Middlebrow Drivel


My boyfriend calls your magazine “middlebrow drivel,” but I disagree. Given your considerable limitations, which I see no need to waste time enumerating here, I think you’ve done a fine job with what you’ve been able to throw together. I’m sure your family is very proud of you.

Moving right along to my real reason for writing, I must confess that while skimming your infrequently-published zine-thing I’ve taken a certain guilty pleasure in the irritated rants in which you single out examples of contemporary writing that rub you the wrong way. I’m not entirely sure if my enjoyment comes more from identification with your judgmental positions or pleasure in your discomfort. No doubt they both factor into my appreciation of your squirming.

That said, do you have any choice Dwight Garner quotes this time around?


Mean-Spirited in Missoula

Dear Mean-Spirited,

Given the enormity of the shitshows we are facing as I write this in late October 2020 (which we will continue to face to a lesser or much, much, much greater degree depending on which way the great electoral horrorfest goes in November), lately I have a hard time making mountains out of stylistic molehills found in magazines and newspapers, at least when it comes to most journalism. Don’t get me started on our reactionary, subliterate troglodyte (apologies to troglodytes) Shithead-in-Chief’s barely comprehensible tweets.

However I remain at heart a petty observer of other people’s shortcomings when it comes to writing, and probably much else. Though he’s a smart guy, your man Mr. Garner does tend to indulge in ridiculous excursions into deep space while sentence-slinging, so why not pick on him? Lord knows we all need some cheap laughs these days.

I have neither the time nor the focus to scour Garner’s reviews of the past year to assemble much of a collection of trainwreck word play for you. Fortuitously though, I did find one paragraph that I happened to clip and save a while back. Here you go: In a piece listing noteworthy books read by New York Times reviewers in 2019, Garner writes, “I didn’t mean to reread Samuel Pepys’s diary again, but I picked it up and inhaled it like a Popeye’s chicken sandwich.” He doesn’t mention any post-inhalation indigestion, so I assume that was a pleasurable experience.

Hope that provides a partial scratch of your Garner itch, and thanks for the kind (?) words about my mag.

With Coffee,
The Editor