Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Publishing: lower and lower

I was to happy to read of Judith Regan's firing. To quote Stella McCartney's T-shirt at father's Paul's induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, about fucking time.

I had a moment of quiet (well, not really. I yelled a few choice things) satisfaction. A brief moment. Then I met the "Yummy Mummy." Interestingly, this article appears in the NYT's Style section, not the Sunday Book Review. Maybe nobody in the book section wanted to be associated with this garbage? God knows.

Motherhood as topic? The article cites Toni Morrison and Sue Miller, forgetting Marilyn French, Margaret Atwood, or Anne Tyler, whose most recent book was about adoption. Never mind. Today's generation of Mommy-Lit is different:

"They are written in the wry voices of a generation of women who came of age after feminism, and they have a newly competitive, higher-end set of woes: $10,000 pacifier consultants, nanny-swiping and Harvard-like nursery school applications. Also present is chick-lit’s familiar cast of characters: the single best friend, the dutiful boyfriend (now husband) and a seductive other man who threatens to upset the apple cart."

Give me a fucking break. These writers are but a sliver of society, the hopelessly out-of-touch wealthy inhabiting the coasts. The article does give mention to blogs complaining about this rarified air, but the publishing world, personified by editor Stacy Creamer, who brought us masterwork "The Devil Wears Prada", is all over the trend, anxious to capitalize on a strollerful of publications before the Mummies turn to divorce and menopause.

And the Mummy authors are upset, too. We aren't taking them seriously. Ayelet Waldman, an intelligent woman who should know better, says The Corrections was about a family but nobody called it Daddy lit. Because it wasn't. Because at no point in the book does Franzen write of nannies, stolen or otherwise, strollers, or the woes of the correct preschool. Because the term "Yummy Mummy" would never pass through the man's word processor.

Let us hope the Yummy Mummies go the way of Judith Regan, whose increasingly offensive antics finally got her shitcanned. Though I fear, like yeast infections, both will persist.


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