Saturday, September 18, 2010

Women, Whiskey, Per Petterson and Other Sweeping Generalizations.

Today marks the end of my short relationship with Evan Williams brand Whiskey. Last night, the events manager and I got in a "little" debate about Franzen on the cover of Time. At least that's what I think we were arguing about. It may have been about the cable bill ...I can't say for sure but I can say this; women are the driving economic force in the book industry. We run the stores, buy the books, read the books and gift the books. For all the men out there, I acknowledge you and thank you for your presence too, though today I am just giving the ladies a "what what."
I don't want to detract from Franzen, or any other white male novelist, goodness knows I love Raymond Carver. I just want to see all the lady novelists getting equal critical attention. I don't think we are quite there yet.
Name Drop Time:
When I was walking Per Petterson back to his awaiting line of (mostly female) fans, he said to me....this industry is a woman's industry...but men are the ones getting published.... (or something to that effect). When he said that, I nearly planted one on him, but I'm a professional so I restrained myself. I complimented him on how he answered Diane Rehm's question about one of his character's apparent "alcoholism". Rehm was pushing the topic, and I thought it was so typical, how we in the states rush to pathologize ....everything. The character got drunk a few times....and she needed a diagnosis, from Per. Sigh.
I guess it took Per mentioning this gender discrepancy for me to finally have license into feeling the way I did when I rethought the Time cover..."Great American Novelist". I of course note the dissonance in needing a man to agree with me in order to bring this topic up publicly....but I am working on it...and it doesn't hurt my case that Per agrees.
What do I take away from these loosely connected meditations? I love the ladies of Brookline. The women who work here, shop here, and speak here. Sometimes deconstructive literary diagnostics are just reductive, and miss the point.
Also, no more whiskey. It's better to read about.

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