Missing the Newer-School Bus?

©2005    M. A. Padlipsky


While sitting around gnashing what's left of my teeth over the New York Times Book Review's ignoring my elegant rebuttal ("Read it ... and weep not") to M.G. Lord's misguidely based author-condemning essay, "Heinlein's Female Troubles" (October 2, 2005), I had a sudden, possibly embarrassing thought.

I've been away from Academe for so long, after all, that I've barely heard of the Deconstructionists--and of course have no idea what they think they're doing.  Could it be that while my back's been turned somebody's gone them one worse and invented the Misconstructionists?

That would account for the NYTpickers' refusal to allow equal space to a long-long-time Heinlein admirer who not only wrote "The M.I.T. Thesis on Science Fiction" but also was a trained "close reader" at the time (granted, 1960)--and is the published author of a "real", albeit emphatically non-S.F., book (25 years later)--wouldn't it.
 
I wonder, is it the case that these days critics are supposed to misread a novel and condemn its author generally based on the misreading?  If so, probably nobody else will print this, either....

If somebody does, though, allow me to add that contrary to Ms. Lord's assertion, the character called "Friday" in the novel of the same name demonstrably didn't "enjoy beng raped" (although she did coldbloodedly fake it effectively enough to elicit "[...] we're wasting our time.  This slut enjoys it." from one of the rapists; read pp. 9-10, if that's not against the Misconstructionist Rules), and that her damning the entire canon of the author of a ©1982[!] novel, which was set in a fictional future to boot,  over his perceived "AIDS-insensitivity" is as irrational as condemning all of Swift's writings because he advocated pedophagia would be, even if her perceptions regarding rape hadn't been mistaken.

Unless, of course, Misconstruction is all the rage, in which case, well misdone, M. G. Lord.

Or--to warm the heart of whichever NYT competitor, more power to their presses, does print this [unless they cut this paragraph out of misplaced professional courtesy, or just to save some words, of course], and because I find it compelling--is it merely the case that Ms. Lord has a JudyMilleresque relationship with somebody high enough up the NYTcorporate totem pole that the Book Review had to print her errors and can't print anybody's calling her on them?

M. A. Padlipsky
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M[ichael] A[lan] Padlipsky is the author of The Elements of Networking Style and Other Essays and Animadversions on the Art of Intercomputer Networking, "the world's only known Constructively Snotty computer science book" (1985, reprinted 2000).  As pointedly mentioned in the suppressed counter-essay, he uses M. A. out of fondness for e.e. cummings and W. H. Auden ... and despite T.S. Eliot.