Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | December 27, 2008

The Cavett model

In his latest New York Times blog entry, the wonderful Dick Cavett describes his struggles with how to respond to those who disagree with his published works. It’s a struggle I share, even if my critics are considerably less well known than Cavett’s. While I often cross word processors with fellow Gilroy Dispatch columnist Cynthia Walker or authors of letters to the editors of The Dispatch or the Morgan Hill Times, Cavett is struggling with how to respond to criticism from renown feminist Camille Paglia. Key quote:

Thus has come to my attention my excoriation at the skilled literary hands of the excellent Camille Paglia. She’s sore as hell about my Sarah Palin piece.

After praising my TV work — and even plugging the DVDs of it — she lays into me.

Responding to such things is a thing I just love to do. Maybe next time? I am always advised against it by wiser heads. I’ll never know what damage I did myself years ago by my criticism of The Times’s television critic in a letter the newspaper printed. I was told that he was especially stung by my criticism of his writing. I’d said that “his prose has all the sparkle of a second mortgage.”

Some of what Ms. P. says is so dumb that I assumed, at first, that it was meant to be funny. But I think I’m wrong. It would be strange of her — considering the number of arrows already in her daunting intellectual quiver — to suddenly attempt humor.

I’ve always loved Camille.

Maybe I should have told her.

I think he nailed it.

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