Michiko Kakutani has stepped down as the NY Time's principle book critic, an event I say is 38 years beyond the expiration date of her worth as a culture commentator. Her prose was remarkable for its lack of cadence or rhythm or music of any sort.She wrote to the beat of the metronome, and her thinking followed suit, hewing to safe formulation, received, recyclings of conventional wisdom. Her esposusals made her seem less like critic than it made her resemble the World's Smartest Typist. I intend no slight to competent typists, but the quality of Kakutani's praise or criticism for author were exceedingly ordinary and seemed, really, to be little more than the sort of compliments one gets from dutiful host, polite and icy, or the complaints one of your friends who has fashioned a better phrased brand of snark and sarcasm.
Her intentions , too
often, were rather obviously not critical thinking but character assassination;
her repetitive riffs against Mailer, Franzen, Nick Hornby and Don DeLillo went
for quite a few years; a dutiful editor at the Times ought to noted this and
instructed her to (1) find some other authors to write about with a much less
glaring set of preconceived judgments and (2), to start writing reviews that
steered away from the short list of tropes she used without end as a means to
praise or damn and instead do some real critical thinking. Kakutani was an
ethically bankrupt critic of no discernible into or passion for the literary arts
she presumed to judge. She was a long time disgrace to the critic's trade and
craft. Banal and annoying are exactly the right words to describe
Calling her a critic grossly overstates what she did for a living, which was to produce, assembly line fashion, formulaic judgements that riled authors and readers alike for the perfunctory competence she brought to her job. In a paper otherwise blessed
with the best staff of arts critics, culture writers and columnists, she was
the tone deaf embarrassment.