The Kettle Wears Black
Maureen Dowd I mean, MoDo just might be onto something here.
No, I realized with growing alarm, chick lit was no longer a niche. It had staged a coup of the literature shelves. Hot babes had shimmied into the grizzled old boys' club, the land of Conrad, Faulkner and Maugham. The store was possessed with the devil spawn of The Devil Wears Prada. The blood-red high heel ending in a devil's pitchfork on the cover of the Lauren Weisberger best seller might as well be driving a stake through the heart of the classics.
I even found Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar with chick-lit pretty-in-pink lettering.
"Penis lit versus Venus lit," said my friend Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, who was with me. "An unacceptable choice."
Looking for Mr. Goodbunny by Kathleen O'Reilly sits atop George Orwell's 1984. Mine Are Spectacular! by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger hovers over Ulysses. Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series cuddles up to Rudyard Kipling.
Even Will Shakespeare is buffeted by rampaging 30-year-old heroines, each one frantically trying to get their guy or figure out if he's the right guy, or if he meant what he said, or if he should be with them instead of their BFF or cousin, or if he'll come back, or if she'll end up stuck home alone eating Häagen-Dazs and watching CSI and Sex and the City reruns...
The novel was once said to be a mirror of its times. In my local bookstore, it’s more like a makeup mirror.
I know! It's almost like, what if newspaper columnists who did actual reporting and analysis of consequential world affairs were crowded out by self-involved gossipy girls who only want to write about their shopping trips with their semi-famous BFFs or, if they do write about politics, reduce everything to cutesy nicknames and pop-culture analogies because it's just so much more fun than having anything thoughtful to say, and then they do it over and over again until each column is indistinguishable from the next, lulling you into a hypnotic state with their simple life lessons and dispensing nuggets of hard-won wisdom like, "her national anthem may have been off-key, but her look wasn't. It was an attractive mirror of her political message: man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity." Talk about the makeup-mirroring of America!