Boris Kachka: You’re not a fan of the [book] industry.
Jessa Crispin: Part of the reason why I disengaged from it is I just don’t find American literature interesting. I find MFA culture terrible. Everyone is super-cheerful because they’re trying to sell you something, and I find it really repulsive. There seems to be less and less underground. And what it’s replaced by is this very professional, shiny, happy plastic version of literature.
Kachka: When you were getting started there was a backlash against snark in criticism, both in print and online. Now there’s a backlash against boosterish “smarm.”
Crispin: Well, everyone overcorrects, because we’re stupid and we don’t learn anything. At the beginning of internet culture, an easy way to get attention was to be mean. I was probably guilty of that at several points. But publishing at the time was kind of healthy, before the bankruptcy of PGW and before Amazon took over everything. There were still bookstores. Now there’s anxiety and the tendency is to close ranks. So you can say you’re only gonna publish positive reviews. You’re only reviewing friends, friends of friends, people in your network, people whom you want to make happy. That’s not criticism. I don’t find either extreme all that interesting.
- Jessa Crispin, editor of the about-to-close Bookslut blog, not finding things interesting while in interview with Boris Kachka over at Vulture. You can read the whole thing here.