Tag Archives: critique

Requiem for Journalistic Integrity

Last week, Grantland.com, which is ultimately controlled by ESPN, ran a story ostensibly about a well designed golf putter and its inventor. The actual story was about much more, namely the counterfeit credentials of the inventor, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, which led the author of the piece, Caleb Hannan to discover that she had a transgender history. The very beginning of the piece frames the tone, as Mr. Hannan writes:

Strange stories can find you at strange times.

He remarks that in his early investigation about her revolutionary putter design, he couldn’t find any photos or videos of her on the Internet. Because of course women should be plastered all over the Web, but no matter. He digs. He’s an earnest, unknown journalist (so new, he’s never heard of the word “communique”). But I get it. Mr. Hannan finds out that actually, “Dr. V.” didn’t earn a doctorate at MIT, and actually, she didn’t exist on paper before 2000. And then, after he’s told us how brazen she was to get her club design past the world’s top club maker, he tells us that when he tried to contact her, she was obfuscatory; please focus your piece only on the design and not me. The author goes on to describe her in turn as quirky, with a strange vocabulary, a history that was both colorful and absent, and an extremely tall physical frame. Mr. Hannan may not have known it as he was researching this story or writing it, but the piece screams transphobia in its insistence on and obsession with her differences from his expectations for women. He wants them knowable, archived, ordinary, and visible. Dr. V. is none of those things, and so he persists in his probe. Read More…

The writer’s comment filtration system

I haven’t spent quality time in a writing workshop in years, and I was disappointed to find that the LGBT writing group in Seattle doesn’t really have a workshop per se. After college and graduate school studying American literature I don’t really have any more pep for talking about books, especially if I have to pay $100 a month to do it.

I went online to find some critique groups and I came up with three: two for speculative fiction and one for long format work. After underestimating Emerald City traffic congestion, I turned around and came back home from my first foray, now much better educated about where exactly Bellingham is, and which is the best on ramp to I-5 from my house. I will always marvel at how places so close together can take so long to reach in something as technologically advanced as a car. Read More…

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