Marginal Footnotes

Everyone is not Stupid
April 26, 2006, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Literary, Media, Uncategorized

The New York Times has Steve Ross, publisher at Crown, rejecting Viswanathan's apology as 'disingenuous' and 'an act of literary identity theft'.  Whatever that means.  Usually this is called influence.  The Times also alluded to possible disciplinary action by Harvard.  Why?  It's not a test.  Clearly Viswanathan was being dishonest, not to mention unclever, but I think this hoopla is not a whole lot more than the result of the post-Frey apocalypse.


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I have to disagree on one point. I don’t think that this has much to do with Frey, but rather, with Viswanathan herself.

A lot of writers, rightly or wrongly, view her as a young “kid” that has made a very successful career in writing without paying her dues. She comes from a wealthy family, was able to afford ten grand to have her book put through a packaging service while also paying for a Harvard education and was handed a lucrative contract at seventeen, before she had published a single book.

To authors toiling in anonymity, this is understandably frustrating. Still, if you replace Viswanathan with a more typical writer, the story becomes a LOT less interesting.

Odds are, if it hadn’t been for the author, we’d only be reading about this in trade journals. Frey or no Frey.

The book, while successful, hasn’t sold anywhere near the amount of The Davinci Code or A Million Little Pieces. It seems unlike it would garter such harsh public attention with a different author.

But to borrow from Dennis Miller: That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Comment by Jonathan

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