Friday, August 05, 2005

The Times Sends In Its Hatchet Man

Mediacrity has been preoccupied with earning a living lately--shockingly, this blog is not it--so it (that is, me) has missed a bunch of stuff, including the New York Times review of Ed Klein's book on Hillary. I just have one observation to add to Times Watch's.

There's only one thing worth noting about that review. It can be summed up in one word: Queenan.

Joe Queenan is a guy who writes about sports and entertainment and England and this and that--a lightweight guy who tries to be funny. Sometimes he is, more often not. He is whatcha call "sophomoric." What qualifies him to write about the Klein book? After all, he hasn't covered politics or Hillary or Washington or whatever. Here is his qualification: Joe Queenan has never written a positive review.

OK, "never" is a strong statement. On rare occasion he may express an opinion that is less than venomous. But basically Joe is a hatchet man who gets his jollies being vicious, and his reviews are not only negative but nasty, and not only nasty but gratuitous, and not only gratuitous but personal, and not only personal but vicious... etc., etc. He's not an ideologue; he has no particular views on anything. He just likes to be nasty.

Hire Queenan, no matter what the subject, and you get a negative review. Klein could have been nice to Hillary or mean to Hillary. His book could be good, man, outstanding or awful. Doesn't matter. When Queenan writes it, the review will be bad. Which, by the way, isn't so great from the reader's perspective, as the reader doesn't get a good idea whether a book is worth buying. But since when has the Times cared about its readers?

Just wanted to point that out, not that anybody is going to be surprised that the Times was never, in a million years, going to give Klein fair treatment.

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