One of the only things more pompous than the New York Times Book Review, where the reviewers average more words discussing their advanced degrees and qualifications than they spend on the books they are writing about, are the letters to the editor in said section. This is a page where Grand Poobahs can share with the world how the reviewer is a no-nothing and how the letter writer is in fact the more learned one about impressionism or the wisest scholar on the presidency of Grover Cleveland. What is even better is sometimes after the letter, the New York Times includes in italics how the writer is eminently qualified to be a curmudgeon.
So about a month ago I saw an opportunity to join the ranks of this arrogant elite. There was a cover story in the New York Times Book Review of Susan Orlean’s book about Rin Tin Tin. In it the reviewer talks about how it is amazing that Hollywood with its love of remakes has not made another Rin Tin Tin movie. This was my chance. If there was anything I could possibly be an expert about besides overextending yourself at a buffet, it would be recent movies about Rin Tin Tin.
So I wrote a long windbaggy letter to the editor. One in which I trashed the reviewer for not doing her research. I boasted in full pretension to the Times circulation that there was in fact a recent movie about Rin Tin Tin. One that I wrote called Finding Rin Tin Tin. They printed the letter, but edited it down. No longer could it serve as commentary on the pompous natures of the shmoes who have nothing better to do than write in about some tiny error in an article no one remembers an hour after reading, instead I now joined their ranks. And they didn’t even include in italics that the writer of the letter has an eighth grade education.