Friday, November 17, 2006

How very very dare he?

Did you hear about John Sutherland's recent article in the Sunday Telegraph, in which he said,
'There are those who see web-reviewing, whether independent bloggery or commercially hosted, as a ‘power to the reader’ trend – the democratization of something traditionally associated monopolized by literary mandarins. And there are those who see it as a degradation of literary taste.'

Degradation of literary taste??? You can imagine the howls of fury zapping round the blogosphere! Check out Susan Hill, Dove Grey Reader and Fiction Bitch for starters. Scott Pack was interviewed on Radio 4 on the subject - apparently he was far more polite than many of us would have been. I'm sure there must be many more people outraged at this pompous snobbery.

Don't worry. If this is the sort of reaction coming from the establishment, it means they're running scared.

The days of the literary citrus fruits are numbered! Bring on the bloggerati!

21 comments:

Don said...

I'm currently reading John Sutherland's 'How to read a Novel'. I misread the cover, thinking it was Joan Sutherland. I thought, how cool, an opera singer instructing us how to read. Ah well, thought I'd best read it anyway now I've paid for it.

Don't you just hate those who see themselves as part of a 'priesthood'; as caretakers of THE canon?

Come the revolution we'll get them all up against the wall and.. erm.. do nasty stuff to them.

crimeficreader said...

I know Delia felt a need to re-educate the masses about how to boil an egg, but do people need guidance on how to read a novel then?
Debi - thanks to your links I've just noticed your comment on dovegreyreader's blog. Many thanks!

Sharon J said...

OMG! You've gone Beta! Am I going to be able to comment? Will it register my URL? Will I have to sign in to Blogger? Can my blood pressure stand the excitement??

Running scared? Yes... exactly.

Sharon J said...

Well that answered that! No URL registered. I am going to complain to Blogger about this. They're discriminating against non-bloggers!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Don: No wonder Sutherland was going on about death threats (yesterday on Radio 4's today programme)!

Debi said...

Sharon - grovel grovel grovel ... Did you notice the post before this one? Specially dedicated to you in anticipation of your reaction.

Elizabeth - see? I said they were right to be scared!

We're comin' to get youuuuu ....

skint writer said...

who the fuck is John Sutherland anyway?

Seriously?

btw - I don't have any problems signing into beta blogger with a wordpress self-hosted blog

crimeficreader said...

skint,
John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College, London.

skint writer said...

Thanks CFR

that says it all then

CFR said...

And someone has kindly posted up a transcript of the Radio 4 interview with Sutherland and Scott Pack.
http://vectoreditors.wordpress.com/2006/11/16/stop-me-if-youve-heard-this-one/

Debi said...

cfr - can we rename you as Fount of all Wisdom, Emeritus Professor of Little Known Facts?

CFR said...

Nope no need - just call me the Google Kid! (Tis a far more appropriate title!)
Although, as you know Debi, I do retain the odd fact or two...

CFR said...

And for ridiculous reaction, do check this out:
http://blog.susan-hill.com/blog/_archives/2006/11/17/2506962.html

Even the well respected can be "uninvited" from the caviar club for daring to have an independent opinion - which is what people want isn't it? An independent opinion?

Debi said...

I've just popped over to the transcript link and bunged my two penn'orth into the debate there. Recommended reading for anyone who (like me) couldn't manage to get the audio version.

JS is even more preposterous than I expected. And THAT's saying something ...

DCMS said...

Does anyone have the link to the piece he wrote? I have Googled to no avail and searched on the Sun Tel site.
Interested as the quote says "there are those who see web-reviewing.. as a ‘power to the reader’ trend'AND 'there are those who see it as a degradation of literary taste'.
Wanted to see what side of the debate he fell on...

CFR said...

Anyone who says they have tried cannot find the piece on the Telegraph's website. It looks like it hasn't been posted up on there.

dovegreyreader said...

I think if we just leave them with a long enough piece of rope they will do the proverbial. I'm not buying any of the papers in protest this weekend, I can cut off my nose to spite my face along with the best of them!

Minx said...

Howling like a banshee!

Debi said...

Welcome, dcms. It does seem the original article isn't available online. (One for the conspiracy theorists?) But JS makes his position abundantly clear on the transcript of the radio show. (See cfr's comment for link.)

Also check cfr's link to Susan Hill for the ultimate in foot-stamping ...

jta said...

Sounds like just another desperately fearful empty jockstrap hanging on the stinkiest peg in the academy, wondering how long he'll have a job. Best ignore him.

Confucious Trevaskis said...

I'm not going to legitimise his ravings by reading them(Got better things to do)........the bloated, self indulgent, fatous arse-wipe...apparently........

We are the new dawn and people like that are fading out with the old sunset!

(I lied about not reading his ravings by the way...curiousity getting the better of me!)