Thursday, February 02, 2006

Two Thoughts In One Day

I chose to present the Bedside Guide as sexy and hot. If you read it and don't get a boner, do I owe you an explanation?


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Peter said...

An "explanation" isn't what I feel I would be owed in that case.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Ginger Heatter said...

Reb, you're smart enough to know the difference between your own tounge-in-cheek advertising and that other anthology's dead serious claims of authority. You've got bucket loads of attitude where your own opinions are concerned, so what's with the "Let's all hold hands and sing the Barney song!" pose?

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Reb said...

My god, I don't even let my son watch Barney -- I sing the Teletubbie theme. You know, teletubbies love each other very very much.

There's so much out there that I DON'T love and it's perfectly legitimate and probably necessary to point out when BAP fails (even if that's every single year). It's wildly ambitious and subjective and possibly even obnoxious to claim "the best" -- sure.

It's a boast -- not a lie or a deception or misrepresentation. A very difficult boast to support. Sometimes boasts are huge turnoffs. Usually a boast is challenged. Readers get that.

But I feel like the criticisms are aimed at editors making any boasts at all that can't be 100% defended. Part of the pleasure of BAP is to decide for oneself if that year's edition can back it up its assertion. The years I find it especially disappointing, I mutter to myself, "Best American Crap!" and enjoy my momentary smugness.

At its worst, that's all it can be, an anthology that doesn't live up to its title. I don't accept anything has authority just because it says it does -- if it has any authority, it's the authority we gave it.


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