An Apology to Our Readers
After an investigation, The New Republic has determined that the comments in our Talkback section defending Lee Siegel's articles and blog under the username "sprezzatura" were produced with Siegel's participation. We deeply regret misleading our readers. Lee Siegel's blog will no longer be published by TNR, and he has been suspended from writing for the magazine.
Editor, The New Republic
Almost feel bad for Foer.
My guess is that this weekend might be sprezzatura weekend in the blogosphere...
...and here (yes, I was out, just catching up):
Siegel is precisely the kind of voice that is most endangered by the blogosphere. He's written a number of interesting things for a number of different publications over the years, but nothing that distinguishes him to the degree that someone would seek out his work. In the pre-blogospheric era, this was enough to help him achieve a mild degree of fame and a profound degree of self-importance. With the advent of the blogosphere, however, the kind of voice that Siegel offers isn't in short supply. There are many, many writers available now who are smarter, more interesting, and less self-absorbed than Lee. It's not as if projects like this, in which Slate allowed Siegel to publish his meandering observations about his own life for five days, have become worthless, but there's certainly nothing particularly insightful about Siegel's observations that can't be found, for free, at a hundred other outlets. It seemed to me, reading Siegel's rants about the blogosphere and popular culture, that he was raging more than anything else at the loss of his own status as an authoritative voice. In denouncing Kos, or Kincaid, or people who wear baseball caps, what seemed to come through more than anything else was a frustrated "Listen to me!!!! Why aren't you listening to me!?!?" Indeed we did; Siegel was able to capture a bit of notoriety through making the most ridiculous and absurd arguments conceivable, but even that notoriety was dependent on his position at TNR, which now seems to be at an end.