In the Village Voice…

Cynthia Cotts reports on a study that suggests The New York Times Book Review assigns too many men to review too many books written by men. Paula Caplan, the clinical psychologist who collaborated on the Brown University study, says:

“[W]hen you see mostly men’s names in the [NYTBR], even if you don’t consciously count them, it creates a context. It narrows what occurs to girls and young women as possibilities for their lives.”

From the story as reported in the article, though, it seems like outgoing editor Charles McGrath is on the right track as far as getting more women in the pages. (I know from my own casual browsing, for example, that all of my former Amazon colleagues who were allowed to do “books in brief” reviews were women.) Except that he suggests the review’s “standards are so high that a great many writers—even published writers—don’t meet them.” To which those who recall Ward Just’s amazement at the existence of the black upper middle class or Lucinda Rosenfeld’s drive-by of Molly Jong-Fast can only respond with gales of laughter.

Here’s an interview with Caplan, focusing on how creative people’s “difficult” behavior is often pathologized as mental disorder, particularly in the case of women, with an interesting take on the Zelda Fitzgerald issue I hadn’t seen before (but then, that period really hasn’t been of major interest to me).

8 January 2004 | uncategorized |