“Such are the perfections of fiction...Everything it teaches is useless insofar as structuring your life: you can’t prop up anything with fiction. It, in fact, teaches you just that. That in order to attempt to employ its specific wisdom is a sign of madness...There is more profit in an hour’s talk with Billy Graham than in a reading of Joyce. Graham might conceivably make you sick, so that you might move, go somewhere to get well. But Joyce just sends you out into the street, where the world goes on, solid as a bus. If you met Joyce and said 'Help me,' he’d hand you a copy of Finnegans Wake. You could both cry.” – Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Continuing Saga of Ted Genoways and VQR

Last week, Ted Genoways, Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) and author of the contentious essay 'The Death of Fiction?', was accused of workplace bullying that may have lead to the suicide of one of his employees. Yesterday, the University of Virgina announced that it would be conducting an investigation into managerial practices at the VQR, which you can read about here. Incredibly, the story has even made onto the Today Show in the U.S. (and, as an aside, how creepy are the Today Show TV presenters?):

It also appears that the deceased employee had contacted university administrators more than a dozen times to complain about his treatment, and at least one co-worker has also supported the claim that Genoways engaged in bullying. Genoways has released a statement, but refuses to be interviewed about the events (so far).

Even stranger details have come to light: theoretically Genoways is currently on leave from the VQR because he has received a Macarthur Guggenheim Fellowship, but apparently both the interim editors and Genoways have submitted rival versions of the newest VQR for publication. Curiouser and Curiouser. You can get most of the details here.

I will also note the irony that Genoways, who has argued for a return to 'moral' fiction, is accused of these actions. Perhaps reading 'ethical' fiction actually doesn't make you a better person?

On the topic of Ethics, we should perhaps consider the words of those great philosophers, the Coen brothers:

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