Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"A cauldron of vice and indolence"

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 9:33 PM

In my (nonexistent) personal life, I'm also a book reviewer (and, by the way, R.I.P. Washington Post Book World, which was eliminated from that paper this morning).

One of the books that landed in my mailbox recently was Dan Baum's Nine Lives: Death & Life in New Orleans (Dan was, you may remember, The New Yorker correspondent who lived here and wrote the New Orleans Journal post-Katrina).

Anyway, publishers often tuck lists of "suggested questions" in the backs of review copies, primarily for the use of bonehead radio talk-show hosts who don't even bother flipping through books before they interview the authors. The list of suggested questions for Nine Lives is pretty mundane ("What's the best thing people can do to help New Orleans?"), but question 6 was a doozy:

To the uninitiated, New Orleans can seem like a cauldron of vice and indolence. Why should the rest of America care so much about it?

Thanks, Random House! Thanks, New York Big-City Fancy Pants Publishing Industry! Us vice kings and indolence queens in the cauldron love you too!

How's Spitzer doin', by the way?

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