pity poor dwight garner: trying to review a book he loves but cannot even quote, because he's writing for little cowards who are scared of certain words and little censors who refuse to publish them. really, if you are a book critic and you can't even quote what you think is the best lit, you need to find a publication where you can. also i think probably the nytimes has no business writing about books at all if they can't be a little less scared or what's in them. seriously, if you tremble in fear at certain combinations of letters you shouldn't write or publish at all. leave the language to people who are able boldly to sally forth and use the alphabet.
here is another case, in the form of an unpublished letter to the editor by henry:
In “Publish and Cherish” (Book Review, Aug. 24), Rachel Shteir reviews The Most Dangerous Book, which is about the legal censorship that James Joyce’s Ulysses faced in its day. She writes, “Quoting Joyce’s notoriously bawdy letters to [his wife] Nora (many of which cannot be printed in this newspaper) is required for anyone writing about him in our era.”
Did the Times’ editor overlook the glaring irony of that sentence? Ms. Shteir is writing about Joyce in our era, yet the Times will not allow her to quote from the letters, even as it allows her to state that quoting from them is required. And why won’t the Times allow her to quote from the letters? It has no reason. Its policy is arbitrary and juvenile. Surely it is not protecting anyone from exposure to naughty words, because such words can hurt no one, including children, all of whom are exposed to them from a young age. And, of course, children would not be reading Ms. Shteir’s book review.
If the Times is concerned about offending puritanical readers, then it might consider that such readers, like children, are unlikely to be reading a review of a book about James Joyce. Furthermore, the Timesregularly quotes politicians who say things far more substantively offensive than anything that Joyce ever wrote. Why does the Times single out naughty words for its concern?