason and one reason only: would anyone have cared about the identity of a blogger a year ago? Even Salam Pax didn't get this much press. Of course, he isn't turning tricks for a high price in Iraq, only doing some pesky sociopolitical writing. I guess it does show that blogging, as a form, is now paid attention to and has some currency in the literary and media world. So even out of the murkiness and tawdriness that's going on now, there's a silver lining to be had, which is that blogs in general will continue to be taken seriously.

OTOH, all this looniness surrounding Belle makes me somewhat glad that this man doesn't have a book deal yet. At least, not as far as I know. Because who needs all that trouble?

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