IS THERE A LITERARY HERD?
The proof that there is a literary herd was provided in a brief twitter exchange I had a couple days ago with Dennis Loy Johnson, editor and publisher at New York-based Melville House Press.
IN the article, Johnson freely dismantles Bob Woodward’s credibility as a reporter, using example after example, including “Deep Throat”; including Woodward’s infamous “interview” with the corpse of Bill Casey on his death bed.
BUT, that was five years ago when Bob Woodward was out of favor with the left-leaning intelligentsia. He’d been critical of President Barack Obama. Before that, Woodward was believed to approve of President George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. Now it’s 2018, and the wind is blowing in another direction.
(Are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia this week?)
Five years ago Dennis Loy Johnson could easily take shots at Bob Woodward; even expose him as something of a liar. TODAY Woodward, like all Insider D.C. commentators, is fundamentally opposed to Trump. Therefore, today he’s not a bad guy but a good guy again. Cue up memories of Watergate.
IT MIGHT MAKE SENSE for Dennis Loy Johnson to advertise his 2013 take down of Bob Woodward. From a business standpoint it surely would– one would think– by drawing attention to Johnson and to Melville House. But it would make Johnson a pariah with the one-direction-only literary herd. Despite his instinct for telling the truth, Johnson is ultimately too shrewd to stand too-far apart from the herd.
To call out Bob Woodward and the salacious parts of Woodward’s new book would take rare intellectual courage, for one who stands in Johnson’s position.
TO DO SO would place himself in what he calls “LOSERVILLE”– which I believe Dennis Loy Johnson means to apply to writers existing outside the golden bubble realm of New York. (I don’t believe he was referring to Detroit– I hope he wasn’t– though he could’ve been.)
Johnson also wants us to give him points for NOT tossing his own article down the Orwellian Memory Hole. We can do that.
And Bob Woodward? What’s the truth about Bob Woodward?
The truth about Bob Woodward is that he is what he’s been from the beginning– an Establishment Centrist loyally serving Establishment power. Woodward stays the same. The perception of who Woodward is is always changing.
-Karl Wenclas, New Pop Lit NEWS