Who could call Orwell “outdated”?

The particulars of this article are fairly self explanatory. I was listening to The New York Times Book Review podcast while doing the dishes. I was amazed at what I heard. The self-proclaimed Orwell expert suggested that Nineteen Eighty-four and Animal Farm were outdated. The dishes splashed, though I’m not sure if any broke.

The irony of an esteemed outfit like The New York Times Book Review getting Orwell so very wrong just after I’d written a defence of established literary critics (inspired by Dorothy Parker) was not lost in the dirty water. The result is a defence of my beloved Orwell (in the style of Dorothy Parker) called Satirical Doublespeak? published by Trebuchet Magazine.


I love Trebuchet Magazine – only they delight in my absurdist humour; only they rejoice in following the peculiar clues and twisted turns that sometimes come forth from my guts in the form of tofu and pink rubber gloves.

Who else would fall for a pre-review analysis of Total Recall through elementary and culinary themes?

Who else would rejoice in a defence of Orwell in the style of Dorothy Parker that is informed dirty dish water and calls to task a self-proclaimed Orwell expert from The New York Times?

Trebuchet, Trebuchet, Trebuchet. Visionary folk ;)

Read the article:

Read Satirical Doublespeak? as published by Trebuchet Magazine on 18 March 2013


Read a version with all the hyperlinks and references on this site.

What might Dorothy Parker think of book bloggers?

Parker, Dorothy. (1970) “Literary Rotarians,” In, The Constant Reader. First published in The New Yorker on 11 February 1928.

Why Dorothy Parker and book bloggers?

Earlier in the month I was reading an article on The Guardian about the value (or not) of Book Bloggers following comments – of the (or not) variety – by the chair of the Man Booker Prize judging panel.

Thanks to a random force, about half an hour later found myself reading a column by Dorothy Parker from 1928 called “Literary Rotarians” in which she complained about the same things. 

Thus struck, I wielded my pen.

If you have read Ms Parker’s columns you might notice that I tried to evoke her style in my little article; it was a dreamy business. My favourite lines are:

“life really does rotate like a circle, like a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel; and, baby, literary criticism is no different.”

“Parker describes literary Rotarians flittering from one literary throwdown to the next.”

I also put in a few of my own opinions, as any self-respecting person would – they are, by complete coincidence, pastoral in more ways than one:

“Indeed, to be human is to be a critic and the evidence suggests nothing will hold us back from our evolutionary duty.”

“Our best critics lead us to the choicest fodder – and all the better if we have to pass through the Valley of Death, so long as we know we will arrive somewhere of quality in the end.”

I would like to link to Parker’s article in its entirety, but I can’t find it on the net and I’m not sure of the legalities of scanning it and uploading it myself. If you know either where to find it online so I can link to it or whether I can put it up myself, then, pray, tell me.

Oh, and look, Margaret Atwood and Joanne Harris RT’d this article. They are two people I respect so much. They took me to the depths of my heart, even though they’d never met me. Literature is amazing. It really means a lot to me that they think it’s interesting enough to share. There is … welling.

Read the article:

Read What Might Dorothy Parker say about book bloggers? as published by For Books’ Sake on 19 October 2012.