I'm staggered by the readers' comments, all four hundred-plus of them, attached to NYT public editor Clark Hoyt's defense of Michiko Kakutani's review of Harry Potter. I routinely skip reviews of things I want to "see for myself" first: did this not occur as a strategy to anyone? (I saw the epitome of this thinking on Child_lit, where someone pronounced the book satisfying, and somebody else started screaming about spoilers.) And the outrage that the Times did not honor Scholastic's embargo--why are so many so willingly led by the nose?
Not by Harry Potter, I hasten to add, but by the mentality of a herd that somehow thinks that its numbers--and the presence of children, cautiously surrounded and protected by the adult bulls and cows--justify a ludicrous degree of entitlement. Is the book's merit so shakily dependent upon plot turns that it is so easily spoiled? Why can't the Times give Harry Potter the same treatment they would give any book? (That is, review it ahead of publication date?) How can Scholastic (admirably) turn the release of a book into news and then complain that it is treated as such? And don't quote "Jo" at me. I haven't met her, neither have you, but in any case respecting--even considering--her wishes regarding the reviewing of her books is both ickily sycophantic and cowardly.
Yes, it's hot here.