Interviewer: Today we’ll be talking with Andrew Kozma of the blog An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. This past week his blog has caught national attention through his in-depth analysis and coverage of reviews, as well as for his Shortcuts, reviewish pieces that allow Mr. Kozma to avoid taking full responsibility for his opinions. Welcome to the show, Mr. Kozma.
Andrew: I thought this was supposed to be a friendly interview.
Interviewer: Friendly is as friendly does. And my name is Friendly.
Andrew: Ah. Well. I’d like to start by—
Interviewer: Don’t you have a very special announcement for your eager audience? You said you did before the show. Are you retreating in the face of possible hostile criticism?
Andrew: No, of course not. I figured I’d just introduce myself—
Interviewer: I already did. So, what’s the big news?
Andrew: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I won’t be able to finish Review Week on time. My final review plus surprise will have to be posted at a later date.
Interviewer: What are these unforeseen circumstances?
Andrew: I really can’t go into that.
Interviewer: But I can. Isn’t it true that you knew about your attendance of the AWP writers’ conference far in advance and that, therefore, your present circumstances were very much foreseen?
Andrew: I don’t really see what business that is of yours.
Interviewer: Are you or are you not trying to distract people from the lack of a final review through simple and childish tricks with dialogue?
Interviewer: Frankly, what you’re doing here? It’s a cop out.
Andrew: And what would you have done better?
Interviewer: I’m glad you asked.
First, your Shortcuts. I’d make them more rigorous, especially in a week where you are talking about reviews as REVIEWS. What real criticism was involved your pieces on Yancey or Dashner? How could you let your “reviews” be so short, as well, since ideas need room to grow and, like trees, if stashed in small pot or between two bricks or in a freezer, what you’ll be left with is bonsai. Which can be beautiful, yes, but have limited use either for protection from the rain or for building houses.
Second, your argument for the worth of reviews should be a cogent argument rather than a brief, if entertaining, series of points. Points are sharp and can cause deep puncture wounds which are really the worst sort of wounds outside of accidental amputation (which, it must be said, is better than dental amputation). If you truly wanted – as I now doubt you do – to convince people of the worthiness of reviews and reviewers, then you should have written a book on the subject and placed the entirety of that book in a single blog post. Serious readers would not have let you down.
Third, and last, why would you even consider pushing back your final post and give it over to an interview with someone you barely know and, obviously, can’t trust. That was an immoral decision by an inexperienced man who pretends to be an objective reviewer.
That is what I would have done differently. Response?
Andrew: Thank you, and good night!