The most fun In Other Media has had in about two weeks should end with a posting by Toronto Star books editor Dan Smith that went up on the newspaper’s website yesterday. In the posting, which concerns what he calls “freelance reviewer Ryan Bigge’s smackdown of McLaren’s The Continuity Girl,” Smith apologizes both for not informing readers of the history between the two – in 2001 McLaren handed down an unflattering mention of Bigge’s book, A Very Lonely Planet: Love, Sex, and the Single Guy in her Globe and Mail column – and for assigning the book to Bigge in the first place.
“Let us share one salient fact: The CanLit wading pool is far too tiny to ever guarantee three degrees of separation, never mind six – although we really should do better than one, as in Bigge’s case. In a little world of juried state-sponsored publishing, conflict of interest is never far away,” writes Smith, concluding his message with a quote from Andrew Potter, the co-author of The Rebel Sell and a writer for the National Post, who’s been involved in an “author-reviewing-author feud” of his own with Globe and Mail columnist Hal Niedzviecki: “Criticism is itself a form of writing. It is entertainment, and nothing, I mean nothing, is more entertaining than a good literary hair-pulling.” Indeed.
Click here for Dan Smith’s piece on the Toronto Star website