New J.D. Salinger Blog at Huffington Post
Naturally I'm stunned that Ms. Huffington has gotten J.D. Salinger to start blogging. His entries are hilarious, too, if somewhat overly focused on Seymour Glass. It's good to know that we were right all along, and he was, indeed, writing books under the pen name of Thomas Pynchon.
What's also interesting is this note from Arianna at the top of today's site:
"Today Norman Mailer gives public voice to what many of our contributors have told me privately: When something happens to which you want to -- have to -- respond, there is nothing like blogging. You don't have to wait for the New York Times to run your op-ed, you don't have to drive to a TV studio and get into make up, and you certainly don't have to wait until your book is between hard covers or your movie hits the screens. You can blog about it... unfiltered, uncensored, unedited."
We all agree that censorship is bad, but filtering and editing used to be considered a form of added value. Even acclaimed novelists need editors.
For example, an editor might have told Norman Mailer that his post today is insane. It is precisely the kind of thinking that marginalizes the Left, because it's daffy, paranoid, and worst of all, not even very interesting. Mailer suggests that the Newsweek mistake could have resulted from a disinformation plot within the Administration. This is conspiracy theorizing in its classic form. He writes, "One's counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A. Counter-espionage often depends on building 'reliable sources.' You construct such reliability item by secret item, all accurate. That is seen by the intelligence artists as a necessary expenditure. It gains the source his credibility. Then, you spring the trap. As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan."
Journalists and pundits and aging novelists should try to think more like scientists, who typically favor parsimonious rather than elaborate theories. Dan Rather and Mary Mapes and many other reporters have gotten in trouble when they've tried too hard to prove a theory and ignored possible alternative explanations (like, these documents could be fraudulent). Conspiracies do exist, but so do simple mistakes. The Mailer scenario has an implausible number of moving parts. That's not to say that it couldn't be possible, only that it's exceedingly more likely that a journalist unwisely relied on a single source who didn't know what he was talking about. Happens all the time, and you don't need the White House Office of Counter-Espionage to orchestrate it.
But maybe there's something wrong with my hackles.
[Now read this fun piece by Arianna on the adaptive advantage of the female orgasm.]
[For more on Gitmo and Newsweek etc., check out Marc Cooper's blog.]
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