Critical Linking: November 6, 2012


Just about everyone knows that Superman hails from the planet Krypton, but until recently, not even the comic’s creators knew the exact location of the iconic superhero’s planet. DC Comics has chosen Neil DeGrasse Tyson to pick a scientifically sound location, and the Hayden Planetarium Director will even make an appearance in the next issue

Incorrect. I was born in California.


Originally signed up with Amazon, he expected “blowback” from the traditional publishing industry and retailers, he told me (and the NYT). “I’m very convinced this book will succeed in terms of the sheer number of units moved to readers,” he said.

Nothing conjures the intimacy of the writer/reader relationship like “moving units.”


On May 28, 1961 Liebling was paging through the New York Times. He had just completed a book about Earl Long, the conservative, erratic governor of Louisiana, brother of Huey, and with his mind still on that state, Liebling paused over a review that began, “Every night at dusk, when the Gulf breeze stirs the warm, heavy air over New Orleans, a 29-year-old wanderer named Binx Bolling emerges from his apartment, carrying in his hand the movie page of his newspaper, his telephone book and a map of the city.” Liebling went out and bought the book under discussion: The Moviegoer. Later he recommended it to his wife, the novelist Jean Stafford, who happened to sit on the National Book Awards fiction jury.

Remember this anytime anyone makes the case that literary awards are really based on merit and merit alone. Fair amount of chance and network effect, I’d say.


In the popular imagination, writers and professors are liberals, hedonists, bohemians. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are, in fact, profoundly, deeply, organically conservative.

This is sort of true. Liberal about things you would call “political,” but when it comes to anything about books, wildy, wildly conservative.

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