ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITER TOURNAMENT
As final decisons are being made for the remaining slots, I can at least reveal the names of several writers who definitely won't make it.
I tried to read and accept Stephen King's writing, I really did, but cannot bring myself to include him. My first and overarching thought is, "This is typical commercial fiction junk." As manipulative, empty, and derivative as a Stephen Spielberg shock movie.
Dorothy Parker? A few good jokes but a minor writer.
I'm sorry to say that Truman Capote won't be in the tournament. Most of his fiction is overly precious and literary. He wrote one great nonfiction book. But there's only so much room in one tournament for Mailer-style publicity hounds. Truman was squeezed out. Blame Norman Mailer for it.
Let him take as consolation the fact that at least two Nobel Prize winners, Sinclair Lewis and Pearl Buck, won't make the cut. Today their writing looks moldy and stiff.
Harper Lee won't be in the tournament. She's known for one nice but slight novel. High school teachers love her, but. . . . Not enough.
A giant of the 1930's, Thoman Wolfe, whose status once nearly overshadowed Hemingway and Fitzgerald, is unable to squeeze in to the brackets.
Philip Roth proves that continued mediocrity, despite plaudits, is still mediocrity.
Longfellow was a great poet in his day, but he long ago lost much of his relevance.
John Updike? As with Stephen King, I can't bring myself to include John Updike. He might be considered the other pole of everything wrong with American writing now.
No Joseph Wambaugh. Blame him for the endless parade of TV police dramas. No John or Washington Irving. No Mario Puzo, alas. He came close.
Finally, I can reveal that Gertrude Stein won't be in the tournament. Blame her absence on the Kathy Bates-playing-Kathy Bates non-impersonation of her in "Midnight in Paris."