14 June 2010
i just got an email from the paris review about their summer issue. i guess they're starting a series of interviews called "the art of comics" (along the same vein as their "art of fiction" interviews) and honestly it kind of pisses me off. they're kind of late to the party, and are trying to make up for it by pretty much jizzing all over the place trying to express how much they "respect" comics as an art, and i'm not buying it. in the description for their first interview with r. crumb (obvious choice, also), crumb takes them on "a tour of his most sacred texts" and fuckkk that bit pissed me off so fucking much. you can get down with comics without sucking its dick. the whole thing ultimately comes off as condescending, which, i suppose, is the paris review's bread and butter. admittedly i can get down with the paris review on occasion - the "art of fiction" interviews are great, and the quality of their stories tend to be higher than most of the other "review" publications - but i just can't shake the "more intellectual than thou" feeling i get from it. i saw former editor philip gourevitch speak at the hammer a year and a half ago and it was absolutely obnoxious. he spoke down to everyone, especially the other people from the magazine who were sitting on stage with him, and went on and on about the paris review's "achievements" and how respected of a publication it is and how much of a big deal it is for someone to win the "plimpton prize" for writing, all the while sitting with the most self-righteous smirk on his face. i suppose the ego of one editor shouldn't be enough to write off an entire publication, but something tells me that everyone else on the masthead eats that shit up with a spoon. creating a great publication sans pretentiousness is possible. i don't think that the paris review believes that.