Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Remembering the glory days of the Observer's Eight Day Week

Back in the old days, a decade ago when I ran the reading series at the KGB Bar on East Fourth in NYC, everybody lived and died by The New York Observer's Eight Day Week. Alex Kuczynski was writing it back then, and a listing guaranteed a packed house at a reading, but also entailed undergoing one of two things: an interview in which Alex extracted something embarrassing to reprint out of context, or a line from your book, quoted to make you look like an idiot, out of context. As long as the subject wasn't too close to you, it was hilarious. And the main thing was this: she actually read the stuff she was writing about, and she actually contacted the people she was skewering. She's been replaced, many times over, and each new generation is a little weaker on the reporting front, which brings me to this week's edition, in which Sarah Volkerman lists both my reading and my party for next Monday in NYC:

"More proof that dog people really are obsessed with themselves: Ken Foster reads from Dogs Who Found Me: What I’ve Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind. The “reluctant dog rescuer” tells of pooches who “found him” after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. A benefit party for the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals follows at B Bar, with dog biscuits baked by New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean."

The first line about dog people being obsessed with themselves is actually kind of funny, because, well, sometimes it is true. Plus, what else can you say when trying to make fun of me and my book? But the rest of the piece is kind of annoyingly inaccurate. Sarah obviously received information on the book and the party, yet...she doesn't quite get it right. It seems like she googled the book and copied some misinformation that appeared in a listing on the West Coast. It is true that I find dogs and that I write about 9/11 and Katrina, but it is not so true that the animals were found AFTER these events. And it is also true that there is a party afterwards and that there will be biscuits baked by Susan Orlean. But the point is that the bisuits will be auctioned, as part of a silent auction with lots of other good stuff. In fact, there is some stuff so good that it is a shame she didn't make fun of the whole thing!

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