I am not really going to blog about the kerfuffle surrounding Meghan Cox Gurdon’s book review of YA dystopian fiction (“Darkness too Visible,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2011). You have probably already read it, formed your own opinions, and posted them at your own blog. Although if you’ve not been following the weeks of fracas, the Guardian offers a well-balanced summary with enough links to ruin anyone’s dinner. And my own thoughts may soon appear, albeit elsewhere.
But without offering my opinion, I want to provide a point to consider: Ms. Cox Gurdon has done her job supremely well. She wrote a carefully crafted review which simultaneously appealed to the subscriber base of the Murdoch empire and also which garnered a tremendous amount of attention and discussion elsewhere.
People were talking about the newspaper. About the book review column. Quoting and discussing quotations ad nauseam. Flooding the WSJ network sites with comments and hits. At the present time of writing, the review is the third result on Google for “YA fiction.” The review has drawn attention, and that means traffic, and that means money. I don’t think this was entirely the culture war it was painted; I think it was a shrewd business move. We cannot say that the results have been anything but successful.
And that’s all I’ll say for now.
What I am going to blog about are three questions which have burbled through my mind as I’ve followed the melee. They’re about writing, and writing about writing, and what we write. They’re also below the jump.